31. Revelation Study Questions
In Focus Study Questions #1
1. In the past, how have you felt about the book of Revelation? Presently, what disturbs you the most? What excites you the most? Do you have any specific goals in this study?
2. What does the word “Revelation” mean (1:1)? Why is this called a Revelation “of Jesus Christ?” Why is this considered the primary purpose of Revelation (1:1)?
3. What are “bond-servants” (1:1)? Do you consider yourself a “bond-servant?” Why or why not?
4. How does this Revelation “show” [us] “the things which must soon take place?” What does John mean by the word “soon?”
5. What were the sources of this angel’s message to John (1:2)? Why does John record both?
6. What does the word “blessed,” mean (1:3)? How will you be “blessed” from reading, hearing and heeding the words or Revelation? Why does John mention “he who reads” and “those who hear?”
7. How is this book “the prophecy?” What does it mean to “heed” the contents of this book? Why does John say, “the time is near?”
In Focus Study Questions #2
1. Why does John write to “the seven churches that are in Asia” (1:4)? Is there any significance in the greeting: “Grace to you and peace?” Why is God the Father called “Him who is and who was and who is to come?” Who are “the seven Spirits who are before His throne?”
2. What three titles are attributed to Jesus Christ (1:5a)? How are these significant?
3. What three actions has Jesus performed for us (1:5b-6)?
4. What Old Testament passage is John quoting (1:7)? Is this a reference to the Rapture? Why or why not?
5. Why does the title, “Alpha and the Omega” mean (1:8)? Why does the Lord God repeat, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (cf. 1:4)?
In Focus Study Questions #3
1. What does it mean to be a “fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus” (1:9)? Why was John “on the island called Patmos?”
2. Does “the Lord’s day” refer to Sunday or the Day of the Lord (1:10)? How does the word “like” serve this sentence? See eight other occurrences in 1:13-17.
3. Why is John commanded to “write in a book” what he sees (1:11)? What is significant about the command to “send” his book to the “seven churches?”
4. How should the “seven golden lampstands” be identified (1:12; see 1:20)? How does this correspond with what is one of the primary purposes of the church (see Matt 5:14; Phil 2:15; Eph 5:8-13)?
5. Why does John say this person is “like a son of man” (1:13; Dan 10:5-6)? Is there any significance to this man being “clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash?”
6. Why is the word “white,” mentioned twice in 1:14a? What does this say about Jesus’ head and hair? Why are Jesus’ eyes “like a flame of fire” (1:14b; cf. 1 Cor 3:12)?
7. Why are Jesus’ feet “like burnished bronze” (1:15a; cf. 2:18)? Why is His voice “like the sound of many waters” (1:15c)?
8. Why does John refer to Jesus’ “right hand” (1:16a)? What are the “seven stars” (see 1:20)? Do these “stars” refer to spirit beings or human messengers? Why or why not?
9. What does the “sword” coming out of Jesus’ mouth depict (1:16b; cf. 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21)?
10. What must Jesus’ face looked like if it appeared “like the sun shinning in its strength” (1:16c)?
11. Why did John fall at Jesus’ feet “as a dead man” (1:17a; cf. Exod 33:20; 1 Tim 6:16)? Why did this experience affect John the way it did when he had already observed the Transfiguration (see Matt 17:1-8)? Why did Jesus immediately place His right hand upon John and speak comforting words (Dan 10:8-10, 15-16; Matt. 17:6-7)?
12. Why does Jesus refer to Himself as, “I am” (1:17b; see Exod 3:14; Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; 8:58), “the first and the last” (Isa 41:4, 12-13; 48:12), and “the living One” (1:18a; see Dan 6:26-27; Rev 4:9; 10:6; 15:7)? Why is it significant that Jesus has “the keys of death and of Hades” (1:18b; cf. Heb 2:14-15)?
13. Is there any significance to the three-fold outline in 1:19? If so, what?
14. Why does John speak of the symbols of 1:12, 16 as a “mystery” (1:20)? How does this verse serve as a principle in interpreting Revelation?
In Focus Study Questions #4
1. Each letter is addressed to “the angel…” (2:1a). Who is this? Why do you believe this to be true? Who is “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand” and “walks among the seven golden lampstands?” What are the seven stars and seven golden lampstands (2:1b, see 1:20)?
2. What did the church in Ephesus have going for it (2:2-3)? What did Jesus have against them (2:4)? Summarize these strengths and weaknesses in your own words.
3. Why does Jesus use three similar words (“deeds,” “toil,” and “perseverance”) to describe the Ephesian church (2:2a)? What else does He say about this church (2:2b)? How does 2:3 relate back to 2:2?
4. What does it mean to abandon your “first love” (2:4)? Is it hard to keep your first love for God? What causes you to lose your first love? What was it like in the early days of your relationship with Christ? At what point in your life were you most excited about Christ? What were the specific outside influences that contributed to you living a life on fire for Christ? What decisions did you make that resulted in you feeling on fire for Christ?
5. How does the metaphor of a couple’s first love for one another relate to our first love for Christ? Why does the “first love” tend to grow cold? If we do the things we did in the early days or our courtship, will we come to feel as we initially felt? Do feelings follow behavior, or the other way around? If we did the things we did in the early days of our relationship with Christ, will we come to feel the way we felt at first? Again, do feelings follow actions or the other way around? Is this first-love issue primarily an issue of feelings or behavior? Is Jesus concerned with our behavior, or how we feel about Him?
6. Is living a life on fire for Christ largely within our control? Is being on fire for Christ something that God or someone else does to us? How do we stay on fire for Christ? How can we help each other stay on fire for Christ?
7. What did Jesus ask the Ephesians to do about this first love problem (2:5a)? What would happen if the Ephesian church didn’t follow Jesus’ counsel (2:5b)? Is this verse a threat to the doctrine of eternal security (“once saved, always saved”)? If not, what is this verse teaching? Does God punish Christians? Why or why not?
8. Who are the “Nicolaitians” (2:6)? What deeds did they commit that were worthy of hatred? What group or teaching could serve as a contemporary parallel?
9. Each of the seven letters closes in the same way: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” What is being said here? Why is this so important as to bear repeating?
10. How will you ensure that you will be one who “overcomes” (2:7b; cf. 2:25-26a)?
11. If Jesus was writing to our church, what positive qualities might He commend us for? What do you think He might scold us for? On the whole, what kind of grade do you think our church would get? What is the most glaring need for improvement in our church? What can you do to be a part of the solution?
In Focus Study Questions #5
1. How is the title, “the first and the last” used elsewhere in Revelation (2:8; cf. 1:17; 22:13)? Why does John use a death and life motif? How does this motif serve his purposes in the rest of the letter?
2. What kind of tribulation and poverty did the church at Smyrna face (2:9)? Why does Jesus say, “I know your poverty (but you are rich)?” How can He say they are rich if they are poor?
3. What is so blasphemous about saying you are a Jew when you are not (2:9b)? Why the reference to “a synagogue of Satan?” How does John 8:39-47 serve as a parallel passage?
4. What did the future hold for the church of Smyrna (2:10)? What were they admonished to do? What is the stated purpose in their persecution? Is the reference to “ten days” literal or figurative? Is the “crown of life” salvation or a reward? How does James 1:12 help to interpret this phrase? Have you ever been persecuted because you are a Christian? Are you willing to be “faithful until death?”
5. What does the following phrase mean: “he who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death” (2:11)?
In Focus Study Questions #6
1. Why does Jesus refer to Himself as “the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12; cf. Rev 1:16; 2:16; 6:8; 19:15, 21)? What does this “sword” represent (cf. Heb 4:12)? How does this indicate the theme of this letter?
2. Pergamum is referred to as “where Satan’s throne is” (2:13). What does this mean? What city today might be referred to as “Satan’s throne?” What is the church commended for?
3. What does Jesus “have against” the church in Pergamum? Who are “Balaam” and “Balak” (2:14; see Num 22-25, 31)? What sins do they tempt Israel to commit? What biblical principles are you tempted to compromise? What is the difference between a principle and a preference?
4. Are the “Nicolaitans” related to Balaam and Balak (2:15)? If so, how?
5. What course of action does Jesus command the church in Pergamum to take (2:16)? Is this quick “coming” referring to Christ’s second coming or a coming in judgment? How will Christ “make war” against these believers? (Note the change from “you” to “them”). Why will He do this?
6. What is the “hidden manna,” “white stone,” and “new name” that the overcomer receives (2:17)?
In Focus Study Questions #7
1. How does this vision of Jesus alter your perspective of who He is (2:18)?
2. Is “love” something you feel or do (2:19)? Can you feel without doing and still call it love? Can you do without feeling and still call it love? What is “faith?” An attitude? A belief? A feeling? Is our “service” to each other, or service to the world? Where is the priority? How are we doing in the discipline of “perseverance?” How do you think God would rate us in these four areas, on a scale of one to ten? How could we do better in our weakest area and our strongest area?
3. Who was “Jezebel” in the Old Testament (1 Kgs 16:31-33; 2 Kgs 9:22)? What do you remember about her? What was this Jezebel in Thyatira doing wrong (2:20-21)? What specific sins did Jezebel’s false teaching lead people into? What are some examples of false beliefs or teachings popular today? How important is orthodox teaching? Does God care that we believe just so as long as we behave right?
4. Why does God blame the church for this woman’s false teaching (2:20)? What should they have done? What would you do if someone you know (e.g., a pastor, elder or small group attendee) started teaching things you knew were not congruent with the Bible? What did God threaten to do about Jezebel (2:22-23)? What did He do first (2:21)? What does this teach us about how we treat each other? Was God gracious forever? Should you always be Mister Nice Guy? When should you not be Mister Nice Guy?
5. What does it mean to “hold fast” (2:25)? Are your small group members holding fast to what they possess? What are you doing to ensure that each member perseveres until Jesus comes?
6. What does 2:26-27 teach we will be doing in heaven? How is this different from the notion of playing harps and singing in the choir? What does 2:28 mean, “I will give him the morning star?” How is the phrase “morning star” used in Scripture (cf. Rev 22:16; 2 Pet 1:19)?
In Focus Study Questions #8
1. What is significant about the word “has” (3:1)? Why is the word “seven” repeated twice? What do “the seven spirits of God” refer to (cf. Rev 1:7, see also Isa 11:2-5; Zech 4:2, 10)? What about “the seven stars” (cf. Rev 1:20)?
2. Why is there no commendation for the church at Sardis (3:2)? Why is the church accused of being “dead?” What did Jesus see that caused Him to say they were dead? What does it mean to be dead (cf. 3:4)? Have you ever been spiritually dead? What was that time in your life like?
3. What does it mean to “wake up” or “watch” (3:2; cf. Rev 16:15; Matt 24:42-43; 25:13; Mark 13:34-35, 37; Luke 12:37; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 5:6, 10; 1 Pet 5:8)? How can you wake up if you find yourself asleep or on the verge of death (see Ps 139:23-24)?
4. What are “the things” that remain which Jesus calls the church to strengthen (3:2)? Why must they strengthen these things (note: the explanatory “for”)? How important are “completed” works to Jesus (see John 17:4; 19:30; Rev 21:6)?
5. What are they to “remember” (3:3)? What is the “it” they are to “keep?” What does it mean to “repent?” What are the consequences if the church fails to repent? Is this a reference to the rapture or a coming in discipline?
6. What does it mean to have “unsoiled” garments (3:4; cp. Rev 22:14; Jas 1:27; Jude 23)? Does walking with Christ in white refer to a positional righteousness or practical righteousness (cf. Rev 19:8)? Are we ever “worthy” of salvation (Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7)? Is there such a thing as a practical “righteousness” (Eph 4:1)? How does Rev 3:4 match up with 16:15? What similar elements do you note?
7. What is the “book of Life” (3:5)? How do you know that your name is in the book of Life and will never be erased? Will God erase the names of believers who don’t overcome? Why or why not?
8. What can you learn from a comparison of the following Scriptures: Rev 3:5 with 1 Cor 9:27; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:17, 26 and 3:12, 21?
9. What does the word “confess” mean (see Matt 7:23; 10:32-33; John 9:22; 12:42; Rom 10:9; 1 Tim 6:12; Titus 1:16; Heb 13:15; 1 John 2:23; 4:2-3, 15; 2 John 7)?
In Focus Study Questions #9
1. Are the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna (2:8-11) rebuked for their behavior? What do both churches share in common? Is Jesus identified with any of His characteristics found in 1:12-18? What do the words “holy” and “true” mean? What does the description has “the key of David” refer to (see Isa 22)?
2. What did God promise the church of Philadelphia (3:8)? What does it mean, specifically and practically that they had an open door? Does God give to us an open door as well? Are people today interested in spiritual things? Jesus taught the fields are/were white unto harvest (John 4:35; cf. Matt 9:37; Luke 10:2). Are they still? What are some positive ways you have found to talk to people about Christ? Do you like talking to people about Christ? Do you enjoy it? Do you feel confident talking to people about Christ? Other than witnessing-saying the words of the Gospel, what are some other ways we can contribute to the advancement of the kingdom? How can you help, other than sharing your faith? Why do you think the Gospel is not spreading more rapidly than it is? The Bible teaches that the Gospel is good news. Normally, good news spreads fast. Why isn’t the Gospel spreading rapidly? Read 2 Thess 3:1. What did Paul ask prayer for? Do you want to see the Gospel spreading rapidly?
3. What does it mean that the church in Philadelphia has “little power” (3:8)? How impressive is it that even with little power the church kept Jesus’ word, and did not deny His name?
4. Who is the “synagogue of Satan” (3:9; cf. Rev 2:9)? What is the purpose in making these people “bow down” before the church (see Isa 60:14)?
5. What is the “hour” that Jesus spoke of (3:10; Matt 24:21; cf. Rev 7:14)? Is being included in the rapture dependent upon “perseverance?” If so, how can this verse be harmonized with 1 Thess 5:4-10?
6. What does the phrase “I am coming quickly” mean (3:11)? If this is a reference to Jesus’ coming, why has He delayed His return so many years? How does this phrase serve as an incentive for Christians (1 John 2:28)? What does it mean to “hold fast” (2:13, 25; 3:3)? Why does Jesus say, “hold fast that no one will take your crown” (1 Cor 9:24)?
7. How is the church like a “temple” (3:12; cf. Eph 2:19-22; 1 Pet 2:5)? What does Rev 21:22 tell us about a future temple? What is the significance of a “pillar” (Isa 22:23)? What does it mean, “he who overcomes will not go out from it [the temple] anymore.” What do the final three names signify?
In Focus Study Questions #10
1. How do Christ’s three titles span His entire career (3:14)? What is significant about these titles? How do you interpret the phrase, “the beginning of the creation of God” (see John 1:2-4; Col 1:15-18; Heb 1:2)?
2. Is there any commendation in this letter? Why or why not? Is there any mention of persecution or trial? What does this suggest?
3. Why does God prefer that we are either “cold or hot” (3:15)? Why would God want us “cold?” How can this term be understood?
4. How distasteful is lukewarmness to God (3:16)? Why is lukewarmness so distasteful to God? Could you describe a time in your life when you were lukewarm toward God? What is the appeal of being lukewarm? Why do people sometimes live lukewarm lives? How can you avoid lukewarmness?
5. In 3:17 John says that the Laodiceans think they are rich when they are, in fact, poor. What dangerous mindset develops as a result of wealth? What does this have to do with being lukewarm?
6. Why does Jesus advise believers to “buy from Me gold refined by fire” (3:18)? How is refined gold used in the Bible (cf. Job 23:10; Prov 27:21; Mal 3:2-3; see also Zech 13:9; 1 Pet 1:6-9)? What might be the purpose of “eye salve” (see John 14:26; 1 Cor 2:14-16)?
7. How does God treat those He loves (3:19; cf. Prov 3:11-12; 13:24; Heb 12:5-6)? Is God all cookies and smiles? Can you give an everyday example of this?
8. How does 3:20 relate to being lukewarm? What is God’s remedy for the tepid soul? Is this verse a call to salvation or fellowship?
9. Although Jesus’ sternest rebukes and condemnation are directed toward Laodicea, He reserves for her the most glorious and precious promises given to any of the seven churches (3:21). What is so significant about reigning with Christ (see 2 Tim 2:12; cf. Phil 2:6-11)?
In Focus Study Questions #11
1. When and where is John writing (4:1)? What does the phrase “After these things” refer to (4:1 [twice]; cf. 1:19)? Is there any significance to the repetition of this phrase? What is the position of the door that John saw? What does an open door suggest? Who does the “first voice” belong to? Why is the voice said to be “like the sound of a trumpet?”
2. What does John mean by the explanation, “I was in the spirit” (4:2)? Wasn’t he also on Patmos? What happened here? Had he entered another dimension, or what (cf. 2 Cor 4:18)? What did John see when he peered into the spirit world? What does “a throne” suggest? What does an occupied throne in heaven suggest? Who was sitting on the throne? If God is sitting on the throne, what is He not doing? How does this relate to John’s situation? Why was this vision important to John at this time? Have you ever gone through a time in your life when you thought the world was running out of control? Have you ever needed the assurance of a reminder that, “there is a throne in heaven and someone was seated on it?” How can we keep this picture of a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it in our minds when we are tempted to believe that our world is running recklessly out of control?
3. What was the appearance of the One sitting on the throne (4:3; cf. Dan 7:9-10)? What are “jasper” and “sardius” like? Why does John refer to a “rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance?”
4. Why does John see around the throne “twenty-four thrones” (4:4)? Who are the “twenty-four elders?” Are they angels, representatives of Israel and the church, or representatives of the church? What helpful clues are present in the description of these elders?
5. Why is there so much commotion in heaven (4:5)? Who are “the seven Spirits of God?” Why are they called “lamps of fire?” Why are they “burning before the throne?”
6. Why is there “something like a sea of glass, like crystal” (4:6)? Why are there “four living creatures” “in the center and around the throne?” Who or what are these?
7. What is the meaning of the descriptions of these four creatures (4:7-8a)? What are their tasks (4:8b-9)? What were the creatures saying about the one who was seated on the throne? What does “holy” mean? Why do you think they said it three times?
8. What are the twenty-four elders doing in heaven (4:10)? If the elders “will cast their crowns before the throne” does this mean that rewards in heaven are temporal?
9. What was the dominant activity of heaven? Some have said that worship is the most important activity of the church. Do you agree? What is worship? Why is worship important? Can you tell about a time of really incredible worship for you? How does worship benefit the individual believer? How does worship strengthen the church as a whole? How does worship affect the devil?
In Focus Study Questions #12
1. What does the phrase “I saw” signify (5:1, 2, 6, 11 [“then I looked”])? Why does John mention a “right hand?” Who is the one that sits on the throne? What is the purpose of the “book” (“scroll”)? How is the scroll in Ezekiel 2:10 similar? Why is it “written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals” (Dan 12:4, 9)?
2. Who is this “strong angel” (5:2; cf. 10:1; 18:21)? What does the strong angel’s “loud voice” indicate (cf. 1:10; 5:12)? Why is opening the book conditioned upon “worthiness?”
3. How exhaustive is the angel’s search in 5:3?
4. Why did John begin to “weep greatly” (5:4)? Didn’t he know that Jesus was “worthy?”
5. What do the titles “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” and the “the Root of David” mean (5:5; see Gen 49:9-10; 2 Sam 7:13, 16; Isa 11:1, 10; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Matt 22:42-43; Luke 1:32-33; Rom 15:12; Rev 22:16)?
6. Who is the “Lamb” a symbol of (5:6; Isa 53:7; John 1:36; 21:15)? What is worth noting about the phrase “standing, as if slain?” What is significant about His “seven horns and seven eyes” (Zech 4:10; Isa 11:2-4)? How would you describe the difference between Jesus as the lamb and the lion (see Ps 2)?
7. What does Jesus’ act in 5:7 symbolize? Why is this act important?
8. Why does each elder have a “harp” (Ps 33:2; 98:5) and “golden bowls” (5:8)? What is the significance of each of these? How do these two tools serve the believer in his/her Christian life? Why are the prayers of God’s people a fragrant aroma of burning incense to Him (cf. Ps 141:2; Luke 1:10)? What types of prayers are collected (cf. 5:10; 6:10; 8:3-5; Matt 6:10; Luke 18:7-8)?
9. Why does heaven sing a “new song” represent (5:9-10)? In this song the Lamb receives honor as being worthy in view of four things. What are these four things and why are they significant?
10. How large of a crowd is “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands” (5:11)?
11. In 5:12 the angels use seven expressions (the perfect number is probably significant) to indicate the wonder of the Lamb. Can you name and define these seven expressions? Which is the most meaningful to you? Why?
12. Why does this passage close with universal praise to the Father and the Son (5:13-14)? How would you distinguish chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation?
In Focus Study Questions #13
1. What is the significance of “seven seals” (6:1)? What similarities for you observe in the first four seals (6:1-8)? How are the fifth and sixth seals distinct (6:9-11, 12-17)? What is the purpose of the seventh seal (see 8:1)?
2. Who opens all of the seals (6:2f)? Who gives these horses and riders their authority? What biblical principle does this teach?
3. What does each horse represent (6:2f.)? Who rides the “white horse” (6:2)? Is it Jesus Christ (cf. Rev 19:11-19) or the coming Antichrist (Dan 9:26-27; 1 Thess 5:3)? How did you arrive at your conclusion? What does “a bow” signify? Why is there no mention of arrows? Does this imply a “peaceful conquest” (cf. 6:4)? Why or why not (see Isa 41:2)? How then do you understand the phrase, “conquering and to conquer?”
4. What do the scales represent (6:5-6)? What do you make of the phrase, “Do not damage the oil and the wine” (6:6)? At first glance, what do you think this means?
5. What did John see in 6:9? Why are the martyrs “underneath” the altar? Why were they slain? What question did these martyrs have on their mind (6:10)? What should our attitude be toward those who persecute us? Should we forgive and forget, or should we say, “Get ‘em, God!” What happens to those who are martyred (cf. Rev 3:5; 7:9, 14)?
6. How does the world you live in view Christians? Do they tend to look down on you because of your faith, respect you, or make fun of you? Have you ever been persecuted because of your faith in Christ? Do you find it easy to go public with your faith in God, or are you tempted to want to keep faith a secret?
7. On a percentage basis, how much of the pain you have experienced in life has been due to things within your control, and what percentage have been things outside of your control? Why does God allow His loved ones to be persecuted? Is all the pain in our lives God’s will? How would you respond if a skeptic asked you this question?
8. What six cosmic catastrophes do you note in 6:12-17? Which of these is particularly disturbing to you?
9. What groups of people constitute the seven classes of society (6:15)? Why does John include this list? What is the overarching principle in this verse?
10. What is the response of the earth-dwellers (6:16-17)? Is this response adequate? Why or why not?
In Focus Study Questions #14
1. What is significant about the phrase “after this” or “after these things” (7:1, 9, cf. 4:1, 7:1, 7:9, 15:5, 18:1, 19:1)? What purposes do angels fulfill (7:1-2)?
2. Why does God want to hurt the land and the sea (7:3)? Why does God want to hurt anyone or anything? During the tribulation does God punish everyone, or just the God-rejecting world?
3. Who are the “bond-servants” in 7:3-4? How does the Bible use the phrase “sons of Israel” (Gen 32:32; Exod 1:1; Lev 1:2; Num 1:2; Deut 3:18; Josh 1:2, et al)? It has often been noted that John’s list of the 12 tribes varies somewhat from the usual listing in the Old Testament. Why might this be?
4. Why were the 144,000 “sealed…on their foreheads” (cf. 7:3-4; 9:4)?
5. These 144,000 Jewish believers are mentioned also in Rev 9:4 and 14:1-5. In 14:4 they are referred to as “first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” What does this mean (cf. Jer 30-31; Rom 11:25-32)? Since all believers are gone when the tribulation begins, just how will the 144,000 be saved?
6. Verse 9 speaks of “a great multitude” dressed in white robes and waving palm branches. Who are these people (cf. 6:11)? What is the significance of “white” (cf. 1:14)? What about “palm branches” (cf. Lev 23:40; Neh 8:15-17; John 12:13)? What were they excited about? What is the activity of heaven? Does an endless worship service sound all that much fun to you?
7. In 7:11, the angels ascribe to God “blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and strength” (cf. Rev 5:12). Why do they rattle of seven attributes of God? Which of these is the most meaningful to you?
8. Verse 14 says the ones who have the white robes came out of the tribulation and were washed in the blood of lamb. Why is being “washed in the blood of the lamb” necessary? Why can’t you just get to heaven by being a good person? What would you say to a co-worker who said, “I have lived a pretty good life? I think God will let me in.” What exactly does it mean to be washed in the blood? Do you think most non-Christians understand this? What is the most likely way for them to come to understand that peace with God is all about accepting the fact that through the blood, God accepts us?
9. This chapter concludes in 7:15-17 with ten eternal blessings enjoyed by this great multitude. Can you list these ten blessings? Which blessing will you appreciate the most?
In Focus Study Questions #15
1. Why is there “silence in heaven for about half an hour” (8:1; cf. Hab 2:20; 3:3; Zeph 1:7-8, 15, 17-18; Zech 2:13?
2. What is so significant about “trumpets” (8:2; cf. Exod 19:16; 20:18; Isa 27:13; Jer 4:5; Joel 2:1; Zeph 1:16; Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thess 4:16)?
3. What does God enjoy about the prayers of the saints that (8:3-4; cf. Rev 5:8; cf. 2 Cor 2:14-16)?
4. Is there a connection between the prayers that go up and the judgment that comes down (8:5; cf. 6:9-11)?
5. What is the purpose in a judgment that involved hail (8:7; cf. Josh 10:11; Job 38:22-23; Ps 78:47; 105:32-33; 148:8), fire, and blood (Isa 9:5; Ezek 21:32; 38:22; Joel 2:30-31)? Hoe devastating is the damage?
6. Did the Old Testament prophets understand that the miracles of Egypt were to be repeated in the future (see Isa 10:22-25; 11:12-16; 30:30; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8; Ezek 38:22; 15; Amos 2:10; 4:10; 8:8-9; 9:5-7; Joel 2:30; Mic 7:15)?
7. Why do you think God judged the waters of this world so severely (8:8-11)?
8. How does Psalm 46:2-3 help you grapple with this passage?
9. Is there precedence for an animal speaking (8:13; 9:12; 10:14; cf. Gen 3:1-5; Num 22:28-30)?
In Focus Study Questions #16
1. What is the “bottomless pit” (9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 19:20; 20:1-3, 10; cf. Luke 8:31; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6)? Why is this section framed with the beings of the “bottomless pit” or “abyss” (9:1, 11)? Why is the angel “given” the key of the bottomless pit? What is God’s point?
2. Are these “locusts” insects or demons (9:3; cf. 9:11)?
3. How is God sovereignty revealed in 9:4-5? What can you learn from these verses?
4. How scary is 9:6 (cf. Job 3:21)? What can we learn from this verse?
5. Why does John spend five verses (9:7-11) describing the locusts? Which of the eight characteristics are especially notable? What can we learn from this section?
6. How is Satan revealed in 9:1-11? What have you learned about him?
7. Who are the “four angles” (9:14)? Are they good or bad? Why are they “bound?” What does this suggest (cf. Rev 20:1-3; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6)? Why does God bring up “the great river Euphrates” (cf. Gen 2:14)?
8. Is the army of 9:16 human or demonic? What do you base your argument upon?
9. Why are 9:20-21 two of the saddest in the entire Bible? How does 2 Thessalonians 2:11 parallel these verses?
In Focus Study Questions #17
1. Is 10:1-11 parenthetical or chronological? How does the emphasis temporarily shift in this chapter? What is the purpose of this?
2. Why does John include a four-fold description of the “strong angel” (10:1b)? What stands out to you in this description?
3. Has anyone else opened a “book” previously (10:2; cf. 5:1; 6:1)? Do you think the books are the same? Why or why not?
4. How does Psalm 2:6-8 shed light on 10:2b-3?
5. Why is John told to “seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them” (10:4; cf. Dan 12:4, 9)?
6. Why does the angel swear an oath (10:6)? What is the basis for the oath? Why is this important?
7. What is “the mystery of God” (10:7; cf. Dan 12:7a)?
8. Is there precedence for a man eating a book (10:9; cf. Jer 15:13-17; Ezek 2:8-10)? What does eating signify? What is God’s Word likened to in Scripture (Ps 119:103; Matt 4:4; 1 Cor 3:1-2; 1 Pet 2:2)?
9. Why is the book “bitter” and “sweet” (10:10-11)? How does this relate to the contents of God’s Word? Is the Bible a bittersweet book? If so, in what way is true? Why do we need a balance of both bitter and sweet?
In Focus Study Questions #18
1. Why do you think John was given a “measuring rod” to make various measurements (11:1; cf. 2 Sam 8:2; Ezek 40:3-42:20)? Who was the “someone” who spoke to John (cf. 11:3; cf. 10:9-11)? Why was John told to measure “those who worship” in the temple?
2. Why is John told not to measure “the court” (11:2)? Why was the court “given to the nations?” Why is the specific period “forty-two months” cited (cf. Dan 9:27)?
3. Who is speaking here (11:3; cf. 11:8)? Why are the Lord’s “two witnesses” mentioned at this point (11:3; cf. Deut 19:15)? What is their purpose? What is significant about a period of 1,260 days (cf. Dan 12:11)? Why are these witnesses clothed “in sackcloth?” How is “sackcloth used in the Scriptures (e.g., Isa 22:12; Jer 4:8; 6:26; Jonah 3:5, 6, 8; Matt 11:21)?
4. Where do the phrases “the two olive trees and the two lampstands” come from (11:4; cf. Zech 4:2-3, 11-14)? How do these “stand before the Lord of the earth?”
5. Why would anyone want to “harm” these two witnesses (11:5)? Is the fire that “flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies” literal or figurative? Why must the enemies of the two witnesses be “killed in this way?”
6. Who had “the power to shut up the sky” in the Scriptures (11:6)? Who had “power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague?” Why are these two witnesses given the freedom to perform these miraculous signs “as often as they desire?”
7. What is the “testimony” of the two witnesses (11:7)? Why is this particular word used? Why not prophesying or preaching? Who is “the beast that comes out of the abyss” (cf. Dan 7:21)? Why does this beast kill the two witnesses? How can the beast kill the witnesses when they are able to use such miraculous powers whenever they wish?
8. Why does God permit the dead bodies of His witnesses to “lie in the street” (11:8)? What “great city” is mystically called “Sodom and Egypt?” How are these two terms used elsewhere in the Scriptures? Where was Jesus crucified (cf. Jer 22:8)?
9. How are “the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations” able to look at the dead bodies of the two witnesses (11:9)? What must technology be like in these last days? Is this possible now? What is significant about the period of “three and a half days?”
10. Why do the earth-dwellers have a Christmas-like celebration (11:10)? Why are the two witnesses now called “two prophets?” How did they “torment[ed] those who dwell on the earth” (cf. 11:5)?
11. What was the purpose in the events of 11:7-10 (11:11)?
12. Why do some interpreters see 11:12 as a reference to the Rapture (cf. 2 Kgs 2:11; Acts 1:9; 1 Thess 4:17)? What is a “cloud” symbolic of in the Scriptures?
13. Why is there a “great earthquake” (11:13)? What do earthquakes represent in the book of Revelation? Why does only a tenth of the city (7,000 people) perish? What does this tell us about God’s character? Is the response of the people who were preserved sincere? Why or why not?
14. How is the term “woe” used previously (11:14; cf. 8:12; 9:13)?
15. What does “the seventh angel” bring about (11:15)? Is this verse suggesting that Jesus Christ is presently not reigning over “the kingdom of the world?” What is significant about this verse? What comfort do you find in the eternal reign of Christ?
16. Do you remember who the “twenty-four elders” are (11:16; cf. 4:4)? What are they doing in this context? Is this unusual behavior for them?
17. What is the natural response of these elders (11:17)? What does this mean for you?
18. How will Christ’s reign be initially exercised (11:18)?
19. Why does John draw our attention back to “the temple of God” (11:19)? Why does he mention “the ark of His covenant?” What is the meaning of lightning, thunder, earthquakes, and hailstorms (cf. 4:5; 8:5; 10:3; 16:18; Exod 19:16-19)?
In Focus Study Questions #19
1. Where does this “great sign” appear (12:1)? Who or what does the woman represent? What is significant about “the sun,” “the moon,” and “a crown of twelve stars?” Why is this woman about to give birth (12:2)? Is this literal or figurative? How do you know?
2. Who or what does the “great red dragon” represent (12:3; cf. 12:9)? What is significant about the “seven heads,” “ten horns,” and “seven diadems?”
3. Who or what do the “third of the stars of heaven” represent” (12:4)? Why did the dragon throw them to the earth? Why did the dragon seek to “devour” the woman’s child? What does that remind you of?
4. Who does this “male child” seem to represent (12:5)? Who will “rule all the nations with a rod of iron” and be “caught up to God and to His throne?”
5. Why did the woman flee “into the wilderness” (12:6)? What is significant about the period of 1260 days?
6. How can there be “war in heaven” (12:7)? Do you think the outcome of this war was ever really in question, or was it like a war game with the outcome determined and orchestrated before it began?
7. Who is Michael? What encouragement do you find in reading that the dragon and his angels “were not strong enough” to overcome Michael and his angles (12:8)? What does the following phrase suggest: “and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven?”
8. When did the events of 12:9 occur? Why is the great dragon called “the serpent of old?” Why does John refer to the dragon as both “the devil” and “Satan?” How does Satan “deceive[s] the whole world?”
9. How would you define the following: “the salvation, the power, the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ” (12:10)? What is Satan’s “bread and butter” skill (12:10b)? How has he adversely affected you and your family in this regard?
10. How is the devil described (12:10) Have you found this to be true of him? Has the devil ever accused you? Does God ever accuse, or is accusing always the devil’s work? What is the difference between the devil’s accusation and God’s conviction of sin? Do you know people who are big into accusing people? Would you say they are always working for the devil? What is so fun about accusing people of stuff?
11. How do you get over the feeling of being accused? How big of a problem is this for you? Is it a big problem, little problem, huge problem, or not a problem at all? What advice would you have for the person who said they just couldn’t get over this feeling of condemnation?
12. Who are the “they” who “overcame” Satan (12:11)? How did they do this? What can you learn from this?
13. How is the devil’s “great wrath” revealed on earth (12:12)? Why does Satan know that he only has “a short time?”
14. How and why did the dragon persecute the woman who gave birth to the male child (12:13)?
15. Who or what does “the great eagle” represent (12:14)? Why does the woman need to “fly into the wilderness to her place?” What is significant about the period “a time and times and half a time?”
16. Is the flood description of 12:15-16 literal or figurative? What is worth noting in these verses?
17. Why did the dragon become so “enraged with the woman” (12:17)? Who are “the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus?”
In Focus Study Questions #20
1. What is the relationship between “the dragon” and the “beast coming up out of the sea” (13:1-2)? What did this beast look like? How is his appearance similar to that of the dragon (cf. 12:1)? How much “power” and “authority” does the dragon have to give?
2. What does John mean when he writes, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed” (13:3)? How do the words “as if” (“like”) help you understand this sentence? Why is the whole earth “amazed?” Why do they follow after the beast?
3. Why does John repeat that the people “worshiped” the beast because the dragon “gave his authority to the beast” (13:4)?
4. Who gave the beast his “mouth” and his “authority to act” (13:5)? What is significant about the period of “forty-two months?”
5. What does it mean to “blaspheme against God” (13:6)? Why does the beast do this? How does it make you feel to hear people blaspheme God? What should your response be when you hear someone blaspheme God? What do you tend to do when you hear someone blaspheme God? Why would the beast blaspheme “those who dwell in heaven?” How should you respond when others blaspheme you (cf. Matt 5:10-12)?
6. Who gave the beast his “authority” (13:7)? Why was he able to “make war with the saints and to overcome them?”
7. How can John state that “all who dwell on the earth” will worship the beast (13:8)? Is this to be understood literally? If so, what must the world be like during this time? What one group of people will not worship the beast? What significant observations strike you when you read the phrase, “everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain?”
8. Do you remember hearing the phrase “If anyone has an ear, let him hear” (13:9)? Where have you heard this phrase before? Why are these words so important?
9. What does the following phrase mean “If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed” (13:10)? How does this relate to “the perseverance and the faith of the saints?” This passage pictures an intense time of persecution and spiritual conflict. How do you think you would react to such a time? How should you prepare yourself for such a time? Have you ever sensed yourself in the midst of a spiritual conflict? How did you react? What is the reward for enduring through a time of persecution and spiritual conflict? What is the punishment for those who cave in a time such as is described in this passage? How close is this description to how you think of the persecution in the day when John was writing?
10. John sees “another beast coming up out of the earth” (13:11)? Where did the first beast come from (cf. 13:1)? How is this beast from the earth different in appearance from the beast from the sea?
11. What is the primary purpose of this beast (13:12)? What is so significant about the first beast’s “fatal wound [that] was healed” (cf. 13:3)?
12. Why is calling “fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men” considered such a “great sign” (13:13)? Who else performed a similar sign (cf. 11:5)?
13. What is the beast seeking to do (13:14)? How is deception an overall part of Satan’s strategy? What examples can you give? What do 1 John 2:18-23 and 2 John 7 say about the Antichrist and antichrists?
14. What sin is committed in 13:14b? What takes place in 13:15?
15. What is “the mark” of the beast (13:16)? Where is it given? What does the mark symbolize (13:17)? How do you see this working out with modern electronics and systems of commerce?
In Focus Study Questions #21
1. Why is it significant that “the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion” (14:1)? Is this usage of “Mount Zion” referring to heaven or earth? Why are the “one hundred and forty-four thousand,” with the Lamb? Why do they have the names of the Father and Son “written on their foreheads?”
2. Who speaks or sings in 14:2 (cf. 14:6)? Why does John use three descriptions to explain the voice that he heard?
3. Why did they sing “a new song” (14:3)? Why could no one learn the song “except the one hundred and forty-four thousand?” How does this vision encourage or challenge you?
4. What does it mean that the 144,000 “have not been defiled with women” (14:4)? What does the word “chaste” mean? Do you think John is literally referring to celibates or symbolically referring to purity here (cf. 2 Cor 11:2)? Why? Does marriage cause defilement? How can these men “follow the Lamb wherever He goes?” In what sense are these men “first fruits to God and to the Lamb?” To what extent are you reserved for God (cf. 14:4 with Jas 1:18)?
5. Why does John point out “no lie was found in their mouth” (14:5)? How is this a characteristic or definition of being “blameless?” Could it be said of you, “in his/her mouth no lie was found?”
6. What is the “eternal gospel” (14:6)? Is this a call to salvation or judgment? How does the angel’s proclamation in 14:7 help you answer these questions? How would you summarize the contents of the angel’s message? Notice how the gospel relates to creation. Where do most atheists believe life came from? Why is the gospel the good news?
7. How does the second angel’s message coincide with the first angel’s message (14:8)? Who is “Babylon the great?” How was she able to have such power over the nations?
8. Why do three angels proclaim various messages (14:9)? Why does God frequently use angels as His messengers?
9. What are the consequences for receiving the mark of the beast (14:9-11)? What is receiving the mark emblematic of (14:9)? Does God exercise wrath and anger (14:10)? Why do these worshippers of the beast suffer “in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (14:10)? Is hell eternal (14:11)? Why do some Bible students argue that it is not? Contrast the eternal destiny of the wicked and the righteous (cf. 14:10-11 with Isa 34:8-10; 14:1-6, 13 with 7:15-17).
10. Why does John mention the topic of the “perseverance of the saints” at this juncture (14:12)? How is “perseverance” defined?
11. Who is speaking in 14:13 (cf. 14:15)? Why are believers who die from this point forward “blessed?” We read the first beatitude (blessing) in 1:3. Explain in your own words what you think the second beatitude means (14:13). What is the word “rest” a picture of? What is the value of their “deeds?”
12. What lessons for us do the four prophecies of 14:6-13 offer? What do you think is the meaning of each of these visions?
13. What is significant about “sitting on the cloud” (14:14)? Why is this character called “one like a son of man?” Is this an angel of Jesus? What does the “golden crown” and “sharp sickle” signify?
14. What does the “harvest of the earth” refer to (14:15)? How did the son of man reap this harvest (14:16)? How did the angels also participate in the reaping of the harvest (14:17-20)? How ripe do you think the earth is now?
15. What is going on in 14:19-20? Is this bloodbath to be understood literally? Why or why not?
In Focus Study Questions #22
1. Why is this particular sign called “great and marvelous” (15:1)? What does it mean that the “wrath of God is finished?”
2. What does the description “something like a sea of glass mixed with fire” point to (15:2)? What does the term “standing” represent? Why are they “holding harps of God?”
3. When did Israel sing the “song of Moses” (15:3)? What is the “song of the Lamb?” What is particularly meaningful to you about these songs (15:4)?
4. What is “the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven” (15:5)? Why is it “opened” at this specific time?
5. Why do you think these angels were in the temple (15:6)? Why are these clothed in stunning fashion? What does their attire signify?
6. Why does “one of the four living creatures” give away the seven bowls of wrath (15:7)? Why does John include the phrase that God “lives forever and ever?”
7. Why is the temple “filled with smoke” (15:8)? Why is no one able to enter the temple until the plagues are finished?
In Focus Study Questions #23
1. Who told the seven angels to pour out on the earth the seven bowls of wrath (16:1)?
2. What are these bowls of wrath reminiscent of (16:2-12)?
3. Why does the third angel worship the Lord (16:5)? How does this angel’s assessment make you feel? How does 16:6 help you to better understand God’s character?
4. How and why does the altar speak to the third angle (16:7)?
5. What future experience does 16:8 look to?
6. How does 16:9 epitomize the response of wicked men to God? Why does God demand “glory” from mankind?
7. Why do wicked people refuse to repent this side of eternity (16:11)? Do these people acknowledge God and repent of their deeds in hell? Why or why not? Read Philippians 2:6-11.
8. Is this a reference to the literal “Euphrates” River (16:12)? Who are the “kings from the east?”
9. Why does God allow the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet the power to perform signs (16:13)? What is the “war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (16:14; cf. 16:17)?
10. Why is 16:15 in parenthesis? What are the principles that you can derive from this verse? What does it mean to “keep one’s clothes?” How does this serve to avoid shame?
11. Where is “Har-Magedon” (16:17)? Why does this final world war take place here?
12. What is the phrase “It is done” reminiscent of (16:17)? Why does Har-Margedon conclude with lightning, thunder, and a great earthquake (16:18)? Where is the “great city” (16:19)? Why did the great city split into three parts? Who is “Babylon the great?” How severe was the earthquake (16:20)? Why do men continue to “blaspheme” God?
In Focus Study Questions #24
1. Do chapters 17 and 18 continue the chronological sequence of events? Why or why not? How does Rev 16:19 help you answer this question?
2. Who is the “great harlot who sits on many waters” (17:1)? How was she immoral (17:2)? How did she “make” people partake of her immorality?
3. Why was John carried away into “a wilderness” (17:3)? In other passages, who is described as a “woman?” Why is she “sitting on a scarlet beast?” What previous character had “blasphemous names” and “seven heads and ten horns?” Why is the woman “clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls” (17:4)? Why does this woman have a mysterious name written on her forehead (17:5)?
4. Who is “Babylon the great” (17:5)? Will this last day Babylon encompass different geographical locations or cities like Rome as well as a rebuilt Babylon on the Euphrates? In other words, will there be two literal cities? Or will it be the same city viewed in different ways under different circumstances?
5. What made John “wonder greatly” at the sight of the woman (17:6)?
6. Do you understand the angel’s explanation (17:7-18)? Who is “the beast” (17:7-8, 11)?
7. What are the “seven heads” (17:9-10)? The “seven heads” represent “seven mountains” (17:9). “Mountains” often have a figurative meaning in the Scripture (e.g., Jer 51:25). In this context, should these mountains be understood literally or figuratively?
8. What are the “ten horns” and what is their purpose (17:12-14)? Should the expression “one hour” (17:12) be understood literally or figuratively?
9. Who are the ones with the Lamb who are the “called and chosen and faithful” (17:14)? Does this refer to every believer or those characterized by faithfulness (cf. 2:10, 13; see also Matt 24:45; 25:21,23; Luke 12:42; 16:10-12)?
10. What does the “water” represent (17:15)? The “waters” where the harlot sits represents are “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (17:15). If this is to be understood figuratively, what does that imply about other facets of this passage?
11. What will the beast and the kings do to the harlot (17:16-17)?
12. Who is the “woman” (17:18)? “The woman” represents “the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (17:18). The term “the great city” was used earlier to refer to earthly Jerusalem (cf. 11:8). Why should it refer to Babylon on the banks of the Euphrates here?
13. What is the angel’s message in 18:1-3? Why is “Babylon the great” fallen (18:2-3)? How is Babylon describes is Isaiah 13:21f.; 35:11-15?
14. What is the warning in 18:4? What is the principle of this verse? What is a contemporary application?
15. What does it mean that has “remembered her iniquities” (18:5)? How do you explain God’s expression of vengeance in 18:6-7? What form does God’s judgment take (18:8)?
16. Why is there a three-fold mention (“one hour”) of Babylon’s quick judgment: (18:10, 17, 19)?
17. What does it mean that Babylon “will not be found any longer” (18:21)?
18. How were all the nations deceived by Babylon’s sorcery (18:23)?
19. Why does this passage close by again mentioning martyrdom (18:24)?
In Focus Study Questions #25
1. What does the phrase “after these things” refer back to (19:1)? How is this phrase used in Revelation (1:19; 4:1 [twice]; 7:9; 9:12; 15:5; 18:1; 20:3)? Why does a “great multitude in heaven” break out in praise (19:1-2)? How is the phrase a “great multitude” used in Revelation (7:9; 19:6)? How does John use the term “salvation” in Revelation (7:10; 12:10)? How does John use the term “glory” in Revelation (1:6; 4:9, 11; 5:12-13; 7:12; 11:13; 14:7; 15:8; 16:9; 18:1; 19:7; 21:11, 23-24, 26)? How does John use the term “power” in Revelation (1:16; 3:8; 4:11; 5:12; 7:12; 11:17; 12:10; 13:2; 15:8; 17:13; 18:3)?
2. What specific “judgments” is John referring to (19:2)? What Old Testament passage is he drawing from? Is there a distinction between “true” and “righteous?” Who is “the great harlot” (17:1, 15, 16)? How has God “avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her?” What Old Testament passage is John drawing from?
3. What is the significance of this second worship declaration (19:3)?
4. What are the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures doing (19:4)? How does their example bring about a universal command (19:5)?
5. What is the great multitude so excited about (19:6)? What is the “marriage of the Lamb” (19:7)? How does rejoicing and being glad have to do with worship? Is being glad in God the same as worship? Is worship a happy thing for you? Are worship and joy related? How has the bride “made herself ready” (19:7-8)? What is this about fine linen?
6. What is the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:9)? Who is the bride? Who is the groom? Is the invitation to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” for all believers? Why or why not? How does it feel to you to be Jesus’ bride? How do you feel about being the bride of Christ? Why is it important that we see ourselves as the bride of Christ?
7. Why did John attempt to worship this angel (19:10)? How does the angel respond? What does the following phrase mean: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy?”
8. Why does Jesus ride a horse (19:11; see Isa 63:13; Jer 12:5; 8:6)? In Revelation, what does the color white symbolize (see 20:11)?
9. Describe the appearance of the one riding on a white horse (19:11-17). How does this visual imagery of the coming of Christ make you feel? What difference does the hope of Christ coming make in our every day lives? How does this episode contrast sharply to that of Jesus’ first coming (Matt 21:5; cf. Zech 9:9)?
10. Who are “the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (19:14; cf. 17:14; 19:8)?
11. How is the “the great supper of God” (19:17) a terrible counterpart to “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:9; see also Luke 14:16-24)?
12. What happens to the beast and the false prophet (19:19-21)? Who did God originally prepare the lake of fire for (Matt 25:41)?
In Focus Study Questions #26
1. In 20:1, an unnamed angel manhandles Satan. What does this suggest? Is Satan Jesus’ equivalent or is his counterpart an angelic being (possibly the archangel Michael)? Where is “the abyss” (20:1; 9:1-3; 11:8; cf. Luke 8:31; 2 Pet 2:4)?
2. Why is Satan’s most popular name in Revelation “the dragon” (20:2; see also 12:3, 4, 7, 13, 16, 17; 13:2, 4, 11; 16:13)? What happens to the dragon? Is this “binding” literal? Note: Some hold that Mark 3:27 suggests that Satan was bound through the work of Christ on the cross. How would you respond to this in light of 20:2-3; 2 Cor 4:4; 1 Pet 5:8?
3. What is Satan’s most frequent ploy (20:3; cf. 12:9; 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:3, 8, 10)? How does Satan deceive you? Why is Satan not permanently bound or cast directly into the lake of fire? Why is it necessary for him to once again be released?
4. Who are the mysterious “they” that reign with Christ during this thousand-year reign (20:4; cf. 20:5; 1:18, 2:8; 13:14; John 11:25; Acts 1:3; 9:41)? Who are “the rest of the dead” that did not come to life until the end of the thousand years (20:5; cf. 20:12; John 5:28-29)?
5. What is the difference between the first and second resurrections (20:5-6)?
6. In 20:2-7, “thousand years” is used six times in connection with a number of chronologically interrelated events. Should this be understood literally or figuratively? Why? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each view?
7. Why does God release Satan from the Abyss (20:7)? Are there any reasons implied in the text or the whole of Scriptures? Satan is successful in his attempt to “deceive the nations.” What does this tell us about the nature of man?
8. How long have the Beast and the False Prophet been residents in the lake of fire (20:10)? What does this teach us about the duration of the lake of fire? Are individuals ever annihilated? What do the following Scriptures suggest (Matt 13:41-42; 8:12; 22:13; 25:30, 46; Mark 9:43-48)? In light of these passages, how should Matt 10:28 be properly understood?
9. Who is sitting on the “great white throne” (20:11; cf. John 5:22-23, 26-27)? What is significant about the adjectives “great” and “white?” What characteristic of God does this throne speak to? From your perspective, does it ever look like the throne is unoccupied-that life on planet earth is running recklessly out of control? When did God’s sovereignty became more than an abstract theological concept for you? When has God come through for you when life was a bit of a mess?
10. Who are the dead who are judged (20:12; 20:5; Dan 12:2)? How are the dead judged? Will there be different degrees of punishment in hell (cf. Matt 11:20-24). If so, what does this seem to be based upon (see Matt 10:14-15; 11:21-24; 12:36; Rev 20:13)?
11. Is there a difference between the great white throne judgment and the judgment seat of Christ? If so, what is the difference(s)?
In Focus Study Questions #27
1. Will we live in “heaven” forever (21:1)? Why or why not? Will the “new earth” be renovated or destroyed? What does it mean, “there is no longer any sea?” Is this a reference to literal bodies of water or nations and peoples?
2. Where does the “holy city, new Jerusalem” come from (22:2)? How is the word “bride” used in this context? How is it used elsewhere (cf. 19:7; 21:9; 22:17)?
3. What will it be like to have God “dwell” among us (21:3)? Why is this mentioned twice in this verse?
4. Why are there tears in heaven (21:4)? Do these tears have anything to do with the various judgments? What are the “first things” that “have passed away?”
5. What does the phrase “Behold, I am making all things new” mean (21:5)? What is this referring to?
6. How are the eight evil characteristics of 21:8 especially true of tribulation earth dwellers?
7. Why does John spend so much time detailing the dimensions of this city (21:12-17)? Why does he spill so much ink describing the various precious gems out of which the city is built (22:18-21)? How do these verses apply to your life?
8. Can you find the five blessed absences of heaven in 21:22-27? Why are these missing elements so important?
9. Who are “the nations” of 21:24-26? Why does 22:2 say “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations?” What does this mean?
10. What is the focus of 22:1-5? What is the purpose of the “river of the water of life” (22:1-2)?
11. How will man be able to see God’s face (22:4)?
12. John writes that saints will “reign forever and ever” (22:5)? Does this mean that God’s rule and reign goes on into eternity? If so, what will this be like (cf. Gen 1:26)?
In Focus Study Questions #28
1. How can these 16 verses be outlined or structured? Note: The translators of the NASB make eight different paragraph divisions.
2. Why is the Lord called “the God of the spirits of the prophets” (22:6)? What does John mean by thirsty? What does it mean to be spiritually thirsty? Would you describe yourself as spiritually thirsty? When have you been spiritually thirsty? What is the water of life? How do we drink from the water of life?
3. Why is the phrase “I am coming quickly” repeated three times in this section (22:7, 12, 20)? How is it that Jesus can say He is coming quickly? It has been 2000 years! Is this quick? How should this word be understood?
4. How does Revelation close as it began (22:7; 1:3; cf. 16:5)? Why is this warning and motivation so important?
5. Why does John begin speaking directly to the readers again (22:8-9; cf. 1:1, 4, 9)? Why does he fall down and worship another angel (cf. 19:10)? What does the command to “worship God” really mean? What or who are people tempted to worship today, besides God?
6. How is the command in 22:10 different from those in Daniel 8:26 and 12:4? Does God expect the book of Revelation to be understood? What does 22:10 suggest?
7. What in the world does 22:11 mean? What possible interpretations can you come up with?
8. Verse 12 says believers will be rewarded for what we have done. Isn’t this works theology? How can the tension between salvation and rewards be solved? What do you think we will be rewarded for? Does the hope of reward motivate you to serve God? Why or why not?
9. What does it mean to wash your robes (22:14)? Is this speaking of initial justification or ongoing confession?
10. Why is there a three-fold repetition of the word “come” in 22:17 (cf. Isa 55:1; John 7:37-39)?
11. What happens if we add to the book (22:18)? What if we take a way from the book? Do you know any religious groups that either add to or take away from the Bible?
12. What is the theme of the last words of the Bible (22:21-22; cf. 1:4)?
13. The practical application of Revelation can be summarized in five words: “Live in light of eternity.” What does it mean to “live in light of eternity?” How can we keep the reality of heaven clearly in our mind on a day-to-day basis? Can this be overdone? Can we be so heavenly minded we are not earthly good?
Related Topics: Eschatology (Things to Come)