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Revelation 8-18 Synopsis


CHAPTERS 8 and 9 - The Trumpet Judgments:  The seventh seal is opened, and there is silence in heaven.  Seven angels are given seven trumpets.  Another angel has a golden censer; and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascends before God. The censer is then filled with fire and thrown to earth, where it causes thunder, lightning and earthquakes. The seven trumpets are sounded, each with their own consequences:

1.   Hail and fire mingled with blood; a third of trees and all grass are burned up.

2.   A burning mountain was thrown into the sea; a third of the sea became blood and a third of sea creatures and a third of all ships are destroyed.

3.   A star called Wormwood falls from heaven, causing a third of the waters to become wormwood.

4.   A third of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened.  Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of earth for the remaining three trumpets!  (This is only the first 'woe'.)

5.   A star falls from heaven to earth and is given the key to the bottomless pit.  The pit is opened - smoke rises out, and then for five months, locusts torment those who do not have the seal upon their foreheads.  Their torment is like that of a scorpion.  Men will seek death but are unable to find it.  The scorpions have men's faces, women's hair, lion's teeth, iron breastplates, and tails like scorpions.  The sound of their wings is like the sound of chariots.  The king of the locusts is the angel of the bottom pit, called Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon in Greek.

6.   Four angels bound at the Euphrates are released to kill a third of mankind.  They have an army two million strong, and with the heads of lions, they kill by the fire, smoke, and brimstone coming from their mouths.  They also inflict harm with their serpents' tails. Those not killed are people who did not repent of their idolatry and sexual immorality.

CHAPTER 10 - The Angel with the Open Scroll:  A mighty angel appears, clothed in a cloud, with a rainbow on his head.  His face is like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He has a little book open in his hand, and he sets his left foot on the land and his right on the sea. Seven thunders utter their voices, but John is forbidden to write down what they say.  The angel declares that there shall be no more delay.  John is instructed to eat the little book and is told that it will make his stomach bitter but will be as sweet as honey in his mouth.  John is told that he must prophesy about many people, nations, tongues, and kings.

CHAPTER 11 - The Seventh Trumpet (or Third Woe):  John is given a measuring rod and told to measure the temple, its altar, and its worshippers.  (Compare this with measuring the temple in Ezekiel 40-43.)  The outer court is not to be measured, however, because it has been given to the Gentiles, who will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.  Two witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.  (Note:  1,260 = 3.5 years, according to the Hebrew year of 360 days - exactly half of seven.)  These witnesses are the two olive trees and lamp stands standing before the God of the earth (see Zechariah, chapter 4).  If anyone attempts to harm them, they will be destroyed by fire proceeding from the witnesses mouths.  They have the power (like Elijah) to cause drought during the days of their prophecy and they also have the power to turn the waters to blood and to strike the earth with plagues.   When they have finished prophesying, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will kill them. Their dead bodies will lie in a city that is spiritually referred to as Sodom and Egypt; and then they will remain unburied for three and a half days (half of seven), and people will rejoice at their deaths.  After that, they will revive, ascend to heaven, and then there will be an earthquake that kills seven thousand people, and destroys a tenth of the city.  The survivors are afraid and give glory to God.  The second woe is a past, but a third is coming quickly.  The seventh trumpet sounds, and voices in heaven proclaim that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.  The elders worship God, saying the time has come for Him to reward His servants and destroy those who destroy the earth.  The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant is seen in His temple with lightning, noises, thunder, earthquakes, and hail.

CHAPTER 12 - The Dragon and the Woman:  In heaven appears a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a garland of twelve stars on her head.  The woman gives birth and a fiery red dragon appears, with seven heads, ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.  With its tail, it throws a third of stars to earth.  The dragon prepares to devour a child who is about to be born. The child is to rule all nations with a rod of iron and is caught up to God and his throne.  The woman flees to the wilderness, to a place prepared by God, and is fed there for 1,260 days. There is war in heaven between Michael and the dragon.  Satan (another name for the dragon) and his angels are cast out of heaven.  There is rejoicing in heaven, but woe is proclaimed for the inhabitants of the earth because the devil has arrived in great wrath, knowing he only has a short time. (This is the third woe.)  The devil/dragon/serpent persecutes the woman clothed in the sun, but she is given eagle's wings to fly into the wilderness. The devil/dragon/serpent spews water at the woman, but the earth opens its mouth to receive the flood.  Frustrated, the devil/dragon/serpent focuses his wrath against God's people.

CHAPTER 13 - The Beast from the Sea:   A beast rises from the sea with seven heads and ten horns, and ten crowns on its horns, and a blasphemous name on its heads.  The beast was like a leopard, with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion.  (This recalls the beasts, representing earthly empires, that come from the sea in Daniel 7.)  The dragon gives the beast a throne and authority.  One head seems mortally wounded but when it is healed, all the world marvels and follows it.  The beast is worshipped and blasphemes God for forty-two months (= three and a half years or half of seven).  It was granted him to overcome the saints; all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life worship him.  However, those who lead the beast's followers into captivity (presumably, the functionaries of the beast) will be led into captivity themselves.  A second beast comes from the earth who has two horns like a lamb and speaks like a dragon.  He is a Satanic prophet, leading the earth in the worship of the beast.  He performs great signs, making fire come from heaven.  He commands those on earth to make an image of the beast, and is granted power to breathe life into the image, which kills all those who do not worship it.  Only those with a mark may buy and sell.  The mark is the number of the beast:  666.

CHAPTER 14 - The End of the Beginning:  The Lamb stands on Mount Zion with the 144,000.  A new song is sung, which nobody could learn apart from the 144,000.  The 144,000 are virgins, the first fruits to God and the Lamb, without deceit or fault.  An angel tells every nation, tribe, tongue and people to fear and worship God.  Another angel announces the fall of Babylon.  A third angel warns that those with the mark of the beast on them shall be tormented with fire and brimstone.  A voice from heaven says that those who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.  John then sees a cloud with one like the Son of Man on it, with a sickle in his hand, and he reaps the earth.  An angel, also with a sickle, gathers the vine of the earth, and throws it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  The winepress is trampled outside of the city.

CHAPTER 15 - Seven Angels with Seven Plagues:  John sees seven angels with seven plagues.  Those who are victorious over the beast stand on a sea on glass, holding harps.  They worship with song.  Out of the temple come seven angels clothed in bright linen, with golden bands girding their chests.  The four creatures give seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God to the angels, so that the temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God and nobody can enter the temple until the seven plagues are completed.

CHAPTER 16 - The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath:   A voice from the temple commands the seven angels to pour the bowls of wrath upon the earth.  The pouring of each bowl has its own unique consequences:

1.   A loathsome sore comes on those who have the mark of the beast upon them.

2.   The sea turns to blood, and all living creatures die.

3.   All fresh water is turned to blood.  An angel of the waters comments about the righteousness of the Lord, making those who have shed the blood of the saints and the prophets now drink blood.

4.   The sun scorches men; but they blaspheme and do not repent.

5.   The beast's kingdom becomes full of darkness.  Men blaspheme, and do not repent.

6.   The Euphrates dries up.  Unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon to gather an army at Armageddon.

7.   A voice from heaven declares, "It is done!"  This is followed by thunder, lightning and earthquakes.  The great city is divided into three parts; and God gives Babylon the cup of the wine representing His fierceness. There is a plague of heavy hail.  Men continue to blaspheme.

CHAPTER 17 - The Doom of Babylon:  One of the seven angels shows John the great harlot who committed fornication with the kings of the earth.  John is carried in the Spirit into the wilderness, where he sees a woman on a scarlet beast which is full of names of blasphemy.  It has seven heads and ten horns.  The woman is dressed in purple and scarlet and adorned with precious stones and gold.  In her hand is a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.  On her forehead is written, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and the abominations of the earth."  The woman is drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs.  The beast the whore rides on will ascend from the bottomless pit, and go to perdition, and those who dwell on earth, whose names are not written in the Book of Life, will marvel.  The seven heads represent seven kings.  Five have fallen, while the sixth has yet to come.  When he does come, he must continue for a short time.  The beast is the eighth king.  The ten horns are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet.  They are allies of the beast, and will war against the Lamb, but the Lamb shall overcome them.  The ten kings will hate the harlot, making her desolate and naked, eating her flesh and burning her.  The woman is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth (Rome? It is not stated explicitly.)

CHAPTER 18 - Babylon is Fallen:  An angel comes from heaven, declaring: "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen."  It has become a prison for every foul spirit.  Merchants have become rich through the abundance of Babylon's luxury.  God's people are instructed to separate themselves from Babylon.  Babylon will be utterly destroyed by the judgment of the Lord and repaid for her iniquities. The kings who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will lament at the swiftness of the judgment against her.  The merchants will lament that nobody buys their merchandise any longer. The sea-captains who trade at sea will also lament.  An angel throws a great millstone into the sea, and says that with violence Babylon shall be thrown down.  Babylon will be left desolate and silent, bereft of musicians, craftsmen, the bridegroom, and bride. The blood of prophets and saints was found in her.