Bible Book Number 66—Revelation
Writer: Apostle John
Place Written: Patmos
Writing Completed: c. 96 C.E.
1. (a) Regarding the symbolisms of Revelation, with what will God’s servants agree? (b) Why is Revelation correctly placed last in the Bible?
ARE the symbolisms of Revelation intended to terrify? Far from it! The fulfillment of the prophecy may bring terror to the wicked, but God’s faithful servants will agree with the inspired introduction and the angel’s comment at the end: “Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy.” “Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.” (Rev. 1:3; 22:7) Though written before the four other inspired books by John, Revelation is correctly placed last in the collection of 66 inspired books making up our Bible, for it is the Revelation that takes its readers far into the future, by providing an all-embracing vision of what God purposes for mankind, and that brings the grand theme of the Bible, the sanctification of Jehovah’s name and the vindication of his sovereignty by means of the Kingdom under Christ, the Promised Seed, to a glorious climax.
2. By what means did the Revelation come to John, and why is the title of the book most appropriate?
2 According to the title verse, this is “a revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him . . . And he sent forth his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John.” So John was merely the writer, not the originator, of the material. Therefore John is not the revelator, nor is the book a revelation of John. (1:1) This unveiling to God’s slave of His wonderful purposes for the future makes its title most appropriate, for the book’s Greek name A·po·kaʹly·psis (Apocalypse) means “Uncovering” or “Unveiling.”
3. Who does Revelation itself indicate the writer named John is, and how do ancient historians support this?
3 Who was this John referred to as the writer of Revelation in its first chapter? We are told that he was a slave of Jesus Christ, as well as a brother and sharer in tribulation, and that he was exiled on the island of Patmos. Obviously he was well-known to his first readers, to whom no further identification was necessary. He must be the apostle John. This conclusion is supported by most ancient historians. Papias, who wrote in the first part of the second century C.E., is said to have held the book to be of apostolic origin. Says Justin Martyr, of the second century, in his “Dialogue With Trypho, a Jew” (LXXXI): “There was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him.”* Irenaeus speaks explicitly of the apostle John as the writer, as do Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, of the late second and early third centuries. Origen, noteworthy Biblical scholar of the third century, said: “I speak of him who leaned back on Jesus’ breast, John, who has left behind one Gospel, . . . and he wrote also the Apocalypse.”*
4. (a) What explains the divergence in style in Revelation as compared with John’s other writings? (b) What proves Revelation to be an authentic part of the inspired Scriptures?
4 The fact that John’s other writings put so much emphasis on love does not mean that he could not have written the very forceful and dynamic Revelation. He and his brother James were the ones so filled with indignation against the Samaritans of a certain city that they wanted to call down fire from heaven. That is why they were given the surname “Boanerges,” or “Sons of Thunder.” (Mark 3:17; Luke 9:54) This divergence in style should cause no difficulty when we remember that in Revelation the subject matter is different. What John saw in these visions was unlike anything he had ever seen before. The outstanding harmony of the book with the rest of the prophetic Scriptures unquestionably proves it to be an authentic part of God’s inspired Word.
5. When did John write the Revelation, and under what circumstances?
5 According to the earliest testimony, John wrote the Revelation about 96 C.E., approximately 26 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be toward the close of the reign of Emperor Domitian. In verification of this, Irenaeus in his “Against Heresies” (V, xxx) says of the Apocalypse: “For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.”* Eusebius and Jerome both agree with this testimony. Domitian was the brother of Titus, who led the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem. He became emperor at the death of Titus, 15 years before the book of Revelation was written. He demanded that he be worshiped as god and assumed the title Dominus et Deus noster (meaning “Our Lord and God”).* Emperor worship did not disturb those who worshiped false gods, but it could not be indulged in by the early Christians, who refused to compromise their faith on this point. Thus, toward the close of Domitian’s rule (81-96 C.E.), severe persecution came upon the Christians. It is thought that John was exiled to Patmos by Domitian. When Domitian was assassinated in 96 C.E., he was succeeded by the more tolerant emperor Nerva, who evidently released John. It was during this imprisonment on Patmos that John received the visions he wrote down.
6. As what should we see the book of Revelation, and how can it be divided?
6 We must appreciate that what John saw and was told to write to the congregations was not just a series of unrelated visions, haphazardly recorded. No, the entire book of Revelation, from beginning to end, gives us a coherent picture of things to come, going from one vision to another until the full disclosure of God’s Kingdom purposes is reached at the end of the visions. We should therefore see the book of Revelation as a whole and as made up of related, harmonious parts, transporting us far into the future from John’s time. After its introduction (Rev. 1:1-9), the book can be viewed as being divided into 16 visions: (1) 1:10–3:22; (2) 4:1–5:14; (3) 6:1-17; (4) 7:1-17; (5) 8:1–9:21; (6) 10:1–11:19; (7) 12:1-17; (8) 13:1-18; (9) 14:1-20; (10) 15:1–16:21; (11) 17:1-18; (12) 18:1–19:10; (13) 19:11-21; (14) 20:1-10; (15) 20:11–21:8; (16) 21:9–22:5. These visions are followed by a motivating conclusion, in which Jehovah, Jesus, the angel, and John all speak, making their final contribution as the principals in the channel of communication.—22:6-21.
CONTENTS OF REVELATION
7. What does John say about the origin of the Revelation, and what things does he say he shares in common with those in the seven congregations?
7 The introduction (1:1-9). John explains the divine Source and the angelic part of the channel through which the revelation is given, and he goes on to address those in the seven congregations in the district of Asia. Jesus Christ has made them “to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father,” Jehovah God, the Almighty. John reminds them that he is a sharer with them “in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in company with Jesus,” being in exile on Patmos.—1:6, 9.
8. (a) What is John instructed to do? (b) Whom does he see in the midst of the lampstands, and what does this One explain?
8 The messages to the seven congregations (1:10–3:22). As the first vision begins, by inspiration John finds himself in the Lord’s day. A strong, trumpetlike voice tells him to write in a scroll what he sees and to send it to the seven congregations, in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Turning toward the voice, John sees “someone like a son of man” in the midst of seven lampstands, having seven stars in his right hand. This One identifies himself as “the First and the Last,” the One who became dead but is now living forever and ever and who has the keys of death and of Hades. He is therefore the resurrected Jesus Christ. He explains: “The seven stars mean the angels of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands mean seven congregations.”—1:13, 17, 20.
9. What commendation and counsel are given to the congregations in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira?
9 John is told to write to the angel of the congregation of Ephesus, which, despite its labor, endurance, and refusal to put up with bad men, has left its first love and should repent and do the former deeds. The congregation in Smyrna is told that despite tribulation and poverty, it is in fact rich and should not be afraid: “Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life.” The congregation in Pergamum, dwelling “where the throne of Satan is,” keeps holding fast to Christ’s name but has apostates in its midst, and these must repent or Christ will war with them with the long sword of his mouth. In Thyatira the congregation has “love and faith and ministry and endurance,” yet it tolerates “that woman Jezebel.” However, faithful ones who hold fast will receive “authority over the nations.”—2:10, 13, 19, 20, 26.
10. What messages are sent to the congregations in Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea?
10 The congregation in Sardis has the reputation of being alive, but it is dead because its deeds are not fully performed before God. Those who conquer, however, will not have their names blotted out of the book of life. The congregation in Philadelphia has kept Christ’s word, so he promises to keep the congregation “from the hour of test, which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth.” Christ will make the one who conquers to be a pillar in the temple of His God. Christ says: “I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem . . . and that new name of mine.” Referring to himself as “the beginning of the creation by God,” Christ tells the Laodicean congregation that it is neither hot nor cold and will be vomited out of his mouth. Though boasting of riches, those in that congregation are actually poor, blind, and naked. They need white outer garments, and they need eyesalve in order to see. Christ will come in and dine with anyone who opens the door to him. To the one that conquers, Christ will grant to sit down with him on his throne, even as he has sat down with his Father on His throne.—3:10, 12, 14.
11. What magnificent vision next comes to John’s attention?
11 The vision of Jehovah’s holiness and glory (4:1–5:14). The second vision takes us before Jehovah’s heavenly throne of splendor. The scene is dazzling in its beauty, like precious gems for brilliance. Around the throne sit 24 elders wearing crowns. Four living creatures ascribe holiness to Jehovah, and he is worshiped as worthy “to receive the glory and the honor and the power” because of being the Creator of all things.—4:11.
12. Who only is worthy to open the scroll with seven seals?
12 “The One seated upon the throne” holds a scroll with seven seals. But who is worthy to open the scroll? It is only “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David,” that is worthy! This One, who is also “the Lamb that was slaughtered,” takes the scroll from Jehovah.—5:1, 5, 12.
13. What composite vision accompanies the opening of the first six seals?
13 The Lamb opens six seals of the scroll (6:1–7:17). The third vision now begins. The Lamb proceeds to open the seals. First, a horseman on a white horse goes forth “conquering and to complete his conquest.” Then the rider of a fiery-colored horse takes peace away from the earth, and another on a black horse rations out grain. A pale horse is ridden by Death, and Hades follows closely. The fifth seal is opened, and “those slaughtered because of the word of God” are seen calling for the avenging of their blood. (6:2, 9) At the opening of the sixth seal, there is a great earthquake, sun and moon are darkened, and the mighty ones of the earth call upon the mountains to fall over them and hide them from Jehovah and the wrath of the Lamb.
14. What is seen next with regard to the slaves of God and an innumerable great crowd?
14 After this, the fourth vision begins. Four angels are seen holding back the four winds of the earth until the slaves of God are sealed in their foreheads. Their number is 144,000. Afterward John sees an innumerable great crowd out of all nations, standing before God and the Lamb, to whom they attribute salvation, rendering service day and night in God’s temple. The Lamb himself ‘will shepherd and guide them to fountains of waters of life.’—7:17.
15. What follows the opening of the seventh seal?
15 The seventh seal is opened (8:1–12:17). There is silence in heaven. Then seven trumpets are handed to the seven angels. The first six trumpet blasts make up the fifth vision.
16. (a) What attends the successive blowing of the first five trumpets, and what is the first of the three woes? (b) What does the sixth trumpet herald?
16 As the first three trumpets are successively blown, calamities rain down upon the earth, the sea, and the rivers as well as the fountains of waters. At the fourth trumpet, a third of the sun, moon, and stars is darkened. At the sound of the fifth, a star from heaven releases a plague of locusts that attack those “who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” This is “one woe,” and two more are coming. The sixth trumpet heralds the untying of four angels who come forth to kill. “Two myriads of myriads” of horsemen bring further calamity and slaughter, but still men do not repent of their evil deeds.—9:4, 12, 16.
17. What events culminate in the announcement that the second woe is past?
17 As the sixth vision begins, another strong angel descends from heaven and declares that “in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel . . . the sacred secret of God according to the good news” is to be brought to a finish. John is given a little scroll to eat. It is “sweet as honey” in his mouth, but it makes his belly bitter. (10:7, 9) Two witnesses prophesy 1,260 days in sackcloth; then they are killed by “the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss,” and their corpses are left three and a half days “on the broad way of the great city.” Those dwelling on the earth rejoice over them, but this turns to fright when God raises them to life. In that hour, there is a great earthquake. “The second woe is past.”—11:7, 8, 14.
18. What important announcement occurs at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and for what is it now the appointed time?
18 Now the seventh angel blows his trumpet. Heavenly voices announce: “The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” The “twenty-four elders” worship God and give thanks, but the nations become wrathful. It is God’s appointed time to judge the dead and to reward his holy ones and “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” His temple sanctuary is opened, and in it is seen the ark of his covenant.—11:15, 16, 18.
19. What sign and warfare are seen in heaven, what is the outcome, and how does this involve the third woe?
19 Following the announcement of the establishment of the Kingdom, the seventh vision immediately shows “a great sign” in heaven. It is a woman who gives birth to “a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” “A great fiery-colored dragon” stands ready to devour the child, but the child is caught away to God’s throne. Michael wars against the dragon, and down to the earth he hurls this “original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan.” It is “woe for the earth”! The dragon persecutes the woman and goes off to make war with the remaining ones of her seed.—12:1, 3, 5, 9, 12; 8:13.
20. What two wild beasts next appear in the vision, and how do they influence men on the earth?
20 The wild beast from the sea (13:1-18). The eighth vision now shows a wild beast with seven heads and ten horns, ascending out of the sea. It gets its power from the dragon. One of its heads was as though slaughtered to death, but it got healed, and all the earth admired the beast. It utters blasphemies against God and wages war with the holy ones. But, look! John sees another wild beast, this one ascending out of the earth. It has two horns like a lamb, but it begins speaking like a dragon. It misleads earth’s inhabitants and tells them to make an image to the first wild beast. All are compelled to worship this image or be killed. Without the mark or number of the wild beast, none can buy or sell. Its number is 666.
21. What does John see on Mount Zion, what do the angels bear and proclaim, and how is the vine of the earth disposed of?
21 The “everlasting good news” and related messages (14:1-20). In happy contrast, in the ninth vision, John sees the Lamb on Mount Zion, and with him are 144,000 who have the names of the Lamb and of the Father on their foreheads. “They are singing as if a new song before the throne,” having been “bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” Another angel appears in midheaven, bearing “everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings” to every nation and declaring: “Fear God and give him glory.” And still another angel announces: “Babylon the Great has fallen!” Another, a third, proclaims that those who worship the wild beast and its image will drink of God’s wrath. One “like a son of man” thrusts in his sickle, and another angel too thrusts in his sickle and gathers the vine of the earth, hurling it into “the great winepress of the anger of God.” As the winepress is trodden outside the city, blood comes up as high as the bridles of the horses, “for a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs” (about 184 miles) [296 km].—14:3, 4, 6-8, 14, 19, 20.
22. (a) Who are next seen to glorify Jehovah, and why? (b) Where are the seven bowls of God’s anger poured out, and what world-shaking developments follow?
22 The angels with the seven last plagues (15:1–16:21). The tenth vision begins with another glimpse of the heavenly court. Those who have gained the victory over the wild beast glorify Jehovah, the “King of eternity,” for his great and wonderful works. Seven angels come out of the sanctuary in heaven and are given seven golden bowls full of the anger of God. The first six are poured out into the earth, the sea, and the rivers and fountains of waters, as well as upon the sun, the throne of the wild beast, and the river Euphrates, drying up its water to make way for “the kings from the rising of the sun.” Demonic expressions gather ‘the kings of the entire inhabited earth to the war of the great day of God the Almighty’ at Har–Magedon. The seventh bowl is poured out upon the air, and amid terrifying natural phenomena, the great city splits into three parts, the cities of the nations fall, and Babylon receives ‘the cup of the wine of the anger of God’s wrath.’—15:3; 16:12, 14, 19.
23. (a) How is God’s judgment executed on Babylon the Great? (b) What announcements and lament accompany her fall, and what joyful praise resounds throughout heaven?
23 God’s judgment upon Babylon; the marriage of the Lamb (17:1–19:10). The 11th vision begins. Look! It is God’s judgment upon “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots,” “with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication.” Drunk with the blood of the holy ones, she rides a scarlet-colored wild beast having seven heads and ten horns. This beast “was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss.” Its ten horns battle with the Lamb, but because he is “Lord of lords and King of kings,” he conquers them. The ten horns turn on and devour the harlot, and with the beginning of the 12th vision, another angel, whose glory lights the earth, declares: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen!” God’s people are commanded to get out of her, lest they share in her plagues. The kings and other mighty ones of the earth weep over her, saying: “Too bad, too bad, you great city, Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment has arrived!” Her great riches have been devastated. As a great millstone is hurled into the sea, so with a swift pitch has Babylon been hurled down, never to be found again. At last the blood of God’s holy ones has been avenged! Four times heaven resounds with the call: “Praise Jah, you people!” Praise Jah because he has executed judgment on the great harlot! Praise Jah because Jehovah has begun to reign as king! Rejoice and be overjoyed because “the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself”!—17:2, 5, 8, 14; 18:2, 10; 19:1, 3, 4, 6, 7.
24. (a) How decisive is the warfare waged by the Lamb? (b) What occurs during the thousand years, and what follows at their end?
24 The Lamb makes war in righteousness (19:11–20:10). In the 13th vision, the “King of kings and Lord of lords” leads heavenly armies in righteous warfare. Kings and strong men become carrion for the birds of heaven, and the wild beast and the false prophet are hurled alive into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur. (19:16) As the 14th vision begins, an angel is seen “coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.” “The dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan,” is seized and bound for a thousand years. Those having part in the first resurrection become ‘priests of God and of the Christ and rule as kings with him for the thousand years.’ Thereafter, Satan will be let loose and will go out to mislead the nations of earth, but he will be hurled, with those who follow him, into the lake of fire.—20:1, 2, 6.
25. What thrilling vision follows, and who will inherit the things seen?
25 Judgment Day and the glory of the New Jerusalem (20:11–22:5). The thrilling 15th vision follows. The dead, great and small, are judged before God’s great white throne. Death and Hades are hurled into the lake of fire, which “means the second death,” and with them is hurled anyone not found written in the book of life. The New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, and God tents with mankind, wiping out every tear from their eyes. No more death, mourning, outcry, or pain! Yes, God is “making all things new,” and he confirms his promise, saying: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Those conquering will inherit these things, but the cowards, those lacking faith, and those who are immoral or practice spiritism or idolatry will not.—20:14; 21:1, 5.
26. (a) What description is given of the New Jerusalem? (b) What life-sustaining things are seen in the city, and from where does its light come?
26 John is now shown, in the 16th and final vision, “the Lamb’s wife,” the New Jerusalem, with its 12 gates and 12 foundation stones bearing the names of the 12 apostles. It is foursquare, and its majestic splendor is represented by the jasper, gold, and pearl in it. Jehovah and the Lamb are the temple of this city, and they are also its light. Only those written in the Lamb’s scroll of life may enter into it. (21:9) A pure river of water of life issues from the throne down the broad way of the city, and on each side are trees of life, which produce new crops of fruit each month and have leaves for healing. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and the slaves of God will see His face. “Jehovah God will shed light upon them, and they will rule as kings forever and ever.”—22:5.
27. (a) What assurance is John given concerning the prophecy? (b) With what pressing invitation and warning does the Revelation conclude?
27 The conclusion (22:6-21). The assurance is given: “These words are faithful and true.” Happy, indeed, are all those who observe the words of the prophecy! Having heard and seen these things, John falls down to worship the angel, who reminds him to worship only God. The words of the prophecy are not to be sealed, “for the appointed time is near.” Happy are those gaining entrance into the city, for outside are the filthy and “everyone liking and carrying on a lie.” Jesus states that he himself sent this witness to the congregations through his angel, and that he is “the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” “And the spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” And let no one add to or take away from the words of this prophecy, lest his portion be taken away “from the trees of life and out of the holy city.”—22:6, 10, 15-17, 19.
28. By what examples can we appreciate that Revelation closes out the record begun in the first part of the Bible?
28 What a glorious conclusion the book of Revelation does provide for the Bible’s inspired collection of 66 books! Nothing has been omitted. There are no loose ends. Now we see clearly the grand finale as well as the beginning. The last part of the Bible closes out the record begun in the first part. As Genesis 1:1 described God’s creation of the material heavens and earth, so Revelation 21:1-4 describes a new heaven and a new earth and the untold blessings that will be brought to mankind, as prophesied also at Isaiah 65:17, 18; 66:22; and 2 Peter 3:13. Just as the first man was told he would positively die if disobedient, so God positively guarantees that for the obedient ones, “death will be no more.” (Gen. 2:17; Rev. 21:4) When the Serpent first appeared as mankind’s deceiver, God foretold the bruising of his head, and the Revelation discloses how the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, is finally hurled into destruction. (Gen. 3:1-5, 15; Rev. 20:10) Whereas disobedient man was driven away from the Edenic tree of life, symbolic trees of life appear “for the curing of the nations” of obedient mankind. (Gen. 3:22-24; Rev. 22:2) Just as a river issued out of Eden to water the garden, so a symbolic river, life-giving and life-sustaining, is pictured as flowing from God’s throne. This parallels the earlier vision of Ezekiel, and it also calls to mind Jesus’ words about “a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” (Gen. 2:10; Rev. 22:1, 2; Ezek. 47:1-12; John 4:13, 14) In contrast to being driven from God’s presence, as were the first man and woman, the faithful conquerors will see his face. (Gen. 3:24; Rev. 22:4) It is beneficial indeed to consider these thrilling visions of Revelation!
29. (a) How does Revelation tie together the prophecies concerning Babylon? (b) What parallels are to be noted between the visions of the Kingdom, as well as of the beasts, in Daniel and in Revelation?
29 Note, too, how Revelation ties together the prophecies concerning wicked Babylon. Isaiah had foreseen the fall of the literal Babylon long before it happened, and he had declared: “She has fallen! Babylon has fallen!” (Isa. 21:9) Jeremiah also prophesied against Babylon. (Jer. 51:6-12) But the Revelation speaks in symbol of “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.” She too must be overthrown, and John sees it in vision, declaring: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen!” (Rev. 17:5; 18:2) Do you recall Daniel’s vision of a kingdom set up by God that will crush other kingdoms and stand “to times indefinite”? Note how this ties in with the heavenly proclamation in Revelation: “The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 11:15) And just as Daniel’s vision described ‘someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven to receive a lasting rulership and dignity and kingdom,’ so Revelation identifies Jesus Christ as “The Ruler of the kings of the earth” and as “coming with the clouds,” and says that “every eye will see him.” (Dan. 7:13, 14; Rev. 1:5, 7) There are certain parallels to be observed, also, between the beasts of Daniel’s visions and the beasts of Revelation. (Dan. 7:1-8; Rev. 13:1-3; 17:12) The Revelation provides a vast field, indeed, for faith-strengthening study.
30. (a) What complete view does Revelation give of the sanctification of Jehovah’s name through the Kingdom? (b) What is emphasized with regard to holiness, and whom does this affect?
30 What a wondrous, many-featured vision the Revelation provides concerning God’s Kingdom! It brings into brilliant focus what the prophets of old and Jesus and his disciples said concerning the Kingdom. Here we have the completed view of the sanctification of Jehovah’s name through the Kingdom: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty.” He is worthy “to receive the glory and the honor and the power.” Indeed, he it is that ‘takes his great power and begins ruling as king’ through Christ. How zealous this regal Son, the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” is shown to be as he strikes the nations and treads “the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty”! As the grand Bible theme of Jehovah’s vindication builds up to its climax, it is emphasized that everyone and everything sharing in his Kingdom purposes must be holy. The Lamb, Jesus Christ, who “has the key of David,” is spoken of as holy, and so are the angels of heaven. Those having part in the first resurrection are said to be “happy and holy,” and it is stressed that “anything not sacred and anyone that carries on a disgusting thing” will in no way enter “the holy city Jerusalem.” Those who have been bought by the blood of the Lamb “to be a kingdom and priests to our God” thus have powerful encouragement to maintain holiness before Jehovah. The “great crowd” too must ‘wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb’ that they may render sacred service.—Rev. 4:8, 11; 11:17; 19:15, 16; 3:7; 14:10; 20:6; 21:2, 10, 27; 22:19; 5:9, 10; 7:9, 14, 15.
31. What features of the Kingdom are called to our attention only in the book of Revelation?
31 The vision of this magnificent and holy Kingdom of God crystallizes in our minds as we note certain features that are called to our attention only in the book of Revelation. Here we have the complete vision of the Kingdom heirs on Mount Zion with the Lamb, singing a new song that only they can master. It is only the Revelation that tells us the number of those bought from the earth to enter the Kingdom—144,000—and that this number is sealed out of the 12 symbolic tribes of spiritual Israel. It is only the Revelation that shows that these ‘priests and kings,’ who share with Christ in the first resurrection, will also rule with him “for the thousand years.” It is only the Revelation that gives us the complete view of “the holy city, New Jerusalem,” showing its radiant glory, Jehovah and the Lamb as its temple, its 12 gates and foundation stones, and the kings that reign in it forever by the eternal light that Jehovah sheds upon them.—14:1, 3; 7:4-8; 20:6; 21:2, 10-14, 22; 22:5.
32. (a) How does the vision of the “new heaven” and “the holy city, New Jerusalem,” sum up all that had been foretold concerning the Kingdom Seed? (b) What blessings does the Kingdom assure for mankind on earth?
32 It can truly be said that this vision of the “new heaven” and “the holy city, New Jerusalem,” sums up all that the Scriptures have foretold from ancient times concerning the Kingdom Seed. Abraham looked forward to a seed by which ‘all the families of the earth would certainly bless themselves’ and to “the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which city is God.” Now, in the Revelation vision, this city of blessing is clearly identified for us as the “new heaven”—a new government, God’s Kingdom, made up of the New Jerusalem (the bride of Christ) and her Bridegroom. Together they will administer a righteous government over all the earth. Jehovah promises faithful mankind that they may become “his peoples” in a happy, sinless, deathless condition such as man enjoyed before the rebellion in Eden. And by way of emphasis, the Revelation twice tells us that God will “wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Gen. 12:3; 22:15-18; Heb. 11:10; Rev. 7:17; 21:1-4.
33. (a) What marvelous overall vision does Revelation give of the divine purposes fulfilled? (b) How has “all Scripture” been proved to be “inspired of God and beneficial,” and why is it now the time to study and obey God’s Word?
33 Yes, what a grand conclusion to the inspired Scriptures! How marvelous are these “things that must shortly take place”! (Rev. 1:1) The name of Jehovah, “the God of the inspired expressions of the prophets,” is sanctified. (22:6) The prophetic writings of 16 centuries are shown in fulfillment, and the works of faith of thousands of years are rewarded! “The original serpent” is dead, his hosts are destroyed, and wickedness is no more. (12:9) God’s Kingdom rules as “a new heaven” to his praise. The blessings of a restored earth, filled and subdued according to Jehovah’s purpose stated in the first chapter of the Bible, stretch for a glorious eternity before mankind. (Gen. 1:28) All Scripture has indeed proved to be “inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” Jehovah has used it to lead fully competent, completely equipped men of faith to this marvelous day. Now, therefore, is the time to study these Scriptures to strengthen your faith. Obey their commands in order to receive God’s blessing. Follow them on the straight path that leads to everlasting life. By doing so, you too can say, in the assured confidence with which the last book of the Bible closes: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”—2 Tim. 3:16; Rev. 22:20.
34. How can we now have incomparable joy, and why?
34 What incomparable joy we can now have by hailing “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,” the Seed, as this brings eternal sanctification to the matchless name of “Jehovah God, the Almighty”!—Rev. 11:15, 17.
The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, page 240.
The Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius, VI, xxv, 9, 10.
The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, pages 559-60.
The Lives of the Caesars (Domitian, XIII, 2).