The Revelation to St. John


The Revelation to St. John

A Devotional Outline

Prepared by: Rev. Dr. David Waggoner, Phd

December 2008


  • Endure
  • Overcome
  • Endure patiently
  • “I stand at the door and knock”
  • Going to the open door—The first vision of Heaven
  • Come!

Chapters 1-4

  1. The Prologue: Setting the Stage and the Vision of the Christ Pantocrator (“King of the Cosmos”); Christ commissions John to record what he will be shown.
  2. The first call to patient endurance: 1:9
  3. Letters to the Seven Churches:
    1. The commendation
    2. The reprimand
    3. “To him who overcomes”—A gift
  4. The first vision of Heaven: All the Heavenly Host worshiping God upon his throne

Chapters 5-9

  1. The Lamb looking as if it had been slain: The beginning of the end
  2. All Heaven worships the Lamb
  3. The Lamb is in control of history and unleashes the Eschaton on creation
  4. The Seven Angels wreak havoc on humanity, but despite the catastrophic plagues, those who do not worship the Lamb refuse to repent.

Chapters 10-12

  1. The Conflict escalates: the appearance of the Beast and the Dragon (who is Satan)
  2. Two witnesses are sent out on behalf of the Lamb to witness to the Truth of the Gospel
  3. The Beast appears and retaliates for the plagues by killing the witnesses
  4. God revives the witnesses and takes them into heaven; Some on earth believe and give glory to God
  5. The Woman appears, in labor with the Son of Man, and is chased by the Dragon (called Satan) trying to devour her newborn Son, but the earth, itself, helps rescue the woman
  6. The Dragon, enraged by his defeat, goes off to make war against the rest of her offspring

Chapters 13-16

  1. The Beast rules over the earth, forcing humanity to worship the Dragon and blaspheming against God. A second beast appears performing great and wondrous signs to deceive all upon the earth
  2. During this time of persecution, the Saints are called upon to have patient endurance and faithfulness (13:10b)
  3. The Lamb appears and sends out his angels to prepare for the final battle against the Dragon and the Beasts
  4. A second time, the Saints are called to patiently endure (14:12)
  5. The Son of Man declares it is time to begin the Final Harvest
  6. The Great Apocalyptic Battle begins—God’s great judgment is poured out over the earth; the stage is set for Armageddon
  7. The Saints are implored to be on alert: “Behold I come like a thief!” (16:15)

Chapters 17-19

  1. The Great Prostitute appears, drunk with the blood of the martyrs.  She is the mother of prostitutes and the abominations of the earth and her name is “Babylon”
  2. The Great Prostitute is killed by the Beast, despite her almost unlimited power, because God wills it to be so
  3. Hymn to the destruction of the Great Prostitute, Babylon
  4. The Heavenly Host rejoices over the death of Babylon, for the blood of the martyrs has been avenged.
  5. Christ Triumphant marches out to defeat the Beast and the Serpent

Chapters 20-22

  1. The vision of the End, how it will happen and the final defeat of Satan and the Beast
  2. The Righteous and the Martyrs are rewarded at the first resurrection, reigning with Christ for 1000 years
  3. The Final Judgment and the second resurrection
  4. The vision of the New Heaven and Earth
  5. The vision of the Magnificent New Jerusalem
  6. Eternal life in the presence of God and the Lamb for those who overcome
  7. The Great Invitation and the warnings

The “Revelation to John,” or the “Book of Revelation” (please note the word is “singular” not “plural”) is one of the most difficult books to read in the entire Bible.  Filled with images that are confusing, mysterious and frightening, many people have a hard time getting through its twenty-two chapters.  And even then, most of us are left perplexed at the images and signs that are unique to this work of “apocalyptic” literature.

Christians in every generation have scoured the text, certain they could interpret the symbols of the visions.  Christians in every generation have declared that they have deciphered the hidden meaning and could predict when the end would come.  They have all been wrong. And those who are today scouring the text, writing best-selling novels, using computers to look for hidden clues to the End are wrong, as well.

Our purpose is different.  We want to read Revelation as a devotional work, not to solve its mysteries but to find the lessons for our daily lives that God wants us to live by.  Those lessons are there, written in plain sight, requiring no deciphering.  And they are words of hope—hope for all Christians in all ages—words as meaningful to us today as they were to those who read John’s handwritten manuscript.

These are the words: endure, be patient, overcome, be faithful, and come! 

Christ Pantocrator. St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt. 6th Century, C.E. Image: InterCity Oz, Inc.

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