Book of Revelation Summary
The book opens with our narrator, John. He's just a mild-mannered Christian guy living in exile when—pow!—God hits him with a doozy of a revelation (hey, that's not a bad idea for a title). John is told to write down everything God shows him, and boy is God going to show him some strange things.
First, John sees a vision of Heaven. There he meets God and Jesus and all sorts of other angels, elders, and weird six-winged creatures that inhabit the heavenly realms. After a brief how-do-you-do, John sees Jesus come forward (in the form of a seven-eyed lamb) and open seven seals. Each of the seals lets loose God's fury on the Earth. We're talking rivers of blood, plagues of locusts, giant hailstones, twenty more seasons of Jersey Shore. The last seal unleashes seven angelic trumpeters, which in turn unleashes seven bowls of God's judgment. Yep, God really has a thing for sevens… and pouring down his wrath on non-believers.
Rivers of blood not freaking you out enough? While all this is happening, John sees some pretty hideous creatures lurking around. A giant red dragon, a beast with seven heads, and another beast who also happens to love the number 666. John is told that these baddies have been busy convincing the people of Earth to worship them instead of God. They also like to kill Christians and just generally be evil. Things are not going to go well for them.
After God sends all the plagues to Earth and loads of people die (eek!), he has the armies of Heaven wipe the dragon and the two beasts off the face of the Earth. Literally. They get thrown in the Lake of Fire… along with all their followers who refuse to worship God.
As for all the faithful Christians who stayed strong and kept faith in Jesus, they get to go to a splendid city in the sky where the streets are paved with gold and diamonds and nothing bad ever happens to anyone ever again. It's all sunshine and lollipops and the eternal light of God.
John ends the whole book by assuring us that everything he saw is totally and 100% true and that it's all going to happen for real very, very soon. The hour is at hand, so repent, y'all. Don't say that a seven-eyed lamb didn't warn you.
- The book opens with a pretty big claim: what you're about to read is the revelation of Jesus Christ. So, yeah. Start paying attention.
- It was all revealed to a man named John. God sent an angel to him to tell him all this and he wrote it all down in this handy dandy little guide. How nice of him.
- John tells the reader that they are blessed if they listen to what he has to say. Okay, so you may want to start taking notes.
- He tells us that time is running very short. Something big is about to happen (i.e. Jesus is going to return to Earth for a second time).
People need to hear what John has to tell them and start getting their stuff together.
- That's why he wrote this down in a letter. He's planning on sending it to seven of the Christian churches in Asia.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane
- Look over there! It's Jesus! John sees a vision of Jesus coming down on clouds.
- He tells us that soon everyone is going to see him. Even the people who hate Jesus and his followers are going see him floating on down from Heaven. And, boy, are they going to feel stupid that they ever doubted him.
- When this happens, God will tell everyone "I am the Alpha and the Omega." This just means that he is the first and the last. The head honcho. The big cheese in the universe.
It Gets Better, John
- John tells the Christians he is writing to that he understands that they are being bullied because they believe in Jesus. And by bullied, he means imprisoned or killed by Rome for the crime of being Christian. Yikes.
- John has actually suffered some of this bullying first hand. He is currently living on an island called Patmos. This is either because he was banished for being a Christian or he's gone into hiding. Tough break, John.
Jesus Comes in Style
- John tells us that he is under the influence of the spirit. No, he's not drunk—he means the Holy Spirit.
- Suddenly, he hears a voice like a trumpet commanding him to write to the seven churches in Asia. They are in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
- When John looks around to see who's talking, he sees Jesus. What a coincidence.
- And Jesus is lookin' good. He's standing in the middle of seven tall candlesticks and wearing a long robe with a golden sash. It's the sash that really makes the outfit work.
- His hair is white like snow and his eyes look like flames. Okay, a little creepy.
- His feet are made of bronze and his voice sounds like running water. How soothing… except the flaming eyes are still freaking us out.
- In addition to being a sharp-dressing guy with flames for eyes, Jesus carries seven stars in his right hand (how's that for accessorizing?).
- A sharp sword comes out of his mouth, too. Oh, sword-swallowing! It's like a carnival!
- His face also shines like the sun. Overall, he's looking pretty awesome.
Write It Down
- When John sees Jesus, he falls down at his feet. We don't blame him.
- But Jesus tells him not to be afraid. Hmmm. If he doesn't want people to be afraid of him, he could try toning down the flaming eyes a little.
- Jesus tells John to write down everything he sees. And don't forget to include all the stuff about the number seven. Sevens are pretty big in this story.
- Now John begins to address each of the seven churches individually.
A Message for Ephesus
- The first is for the folks in Ephesus. John relays everything Jesus says to him.
- Jesus wants these Christians to know that he's seen what they're doing. (He does see everything, after all.) He knows they've been doing good work. They're staying faithful and patiently waiting for him to come again.
- He knows they don't tolerate evil and that they've even outed some false prophets, too. High five, guys.
- But he does have one bone to pick with them—they've lost that loving feeling.
- In the beginning, they were filled with love, and now they've kind of lost their passion for him and each other. Threats of death or banishment will do that to you.
- He wants them to remember how good things used to be and go back to that.
- If they don't do this, Jesus is going to take their candlestick and chuck it out. Too bad, those looked expensive.
- But if they do they right thing, they're going to eat from the tree of life in Paradise with God. So, a pretty nice reward.
A Message for Smyrna
- Jesus knows the people in Smyrna aren't rich. But, hey, mo' money, mo' problems, right?
- He knows they've been turned into the Roman authorities by some of the Jewish people (because Jews don't consider Christians as part of the synagogue anymore).
- This is bad, but they shouldn't worry about what's about to happen next.
- Some of them are going to be thrown in jail—oh, sure, nothing to worry about.
- If they're faithful 'til death (wait, so now they're going to be arrested and killed?), Jesus will give them a crown of life to wear. Well, maybe it's a really fancy crown.
- But if they don't stay faithful to him, they're going to receive eternal punishment. That crown is starting to look better and better.
A Message for Pergamum
- Jesus understands that they're living near Satan's throne. (Pergamum is by the seat of the Roman government—subtle, Jesus.)
- But, he knows they're keeping the faith anyway. They didn't pretend not to be Christians when one of them was killed a while back. Nice job, guys.
- However… there are some people in the church who are still following false prophets. These guys are teaching that it's okay to make sacrifices to the Roman gods. But, Jesus clarifies, it is most definitely not.
- This stuff needs to stop immediately. Otherwise, Jesus is going to have to come down there and sort this out. And it will not be pretty.
- But if the people get back on the straight and narrow, Jesus will give them manna and a white stone which has a new name written on it.
- Manna and stones—just what they've always wanted!
A Message for Thyatira
- Jesus knows that they're doing good works. But not so fast…
- They are also wrapped up with this Jezebel woman (probably not her actual name, but a shout-out to 2 Kings 9:22). She's been telling them that it's fine to sacrifice to Roman gods (again, it is not). Not to mention that she's also kinda… promiscuous.
- Jesus has tried to get Jezebel to repent, but it's no use. Soon, she and the people she's sleeping with are going to be in a world of hurt.
- Even her children are going to be struck dead because of her adultery and idolatry. What do you expect for a commandment breaker like that?
- Not everyone is following this woman, though, and that's good.
- The people that do listen to Jesus will receive two lovely parting gifts—authority over every nation and the morning star. What catalog is Jesus getting this stuff from?
A Message for Sardis
- Jesus tells this church that, sure, technically they're alive, but they're starting to look a bit dead. It's time to wake up and get back on the right path. That or find a good mortician.
- If they don't resurrect themselves, Jesus is going to come like a thief in the night. They won't know when or where. This is getting spooky.
- Some of them are dressed in dirty clothes and some of them are wearing fresh white robes. The ones in the nice clean clothes are actually walking with Jesus. He really has an eye for fashion.
- If they repent, though, he'll give them all clean white clothes to wear. He'll also write their names in the Book of Life—and that's a Book you want to be in.
A Message for Philadelphia
- Jesus has given them a door that no one can shut. It's their entryway to the kingdom of God. Just make sure to sweep off the welcome mat every once in a while.
- He knows that they don't have a lot of power where they're at, but he's glad they've stayed faithful to him.
- People have been telling lies about the Christians in this church, but soon those same people are going to bow down at their feet. Just as soon as they get a taste of the humble pie Jesus is planning to serve up.
- Just keep the faith, Jesus tells them. If they do, they'll all get God's name written on them. Coolest tattoo ever.
A Message for Laodicea
- This church is kind of lukewarm.
- If they were hot or cold at least they'd have some taste, but they're just room temperature. Jesus is getting ready to spit them out onto the floor and demand to see the chef.
- Some of the people here are bragging about how spiritually rich they are. In reality, they're poor and blind and naked. Talk about getting it wrong.
- They need to turn to Jesus to be truly rich.
- He's standing at the door knocking. They just have to let him in. Maybe they can get him to tell some great "knock-knock" jokes while they're waiting.
- If they do all this, they're going to get a place beside him on his throne. Best seat in the house.
Stairway to Heaven
- After John tells us all this, he looks and sees a door opening up in Heaven.
- Jesus tells him to come on in and stay awhile. He'll give John the tour.
- Inside, John sees God on his throne. Around him is a shining rainbow. God really knows how to decorate.
- There are also 24 other thrones with 24 elders sitting on them. They're wearing white robes and golden crowns. Their thrones have thunder and lightning coming from them. Um, awesome.
- But, back to God's throne. The Big Guy knows how to draw attention to himself—his seat has seven flaming torches around it and in front of it is a sea of crystal.
- Around him are a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle. Or at least they look like those animals. They all have six wings and eyes all over their bodies, so it's kind of hard to tell.
- These weird-looking creatures hang around God and sing his praises all day and all night. They're like God's own personal iPod.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
- Next up, John notices that God is holding a scroll with seven seals in his hand. We told you this book has a thing for sevens.
- An angel starts to fret that no one in all of Heaven and Earth is awesome enough to open the seal. We're guessing it takes a pretty big letter opener to get through seven seals.
- This makes John a little sad, but then one of the elders reminds him about Jesus.
- Eureka! John sees a lamb that has been slaughtered standing in front of the throne. It has seven horns and seven eyes (why are all the animals in Heaven so freaky?).
- The Lamb takes the scroll from God and instantly everyone in Heaven falls down to worship the Lamb. We're talking elders and angels and all manner of crazy-looking creatures. Thousands and thousands of beings singing, cheering, shouting, rejoicing. It's like a party in the heavenly realms.
The Four Horsemen
- So, the Lamb opens the first of the seven seals.
- Immediately, John sees a white horse. Its rider has a bow and is wearing a crown. He has clearly come to conquer something very important. Doesn't everyone wear a crown when doing their conquering?
- The Lamb opens the second seal.
- John sees a bright red horse. The guy riding this horse has a huge sword. At first, this doesn't seem so bad, but then we find out that he also takes peace from the Earth so that everyone will kill each other. Yikes.
- Then, the Lamb opens the third seal.
- Out comes a black horse. Its rider has a pair of scales in his hand—the better to judge you with.
- Next, the fourth seal is opened.
- John sees a pale green horse whose rider is Death himself. Okay, we're officially freaked out now. Death is given authority to kill people all over the Earth. Things are not looking good.
The Seals Just Keep Getting Crazier
- But it's not over yet.
- The Lamb goes on to open the fifth seal. (Might we suggest that now is a good time to stop opening these scary seals?)
- John sees the souls of all the Christians who have been martyred so far.
- They cry out to God asking that he bring down the hammer on the people who murdered them. Apparently being martyred makes you really vengeful.
- God tells them they're going to need to wait a little longer. He gives them some nice white robes to tide them over though.
- The Lamb then opens the sixth seal.
- Suddenly the heavens go crazy. There's an earthquake and the sun becomes black. The moon turns to blood and the stars fall out of the sky. Paging Dr. Stanz.
- All the kings and rich guys and other powerful people on Earth try to run and hide from the Lamb. They're a little bit worried about what he's going to do to them. We can't say we blame them.
The Elect Get Their Tickets to Heaven
- After this, John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the Earth. The angels must not realize Earth is actually round and doesn't have any corners.
- They're holding back the winds, and another angel tells them to make sure not to damage the Earth… at least not yet.
- The angel tells them that they still need to mark the foreheads of the Elect. More tattoos! They go through and seal 144,000 people, a remarkably small and specific number. That's 12,000 for each of the tribes of Israel (remember them from Genesis).
- Then, John sees tons of people from all over the world standing around God's throne. All these people are wearing white robes (it's the fashion in Heaven) and holding palm leaves.
- They praise God and the Lamb along with the elders and the angels and all the creepy-looking creatures in Heaven.
- One of the elders tells John that these people have been through a huge ordeal, but they made it through and that's why they're here. They won't be hungry or thirsty ever again. The Lamb is going to be their shepherd and lead them where they need to go. So things are looking pretty good for them.
The Seventh Seal
- Next, John sees the Lamb open the seventh seal. Nothing happens. There's just silence. But don't get too hopeful. It's just the calm before the storm.
- After about a half hour of quiet, John sees seven angels with seven trumpets standing in front of God.
Blow, Angels, Blow
- The angels all start to blow their trumpets one by one. Think we're about to hear a delightful jazz septet? Think again.
- When the first angel trumpets, hail and fire mixed with blood starts to rain down on the Earth. Eek.
- The second angel blows his horn and a burning mountain falls into the sea. So things are getting worse.
- Much worse. The third angel takes his turn and a star named Wormwood falls from the sky and pollutes the water even more.
- The fourth angel finishes off this attack on the Earth when he blows his horn and the sun, moon, and stars get dimmer. But how will the people of Earth have enough light to see the rivers of blood around them?
- Then the creepy eagle sums up the whole cheerful segment, saying, "Woe to the inhabitants of the Earth!" Woe indeed.
Do the Locust Commotion
- Now it's time to go after some humans.
- The fifth angel blows his horn and a bottomless pit opens up in the Earth.
- Out of the pit comes a whole swarm of terrifying locusts. They have human faces and hair, but teeth like lions, iron scales, and huge, creepy wings. How charming.
- The freaky locusts are told to leave the Elect alone (those folks with God's mark on their forehead). But they get the green light to go on and torture everyone else for a few months. Must have been awkward for the Elect.
My Little Apocalyptic Pony
- Once the locusts are done doing their thing, the sixth angel blows his trumpet. Guess what? More bad news for non-believers.
- Four angels of death are released. They're told to kill a third of the humans still living on Earth. At this point, maybe we should start calling these dead guys the lucky ones.
- Then about two hundred million horses storm the Earth. They have heads like lions and breathe smoke, fire, and sulfur. Their tails are like scorpions, because regular ponytails are just boring.
- They also kill a whole lot more people—another third, in fact.
- Probably the weirdest part of all of this is that the people that are left over still aren't convinced. They refuse to repent and put their faith in Jesus. Guys, what about fire-breathing death ponies do you not understand?
Scroll de Jour
- Then John sees another awesome angel coming down from Heaven. He has a rainbow for a halo and his face shines like the sun—you know, the usual.
- The angel hands John a tiny scroll and tells him to eat it. Fair warning: The scroll will taste like honey going down, but is going to leave a bitter taste in John's stomach.
- John, of course, gobbles up the scroll, because when a magnificent angel with a face like the sun tells you to eat a scroll, you eat it.
Two Candlesticks Walk Down to the Earth…
- Another voice tells John that two witnesses are going to go out into the world—two candlesticks to be exact. (If you remember from Chapter 1, these guys represent the church.)
- So the candlesticks go down to Earth, but then a beast comes up from the bottomless pit and attacks them.
- Candlesticks don't stand much of a chance against a hideous beast from a bottomless pit, so it kills them.
- Their bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem while all the non-believers gloat and rejoice. You see, they didn't much like those pesky candlesticks and are pretty glad to see them gone. Good riddance, right?
- But, the people push their luck a little by refusing to bury them and throwing a huge party to celebrate the fact that they're dead.
- And are they? Of course not! After three and a half days, the candlesticks get right back up and start living again.
- The people, naturally, freak out.
- Then, the candlesticks fly up into Heaven and let loose a huge earthquake. Seven thousand people are killed, but the rest, wisely, repent and put their faith in Jesus. Finally, some people are catching on.
Lucky Number Seven
- Finally, the seventh angel goes ahead and blows his trumpet.
- John hears voices announcing that God's reign on Earth has begun. Time to crack open the champagne.
- The 24 elders start to worship God and let everyone know that it's almost time to start judging some people. The faithful are going to be rewarded big time (You get a crown! You get a crown!), but non-believers… well, just wait and see.
- Then, God's temple up in Heaven opens and everyone can see inside and there's thunder and lightning and hail. It's a total mad house up there.
The Girl with the Dragon Snafu
- Suddenly, John sees an omen—it's a woman. She is clothed with sun, the moon is under her feet, and she wears a crown of stars. Yawn.
- The woman is in the middle of giving birth and she's screaming in pain.
- Or she may be screaming at the sight of a huge red dragon—it appears with seven heads with crowns on each of them and ten horns.
- The Dragon heads over to the woman. He's planning to gobble her up once she finishes giving birth. How rude.
- The woman delivers a baby boy and it just so happens that he's going to rule all the nations of the world. He is promptly taken up into Heaven and the woman runs away before the Dragon can get his teeth around her. Close call.
This Means War
- Then war breaks out in Heaven.
- Michael the Archangel and his band of angel soldiers attack the Dragon and manage to throw him out of Heaven. So Heaven is good…
- But the Earth isn't so lucky. The Dragon lands down there and decides to wreak a little havoc.
- He finds the woman who gave birth to the son and chases after her. But she sprouts wings and flies away. Was she drinking too much Red Bull?
- Then he opens his mouth and floods the Earth, trying to drown her. But the Earth comes to her rescue and swallows up the water. Thanks, Earth.
- Okay, now the Dragon is really ticked.
- He decides to go off and attack the woman's other children—the followers of Jesus. Yikes. Watch out, guys!
- John sees a huge beast rising out of the sea and, boy, is this sucker ugly. It has seven heads and ten horns with a crown on each one. It looks kind of like a leopard, but has feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion. It also loves to say terrible and blasphemous things about God. So, it's all-around awful.
- The Dragon gives the Sea Beast its power and, naturally, everyone on Earth is totally amazed by it. They all worship the Sea Beast and the Dragon and don't think there's anyone in the world who can beat them. (Spoiler alert: there is.)
- John tells us that the Sea Beast loves to attack Christians and make them into martyrs. Not a good idea, Sea Beast.
- He knows that the Sea Beast can be seductive at times (after all, those ten horns do look fetching), but John reminds Christians they'd be better off dead than worshipping the Sea Beast. He means this literally, of course.
- This Beast probably symbolizes the Roman Emperors, some of whom liked to persecute Christians, and all of whom promoted Roman religion instead of Christianity (source, p. 1297).
Even More Beastly
- Next, another beast comes out of the Earth.
- This one has two horns like the Lamb, but sounds an awful lot like the Dragon.
- The Earth Beast is kind of like the right-hand creature of the Sea Beast—it makes everyone worship the Sea Beast. This sucker is bad news.
- It tries to get you to turn your back on God. Maybe it even wants you to use some of those coins with the emperor's face on him. You know, the ones that say the emperor is actually a god in human form. But don't do it.
- John gives us one final bit of info about this Beast—you can find out its true identity by knowing its number—666. Quick, get your Bible decoder ring!
- Actually, this Beast probably represents the priests of Roman religion who supported the Emperors and increased the pressure on Christians to take part in the official religion of the Empire (source, p. 1298).
- John sees the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. With him are the 144,000 Elect. They're the only ones that can learn a special song the Lamb is singing.
- Everyone else is, apparently, a little tone deaf.
- Then, John hears several angels. One tells them all to fear and worship God, otherwise there is going to be some serious judgment going on. Another tells them that Babylon has fallen. A third one lets everyone know that the people who worship the Beast are going to burn. Literally.
Don't Fear the Reaper… Or Maybe Do
- Next, John sees someone who looks like the Son of Man floating down on a cloud (could it be Jesus in disguise?). He's wearing a gold crown and holding a sickle.
- He takes the sickle and swings it to reap all the faithful people from the Earth.
- Another angel comes down with a sickle and reaps all the not-so-faithful people (who are like ripe grapes). Then he throws them into a wine press of God's wrath. It squirts out blood all over the place. That's probably not something you'd want to bottle.
Life Is Just a Bowl of Plagues
- After this, John sees (you guessed it) seven angels carrying seven plagues.
- He also sees that the people who brought down the Beast are sitting by a sea of glass playing harps and singing songs of praise to God. Because there really is no better way to spend your off time than by a sea of glass.
- Then John notices that one of those creepy creatures gives the angels seven golden bowls filled with hot steamy portions of God's wrath. Delicious.
Bowls of Mass Destruction
- A voice tells the angels to go ahead and serve up a heaping helping of that wrath on the Earth. So, the angels pour out their bowls one by one.
- The first angel dumps out his bowl, and all the non-believers who have the mark of the Beast on them break out in painful sores. Not going to get rid of that with a cream or ointment.
- The second angel turns the sea into blood. Gross.
- The third angel turns the rivers into blood. Double gross. Then the angels let God know how clever he is. After all, these people loved the blood of Christians so much, so now God has given them blood to drink. Good one, Lord! Up top!
- The fourth angel turns up the heat on the sun and burns all the people. Now might be a good time to put on that SPF 10,000.
- The fifth angel plunges the entire city of Rome into darkness. The people there curse God, because they're still not getting the clue. Repent or there's worse to come. Seriously, guys.
- The sixth angel dries up the Euphrates River (hey, we thought it had turned to blood).
- The seventh angel pours his bowl out and a voice tells everyone that, "It is done." Whew. Finally.
- But, wait. There's still lightning and thunder. Oh, and an earthquake. An earthquake that splits Rome into thirds. And destroys every nation on Earth.
- Oh, and hailstones. Don't forget the hailstones. They're so big they end up crushing people. And yet, the people still don't get it. They just keep cursing God and going about with their non-believing ways. Sigh.
Beauty and the Beast
- Next up, John gets to see the Whore of Babylon. She is a woman riding the Sea Beast (except this time it's scarlet-red) dressed in red and purple robes and dripping with gold and jewels and pearls. On her forehead, she has written: "Babylon, the great, mother of whores." Bet she regrets that tattoo.
- She's also pretty drunk. John tells us she's been drinking the blood of the faithful. Eek.
- John is pretty amazed, but one of the angels asks him why. Fair question. He has seen some pretty amazing things up until now.
- The angel then goes on to explain what the deal is with this woman. Oh, do tell.
- Basically, the short version is this: the woman represents Rome who seduces everyone with its beauty and charm, but is really just a prostitute. The Beast she rides on is Rome as well, specifically one of its emperors, Nero, who was especially nasty to Christians and liked to have them executed. We also hear he's pretty good with a fiddle, too.
- John sees yet another angel coming down from Heaven. This angel announces that Babylon (i.e., Rome) has fallen. So, high fives all around.
- However, some of the non-believers on Earth are too busy mourning the loss of Rome for high-fiving.
- Kings are sad because Rome was so mighty. Plus, they were kind of digging that whole Whore of Babylon thing.
- Merchants and shopkeepers are bummed, too, because they really liked selling their goods to Rome. Now, what are they going to do with all these unused chariots?
- Sailors are also feeling a bit melancholy because they were making a lot of money by working with Rome. Sniff. Think of all the lonely gold coins that won't be jingling in their pockets.
- The angels aren't swayed much by this. One of them picks up a giant stone and throws it into the ocean. Ha, ha, Rome! You got crushed! Nothing is ever going to come out of you again. Not music, not art, not goods and services, not anything!
- All this happened because Rome had to go and kill the saints. That'll teach 'em.
The Last Battle
- Everyone in Heaven is losing their minds rejoicing and praising God for all this.
- In the midst of the celebration, John sees a white horse with Jesus riding out on it. Again, he's got the flames for eyes going and the sword coming out of his mouth. But this time, he's wearing lots of crowns (because one crown is never enough) and his robe is dipped in blood (might be time to switch dry cleaners).
- All the heavenly armies are there, too. They've got their white clothes and white horses and they're following Jesus in triumph.
- An angel tells everyone to gather for God's supper.
- But before this big dinner party can happen, John spies the Sea Beast and his armies.
- Jesus and his heavenly squadron get rid of the Beast pretty quickly. They toss him into a Lake of Fire. All the other baddies are killed with Jesus's sword. Heavenly fighters: 1,000,000,000. Beast army: 0.
Satan's Last Stand
- John sees that another angel has gotten hold of the Dragon and locked him in the bottomless pit. He's going to stay there for 1,000 years. After that, he'll be let out for a little while. Um, angels, are you guys sure you thought that through?
- So then John sees thrones with people seated on them. These people get to judge. Quick, we're going to need some gavels.
- Obviously, anyone who was killed for believing in Jesus is good to go. They will get to reign in Heaven for 1,000 years.
- But remember, once that 1,000 years is up, the Dragon is going to be let out of the pit and gather another army to destroy Heaven.
- But, don't worry, this war is going to end a lot like the first one—with the Dragon as the big loser. Except this time, he'll be thrown into the Lake of Fire for good. Much better plan this time.
Don't You Judge Me
- Once this happens, everyone is going to be judged by God. Even people who have been dead for years are going to have to answer for their actions on Earth.
- God will open up his Book and look over his records and give you either the thumbs up or the thumbs down. If God realizes you're not in his Book, it's the Lake of Fire for you, too.
Jerusalem in the Sky with Diamonds
- After all the pesky non-believers and manifestations of extreme evil are gone, it's time to bring about a new Earth.
- John sees it happen—a New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven to Earth. And, no surprise, it's terrifically awesome.
- The Elect will live there with God. No one will ever mourn or die or be in pain. It will simply be God and his children living together forever and ever.
- But people who haven't led such upstanding lives will get thrown into the Lake of Fire. Sorry, guys. But God did try to warn you in the form of rivers turning to blood and such.
- The city of New Jerusalem itself is probably the most incredible thing John has seen so far. This place is prime real estate.
- John sees that the whole city is made of gold and glitters with all different kinds of jewels and gemstones.
- It has twelve gates (with the names of the tribes of Israel written on them) and twelve foundations (with the names of the apostles written on them).
- This New Jerusalem doesn't have a temple, though, because God himself is the temple. They also don't have to worry about lamps, because the presence of God provides all the light they need. It's always sunny in New Jerusalem.
- Crime is also non-existent, because no one ever does anything even remotely bad there. Clearly, you never have to worry about property values going down.
A River Runs Through It
- An angel shows John a beautiful river flowing from God's throne. It's the water of life flowing in it. On the banks of the river is the tree of life, which grows twelve kinds of fruit. Looks like another favorite number is emerging.
- Nothing bad is ever going to happen in this new city. Everyone will just hang with God and rejoice and love each other all day. Sounds pretty good.
The Truth and Nothing but the Truth
- The angel assures John that everything he's seen and heard is true. All of this is actually going to happen. For reals.
- He also tells John to go ahead and share all this with the world. After all, Jesus will be coming very, very soon. People need this information because they need to do the right thing.
- God's judgment is coming. People who lead good lives will be able to live inside the walls of an awesome city made of gold. People who don't will get to take a little swim in a Lake of Fire… for all eternity.
- John also tells us that if anyone changes what he's written down, God is going to include them in all those terrible plagues. (Oh… now he tells us.)
- But really, Jesus is coming soon, John tells us. He ends the book with this hope and a short prayer for the faithful.
- John of Patmos, out.