Revelation 22

Revelation 22: Come Lord Jesus!

Well we have reached the end of the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This end describes the beginning of what all of creation has longed for. There are several passages we should look at.

 If you read yesterdays discussion then you noticed I shared how absolutely immense the building will be. Almost 1400 miles by 1400 miles and almost 1400 miles high! I can't even fathom something like that but it will be constructed of either precious stones or elements that to John looked like precious stones. Walls over 200 feet thick! Now these elements are so pure that some of them are translucent. I hope you noticed that the only light source there is God's radiating glory. So can you imagine the purest light possible shining through the purest elements possible? Wonder if that might look, you know, kinda cool?

Also there are several difficult passages in chapter 22.

At the beginning of the chapter the tree is characterized as having leaves for the healing of the nations. I don't think this is alluding to healing but health. You have to be sick to be healed and God has already taken care of that! I think this wording is honoring some other text. I think it is saying we will be continually nourished from God and obviously the result will be perfect health. The word for nations can also be people or even gentiles.

Only one street mentioned. Not streets. Oh yea, and the gold it is made from is so pure you can see through it. The stream could be symbolic but even if it is , it flows from God, our wonderful source for everything.

I thought we were all supposed to sit on clouds and strum harps but it seems as though we will be serving God. We will see Him face to face and be identified as belonging to Him. Oh what a glorious feeling it will be to feel we belong to Him! We will work and the results of that work will result in total satisfaction and joy.

From vrs. 7 on Jesus makes sure we know it is He who is talking here. Please read through this section carefully. Hmm, sure seems like John kinda liked what he saw, you know, with the whole falling down and worshiping the angel deal he seems to have had going on there.

Verse 11 is the other difficult passage. Unfortunately I think the interpretation is pretty grim. The angel says in verse 10 to not seal up the words because the time is near. I think verse 11 is saying that if you do not respond to the message of the book now, then when it happens it will be too late. There will be no hope.

Jesus says He is coming soon several times in this chapter. Hey just what is His definition of soon? Thankfully it is not our definition, as He desires that all may come to know Him and He does not want any to perish. Did you notice that He didn't say, "well of course I will not come until the gospel is preached to every tribe in South America, or until this or that happens. He can come back at any second. He has 144,000 evangelists who have never been to South America and would love to see it! The point to stress is that He warns us to be ready! It will happen like a thief in the night. It will not happen like we think it will.

He tells us blessings await for those who keep the words of this book, blessings for those who will simply read this book. I can tell you reading through The Revelation has blessed me very much. Do not worry about what you don't understand. Rejoice in what you do! Is not the Jesus you worship today bigger and more powerful than the Jesus revealed to you before we started this book?

Carefully consider the warnings and examine the condition of the hearts of the various people mentioned.


I know there is a natural hesitancy to try to understand something that is impossible to completely understand. I feel the book of The Revelation stokes up a fire of desire to love God and a yearning for the heaven He has promised.

The last words we find that Jesus says in the last chapter of the bible is "Surely I come quickly".

Amen Lord Jesus. Please come quickly!

Revelation 21

 As a "reward" for all of his hard work and insight through the difficult chapters describing God's great wrath and judgements, I thought it only right to allow Alan Pugmire the pleasure of leading us in the appreciation and celebration of the final chapters of Revelation. Thank You, Alan.

Revelation 20: All Things New

I can still remember the first time I heard about heaven. I was just a little tyke and my mother was telling me all about it. I remember the thrill it gave me. I literally jumped up and down with joy! Now being the spiritual little boy that I was I went straight for the essentials of the afterlife. Could I have a pet tiger and would I really be able to play with dinosaurs? Yes, yes a resounding yes! (I think my Mom read a different translation of the bible than I had read).

I can tell you it caused a deep hunger in me that has lasted to this day.

You see this is one of those chapters in the bible that shoots down in flames the usually wise notion; "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is not true".

This chapter starts off with one of the most incredible statements John will make: "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first passed away." This word new can describe quality, but also kind. This is not just an improvement, this is the real deal.

Some think the mention of no more sea was something that was especially delightful for John to point out, since that was all he could look at from the island of Patmos. Water, water everywhere? Perhaps. I have read others comment that the population will become so great that there is just not enough room for water during this time!

John sees a new Jerusalem come down from God out of heaven. It is only the most awesome thing ever. The city is described as Holy. You know, like no sin! It is also described as a prepared bride. I take this to mean that as a bride walks down the isle, adorned and majestic as she moves toward her groom as those all watch with great anticipation. Nothing is as beautiful as a bride on her wedding day as she walks down the isle. That is what the city coming down out of heaven will be like!

Vers. 3-8 are some of those wonderful passages worth reading over and over....
We are going to be with God!
In His presence!
He will wipe all the tears from our old life away. Sorry but this does not describe "tears in heaven". We will not be mourning or experiencing shame from unconfessed sin! That is not what it says! Jesus says in vrs 6 "It is done!" He does not say it is partially done!

Then it talks about some minor blessings like, oh, you know,  just some little things more death, no more sorrow, no crying, no more pain, all the former things are gone! Are you still sitting down? Jesus tells us He will make all things new!  We are going to be with Him, face to face, and He will be our God! He will freely give from the fountain of life for those who thirst. No it can't be. It just sounds just too good to be true! But the One who calls Himself the Alpha and Omega says these word are True and Faithful!

He makes an important qualification for all these wonderful blessings; it will be given only to those who overcome. What does that mean?
I think it is very good advice to try to use definitions that can be attributed to the same writer of the passage of scripture or phrase you are trying to study. So is there anywhere else in John's writings where he talks about one who overcomes?  Yes there is, but I am not going to tell you where. See if you can find it! So according to John, who is he that overcomes? It is one who believes that Jesus is the son of God!

Vrs 8 describes those who will experience the second death. They will be thrown into a lake of fire. I don't know if this is symbolic or not but I know one thing that is more horrible than burning in that lake forever; that is knowing that Jesus will not be there. THAT IS WHAT HELL IS. Every person who ever lived was blessed with God's presence. He might have experienced it in Africa during the first rains of the season. He might have experienced it by feeling sunlight on his face after a cold winter. He tasted it in some yummy apple or piece of celery or saw it in a beautiful flower or heard it in a powerful waterfall but there was something deep inside him which undeniably said "this is good". That will be gone. All that will be left is "weeping and gnashing of teeth'. This is just another way of saying that they will be left with two sayings that they will tell themselves over and over again. "Why didn't I listen to the gospel?." "If only I had listened to the my wife." "Why didn't I listen to my Dad?" "If only I had gone to church with my kids." You get the idea. Continual remorse with no one to comfort! Absolute misery without recess! Over and over and over again they will torture themselves with regret as they ask why? or ponder "if only". Over and over and over again. A sober consideration in the midst of the celebration of God's kingdom come.

PS - We also thank you, Russ, for your in depth analysis of this mysterious book. The biblical, historical and cultural background that you have provided, as well as your excellent exegesis, has helped many comprehend and embrace that which was once shunned and feared.

Revelation 20

I am trusting Russ or Alan to post a more complete and inclusive commentary on the other dramatic themes of this chapter, especially the various resurrections described, so that I may comment specifically regarding why Satan is loosed (after he is finally bound) after the Thousand Year Reign of Christ. 

For the thousand years of the direct reign of Jesus over this earth, Satan will be bound and inactive.  But after the thousand years are over, he will be released and successfully organize many of the earth in another rebellion against God. This begs the question, "If Jesus has reigned so wonderfully for a thousand years, then why will the earth rebel?"

  They will do it, and God will allow it, as a final demonstration of man’s rebellion and depravity. For all of human history, man has wanted to blame his sinful condition on his environment.  “Of course I turned out the way I did.  Did you see the family I came from?  Did you see the neighborhood I grew up in?”  With the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus, God will give mankind a thousand years of a perfect environment - with no Satan, no crime, violence, evil, or other social pathology.  But at the end of the 1,000 years, man will still rebel against God at his first opportunity. This will powerfully demonstrate that the problem is in us, not only in our environment. It will be proved once more that man, whatever his advantages and environment, apart from the grace of God and new birth, remains at heart only evil and at opposition to God.

In Romans 7:18 Paul declares, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells" Only when we recognize that mankind is not "basically good at heart" (as is the common thinking of the world today) and are willing to admit our total depravity will we ever understand our total helplessness and our need for the salvation that is provided only by Christ's substitutionary death on the cross. In other words, before anyone can ever be saved, they must first recognize how lost they are. Additionally, a correct understanding of our wretchedness will help us be all the more amazed and thankfull that God would offer His Son to pay the price for sinners such as we are, inspiring us to show our gratitude and appreciation by living our lives in His service and for His Glory.

Revelation 19

There is no greater commentary on this chapter than the famous Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. "Hallelujah," is the ancient Hebrew expression for "praise the Lord".

The "threefold hallelujah" comes first from the roar of a great multitude in heaven , from the great multitude again, then from the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures. The first two exclamations are introduced by Hallelujah! and the third one with Amen, Hallelujah!. All these voices are from heaven in keeping with the command addressed to heaven to rejoice. The fourth voice is also from heaven, from the throne, but it is addressed to the people of God on earth: Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!.

The fifth voice is the earth's response, like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder. The rejoicing spreads from heaven to earth. The earth's hallelujah answers to the multiple "hallelujahs" in heaven. The announcement that our Lord God Almighty reigns is no news to heaven, but on earth it is an announcement of victory: the Lord God Almighty has taken direct control of the earth and has begun to reign anew. This is the visible realization of what was announced seven chapters earlier in connection with the seventh trumpet: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" .

The time has come "for destroying those who destroy the earth," but it is also the time "for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great" . Rejoicing over Babylon gives way to rejoicing over the establishment of God's rule, and specifically over the wedding of the Lamb. Suddenly a very different "woman" is in the picture--the Lamb's bride, or wife. In contrast to Babylon, who was "dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet," with "gold, precious stones and pearls", she is dressed only in fine linen that is bright and clean; the pure and spotles Bride without blemish that Christ has prepared for Himself - The Church as God sees her -in all her glory!

As if in response to this symphony of praise and the vision of The Bride, Jesus Christ appears as the rider on a white horse "who is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


The Suffering Servant from Isaiah 53 returns as the Conquering King and the Victorious Warrior foretold in prophecy. In what may be perhaps one of the greatest understatements ever; the battle is joined and the battle is won. The great battle is no literal battle at all (in spite of the bloodstained garments), but a divine decree in action. The Word of God simply speaks with the sword of his mouth, and victory is accomplished. The vaunted battle of Armageddon is no contest.

Here we experience the three overarching themes of the Book of Revelation. First and foremost, it is a book of praise, worship, honor, majesty and glory to our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Secondly, it is the revealing of Christ as He was, and is and ever shall be - God on the throne clothed in majesty. And finally (as the book draws to a crescendo and close) it is a declaration of God's faithfullness to his promises, the fulfillment of the redemptive plan of God, the "righting" of every wrong, the attainment of the victory promised in Genesis 3:15 and the restoration of paradise lost.

As we contemplate these incedible images of things to come, let us all join in the chorus of praise to the Mighty King and let us all find peace and joy as we rest in the victory that is so surely His and ours.  

(edited from the Bible Gateway Commentary)

Revelation 18

Chapter 18:
"Fallen, Fallen is Babylon the Great". The repetition of the phrase "fallen" is unique. This could be to emphasize the statement. It could also be worded this way as saying the religious Babylon is fallen and the political Babylon is fallen. It is interesting to me to see the association of birds with demons in vrs 2. In my study I have found there are other passages which associate demons, or at least evil contexts and birds. (see Matt13:4 and Isa 34:11-15).

We see described in the next several verses the severity of her sin before God and the double portion of His judgement against her. In one hour it is all over. We see all those who became rich in her system stand far removed from her as their entire life is now carried along in great plumes of smoke. "Is this what I worked my entire life to attain?" they must say to themselves. They wail and lament and mourn that which brought them the almighty dollar and "the fruits that thy soul lusted after" (vrs 14).

This certainly brings to mind the statement of Jesus from Matt 6 about treasure. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". This is how we can avoid getting caught up in the "rat race". Matt 6 is so applicable here as Jesus encourages us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth, nor rust, nor godly plagues will take them away. Sorry for the little paraphrase there but I hope you get my meaning.

The end of chapter 18 describes the call to rejoice in Babylon's downfall. She is wiped out and no longer will voices be heard in her. God has taken revenge against her who has spilled the blood of His prophets and apostles and saints throughout history.

I hope that you can see as you read through these chapters that there is no hope to be saved apart from Jesus . He has shown through His judgements that anything that we might put before Him will be brought down.......violently. Are you trusting in this Jesus? Can you see your life on a path of destruction if your heart is moving away from relationship with Him?

Is your heart hardened?

Cry out to Him now. Do not reject God's discipline and correction. These scriptures should birth in us a seriousness about our time left on earth. Have you committed to spending time with God as a result of Pastor Gary's sermon last Sunday?

I feel a renewed importance to battle in prayer. Will you join with me as we, on bended  knee petition the Throne of God that we have gained access to through our Great High Priest; the Lord Jesus Christ?

Revelation 17

Revelation 17 and 18. Babylon is Fallen, is Fallen.

The task of trying to dig into these chapters in Revelation from a brisk pace is equivalent to skating through an art museum! We would not have the time to appreciate brush strokes or color blending and shading or to appreciate fine details in the way we might prefer.

So it is the same here today. We are covering passages so full of detail that we just will not be able to dig into them thoroughly.

Today and tomorrow I wanted to try something a little different and have us read both Rev. 17 and 18 together both days. These chapters are closely related to one another and represent the one world system that all of the last days have been moving toward.

Chapter 17 describes a unified religion, Chapter 18 one world government.
Chapter 17 describes religious Babylon, Chapter 18 describes political Babylon.

The religious Babylon will serve and be intertwined with the political Babylon and help to bring it to power.

We will see however that the political Babylon, after achieving control, will turn and destroy the one world religion, again all the while being controlled by Almighty God, using these entities to accomplish His will.

The religious Babylon is also called The Great Harlot. She is described as committing great abominations against the Lord. What is interesting is that in Chapter 18, the word used for her sin is not of a sexual nature but more of riot. She runs in rebellion and from that rebellion all the other fornication and filthiness flows. An interesting insight that I think speaks to the sinful nature in all of us. Will we do what Jesus tells us or what we want? Will God be God or will we be god?

I would love to encourage you read at some time C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce". It is a very short read and fascinating, but I must warn I am now on my third reading and still seeing many deep insights I missed before. It is a short read, but not an easy read.
One of the insights that I would like to share that seems appropriate right now is that either one of two scenarios will take place as we stand before The Great Judge. Either we will bend our knee and claim "Your will be done", or we will reject Him and He will say to us; "your will be done". It will be exactly what we want and will be based on the condition of our hearts!

As is the desire of every beauty contestant, it seems our world longs for world peace. (hope you get the "Miss Congeniality" reference) We can see that the world is shifting toward the only conditions that man thinks will make that a possibility; and that is one world religion and one world government.

This woman is described as one adorned with great wealth. With a gold cup, yet the cup is filled with abominations similar to the description in Jeremiah toward the end of the book. (sorry can't remember where). Written on her forehead will be "Mystery, Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots..."
This term "Mother of Harlots" seems to say that there is a lineage of religious harlotry if you will, that has been in place throughout history and will be the foundation for the one world religion. The Mystery denotes something hidden. Perhaps a thread of secret religious practices from original Babylon has always been hidden in history and will rise to the surface.

What we can know for sure is that she wars against God's people. The spilled blood of His' saints and martyrs causing her drunkenness. She will also be described as the great city in vrs. 18, which is the center of the final world religion. There are many thoughts and views on which city this actually is, or even if it is a real city. Rome, ancient Babylon, or possibly Jerusalem or New York have been said to be the great city.

Seven heads. Ten horns. Seven kings. The seven heads are seven hills, yet they are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and one is yet to come. The ten horns are ten kings. Those kings have received no kingdoms, yet as one they will give power and strength to the beast. One beast was and is not, and yet is. Got it? Good. O.K. guess we can move on then. Um Russ! Help! It would take the rest of the year simply to explain and explore all the theories and interpretations of Rev. 17:7-12 that are out there. It is beyond me in this context.

To me what is important is that everything is already in place. Yes a war could delay or rearrange the circumstances but never before in history has the world been in this place where so many of the details seem to be set up and aligned. When before in history could a nation summon a 200 million man army? Have you heard anything about the growing grass roots trend in Israel to consider a personal Messiah?

There is more than one view however. More than one interpretation. It will happen as God said and that is what is important. He is still in control. War shall be attempted against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! Look at the description of those that are with Him. They are called and chosen and faithful. Lord help us to fit that description!

One other important aspect to notice is that in vrs. 15 we see that this religion has infiltrated every nation. and people, and tongue. That means you and me. We must keep watch and perhaps the warning in the last chapter (vrs. 15) is applicable. This will be pervasive and we must keep watch. Another warning and appeal is offered in 18:4. "Come out of her My people". The world system is so easy to become lost in. The rat race is a very appropriate description, don't you think? As we have seen in our own country, the movement for a large government which we can depend on for more and more is a philosophy that is fairly common in other parts of the world. Will the world continue down this path? Will money truly take over as the be all-end all endeavor to our lives? Are we there already? We must be on guard, for no one can serve two masters. God's request to "come out of them" certainly would have this aspect in mind. Please realize that to be told to come out of them means that many followers of God were among them at this time. It is just so easy to get caught up in a fast moving materialistic torrent. The one world government will be driven by pursuit of money.

Revelation 16

Thank you to Alan Pugmire for this and the next two posts.

Revelation 16.  The Last Seven Plagues Delivered

 Beginning with Chapter 14 we see God finally exercising His mighty wrath upon His enemies. These five chapters are some of the most fantastic, horrible, magnificent, and terrible passages in all of the Bible.

This Chapter is sometimes called the "great chapter" because the word "great" in Greek is used nine times. It is translated into different words for us English speakin' folk in some of the translations, but it is all the same word. Instances such as "fierce, loud, extremely severe and of course, great" are used.

In this chapter the vials of wrath are poured out upon the earth. You might notice some similarities to the plagues delivered in Egypt.

This is certainly the case with the first bowl. In fact the word used in this Chapter describing the first plague as malignant is the same as in Exodus 9. This first bowl or "vial"  in the King James translation is a spreading sore delivered to those who are "marked".

As we can see with the deliverance of each bowl full of God's wrath, God seems to pinpoint an area of man's sustenance that man would trust in instead of God Himself. Whether it be man's health, or food, or environment, God strips each away to show just how much they relied on these things and yet how they could be easily taken away. I know it is difficult to think like God, but I sense God's jealousy burning in these bowls. How much He must have longed for those He created to turn to Him from these examples of man's frailty.

And yet what are the results of these plagues? We see again and again that they refused to turn from their wicked deeds. They would not repent even though it is described as them "gnawing on their tongues" in misery. It is amazing to me to realize the power of a hardened heart. When we reject the grace God gives us as He disciplines us and calls for us to repent, we allow our hearts to become hard. I would encourage you that with all diligence pray and be on guard against this. It is one of Satan's most effective tools to keep us at a relational distance from the only one that can help us.

As the river Euphrates is prepared, three demonic spirits are released to perform miracles helping to align the kings of the earth into a coalition army. They will take the dried up Euphrates as a great road that will lead them to the valley at the hill of Maggedo or "Armageddon". This is a great valley that has been used many times before for battles. Millions and millions of forces can assemble in this area. What I love about this is that we will soon see that it is actually God that is controlling the demons! He is still in charge and we can trust Him!

Verse 15 is a warning that almost seems out of place here but is calls for any followers of the Lord still alive to be on guard. Again the comparison to a "thief in the night" is used.

A great voice cries out "It is done" possibly alluding to the completion of the Lord's wrath or work or mission.

The Big One. This must always speak especially to Californians who are waiting for the big one, that is a great earthquake that is long overdue, but this is the real big one! Splitting the great city, whether that be Jerusalem or Rome or ??? into three parts. I think it would be awesome if this coincided with Christ planting His foot down on the mount of olives! It will be devastating in a way we can only imagine. Oh yea, there will also be a little problem of some hailstones weighing 100 pounds falling from the sky upon men who blaspheme God due to the severity of the destruction.

"True and Righteous are Thy Judgments"
One of the most important aspects of the delivery of the bowls of wrath is to realize that this is an expression of God's character just as is His love or Holiness. Even if God had not outwardly expressed His' wrath, it would still be part of His character. It does seem to be related to His Righteousness, but when we see these actions which look so violent, (the word fierceness is used in vrs. 19) we can rest in knowing that God has said He does not change and that He is worthy of our trust and allegiance.

As C.S. Lewis describes in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", Aslan is a good lion, but He is not a tame lion. He will not fit in our box or jump through our hoop.

Revelation 15

“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

It may seem odd here, and in other instances in the Book of Revelation, to hear a song of praise arise in the midst of such terrible clamity, judgement, wrath and destruction. Seems a bit out of context at first glance. Yet, as we understand that God's judgement is an aspect of His love and holiness, if we can understand, also that even in his wrath, God is just and true, and if we recognize that the purpose of His wrath is to lead the lost to salvation and to free the world from the corruption of sin and rebellion, then perhaps we can accept and even join in on the song that praises the God Who is restoring His creation, His kingdom and His people to their original dignity, royalty and destiny.

Great profit and peace belong to the saint who can perceive God's good and righteous hand working for our good (Romans 8:28) behind the difficult circumstances of life, and even as we find ourselves under His hand of correction or chastisement, for “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty". (Job 5:17). Let us be willing to respond to all that God is doing to refine us, transform us and mature us in out faith with a song worship and praise, especially in the midst of the storm.

Revelation 14

Chapter 14 of Revelation is a chapter of opposites...

  • The 144,000 who have the name of The Lamb and His Father on their foreheads versus those who take the mark of The Beast on their forehead or hand.
  • One angel proclaiming the gospel of salvation and deliverance while another angel proclaims the judgemet and destruction of Babylon.
  • One harvest of wheat symbolizing the bringing in of souls for the kingdom while another harvest of the grapes of God's wrath bringing unpresedented bloodshed.

    The literary theme of opposites, either complimentary or contradictory, flow throughout scripture. The Book of Proverbs is filled with them. Yet, perhaps this style is most effectively used when applied to our eternal salvation - either a sheep or a goat, the broad gate versus the narrow gate, one is taken and the other is left. These and many other examples point to the truth that, in the matter of salvation and eternity, Heaven or Hell is our only choice and it will be based on whether or not we (and our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.) have acknowledged and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. In a world of vast and multiple choices (just walk down the cearal aisle of the supermarket to see what I mean) this truth is uncomfortable and unwelcome. Yet, it is the truth with which we must confront an unbelieving world.



Revelation 13

Chapter 13 of Revelation is one of the most debated, disected, polarizing, abused, manipulated and, perhaps, feared and mis-interpreted portions of God's word.

The images and identities of the two beasts and their idolatrous, blasphemous activities coupled with the ever debated "number of a man which is "666" have been speculated upon since the time of John's writing.

Much time has been invested, and perhaps wasted, in these pursuits. A definitive identity is not provided nor intended to be obtained. Lost in the discussion and debate of whether the beasts represent persons or governments, whether or not Nero was the "antichrist" of the number or where the Roman Catholic Church or the United States of America figure in the prophecy are the two themes that can best be gleaned and applied from these descriptions and that are most valuable to the Body.

In the midst of all the stark imagery lie the two themes of, "Who will you worship" and "The patient endurance of the saints in the face of persecution" - themes that transcend time, circumstances and history. These are themes that profited and sustained the saints who suffered under the Caesars, themes that continue to encourage and strengthened the persecuted church today and themes that will be the only truths that will see the church through the terrible events and personages about which John foretells in these pages.