Study Guide

Book of Revelation Good vs. Evil

Good vs. Evil

The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to the inhabitants of the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and those who saw them were terrified. (NRSV 11:10-11)

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (KJV 11:10-11)

So God sends some good prophets to Earth and evil people reject them (sound familiar?). Naturally, things are not going to go well when the prophets wake up from their faux-death and start enforcing some goodness in the world.

Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red Dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the Dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. (NRSV 12:3-4)

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red Dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the Dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (KJV 12:3-4)

A classic showdown. First we have the angelic Woman Clothed with the Sun, who is doing one of the most selfless, loving things in the world—giving birth. Then we have the horrifying evil Dragon who is waiting around to gobble up her baby. Obviously, God is not going to let evil win the day here.

The Dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth [and] he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness[…]Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman[…] Then the Dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children. (NRSV 12:13-17)

And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness[...] And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman[…] And the Dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed. (KJV 12:13-17)

The thrilling conclusion. The Woman is able to escape (with a little help) and the Dragon goes to torment the Woman's other children (namely her Christian children). Because nothing makes an evil Dragon madder than holy people following God.

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And the Dragon gave it his power and his throne and great authority. (NRSV 13:1-2)

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. (KJV 13:1-2)

The first Beast comes out of the sea and looks just as terrible as its boss the Dragon. His reign of evil is going to last for a little bit—long enough to enslave the Roman Empire and kill some Christians—but at the end of the day, good will triumph.

I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a Dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. (NRSV 13:11-12)

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a Dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (KJV 13:11-12)

Now comes the second Beast from out of the Earth. He, too, has some pretty nice evil powers, but he's also going down big time.

I saw three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the Dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. These are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (NRSV 16:13-14)

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (KJV 16:13-14)

One of the fun things the Dragon and his beastly buddies like to do in their spare time is to rally the kings of the world to their aid. Not that it's going to matter much once God gets started.

I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth's abominations." And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints. (NRSV 17:3-6)

I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints. (KJV 17:3-6)

Okay, so this lady is pretty terrible in John's book. Not only is she dressed kind of promiscuously, but she's got terrible blasphemous tattoos and she's drinking blood. We're not sure if it's possible to get any more evil… or any more defeated (she goes down within a chapter).

I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against the rider on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (NRSV 19:19-21)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (KJV 19:19-21)

The war between good and evil is on. It's kind of funny because the two beasts are taken down really easily, along with the rest of their armies. Evil never stood a chance, did it?

I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. He seized the Dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more. (NRSV 20:1-3)

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the Dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more. (KJV 20:1-3)

The Dragon meets his fate. Again, all it takes is one measly angel to bring him down. God can't even be bothered to come down and haul away his old foe. Armageddon clearly bores the Almighty.

[The angel] said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy." (NRSV 22:10-11)

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (KJV 22:10-11)

The point of this whole book is here: John needs to get the word out and do it fast. That way the good can be prepared and the evil can know what all's going to go down if they don't repent—and fast.

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