A. Ralph Johnson


By John, “beloved,” brother of James (“Sons of Thunder”), about 95 AD

Written from the Island of Patmos.

Key word: "seven" (7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls)

Note: Many of the symbols are from Ezekiel and Daniel.

Seven blessings: Rev. 1:3; 14:13 ; 16:15 ; 19:9 ; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14




22ch(3) See notes ViewsHistory; Explained (brief)

1: Introduction


1.        Title and design of the book (1:1-3)

2.        John’s greeting to the seven churches in Asia. (1:4-8)


PART I: THE VISION JOHN HAD SEEN. (cf. 19, 2, 12, 17)

John, in the Spirit on the Island of Patmos, heard a voice like a trumpet telling him to write to the seven churches in Asia.(1:9-11)

1.        He turns and sees seven golden lamp-stands (1:12).

These represent the seven churches in Asia –now Turkey (1:20)

2.        He sees one like the son of man, clothed down to the foot, having a golden girdle, hair white as wool, eyes as flame of fire, feet like burnished brass, and a voice like many waters. (1:13-15; cf. Dan. 10:5-6)

a.        He has seven stars in His right hand. (1:16)

These are messengers to the churches (1:20)

b.       A sharp two-edged sword comes out of His mouth. (1:16; cf. Heb. 4:12)

c.        His countenance shines like the sun. (1:16)

3.        He lays His hand on John: “I was dead but am alive...”(1:17-18)

4.        He has the keys of Death and Hades. (1:18)

5.        He commands John to “write” the things he had seen, the things that are, and the things that are to come (1:19)


2: Four Churches

PART II: THE THINGS WHICH ARE (chapters 2 & 3  cf. 1:19)

Things he says to the seven churches.

I know thy works”  (2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15)

He that overcomes…” (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:5, 13, 22)

  1. Ephesus:  A loveless church. (2:1-7)

She had tried the false-apostles and hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans but had left her “first love.” “Repent”

  1. Smyrna:  Poor, suffering church. (2:8-11)

Persecuted and poor but rich towards God. “Be faithful unto death

  1. Pergamum:  A corrupt church. (2:12-17)

They had not denied the faith but they had some there holding the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. “Repent”

  1. Thyatira:  A church of false teaching. (2:18-29)

Their works had been increased but they allowed “Jezebel” to teach.

Her followers must “repent.” Others told to “Hold fast till I come

3: Three Churches

  1. Sardis:  A dead church. (3:1-6)

No works perfected in spite of their good reputation.  Some had not defiled their garments. “Be watchful” “Repent”

  1. Philadelphia: (“Brotherly love”) A faithful church. (3:7-13)

They had a little power and did not deny his name. 

He set them an open door. “Hold fast that no one takes your crown

  1. Laodicea:  A lukewarm church (3:14-22)

They boasted of their riches and that they had need of nothing but they were lukewarm, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.  He was sick of them and ready to spew them out of his mouth. “Repent”


4: Throne

PART III:  THINGS TO COME TO PASS HEREAFTER (4:1. cf. 1:19; 1:1shortly”)




INTRODUCTORY VISION: John called up to heaven.

Throne Scene.  One on a throne surrounded by 24 elders on thrones; seven lamps before the throne; four living creatures round about; (cf. Ezek 1:5) a book with seven seals; a lamb standing in the midst.

5: Lamb

Who is worthy to open the seals?” = The lamb that was slain.

6: Seals

1st SEAL: “White horse” rider has bow, crown and conquers. (6:1-2; cf. Zec. 1:8)

2nd SEAL: “Red  horse,” sword, takes away peace, slay one another.(6:3-4)

3rd SEAL: “Black horse,” scales, “a measure wheat for a shilling” (6:5-6)

4th SEAL: “Pale horse,” Death, Hades, sword, famine, plague, beasts (6:7-8)

5th SEAL: Souls slain for the word, white robes, told to “wait” (6:9-11)

6th SEAL: Convulsions in heaven and earth, men hide from wrath (6:12-17)


7: 144,000

INTERMEDIATE VISION: Sealing of God's servants before the winds of destruction come.

      a. 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel sealed (7:4-8)

      b. Uncountable multitude of all nations sealed (7:9-17)


8: Four Trumpets

7th Seal = SEVEN TRUMPETS Sounded by seven angels (8:1--11:18)

INTRODUCTORY VISION: Incense, prayers, fire cast upon earth. (8:1-6)

1st   TRUMP: Hail, fire and blood. 1/3 earth, trees, grass burned up (8:7).

2nd TRUMP: Burning mountain cast into the sea. 1/3 sea becomes blood and 1/3 of creatures die. 1/3 of ships destroyed. (8:8-9)

3rd TRUMP: 1/3 Rivers & fountains made bitter by star (“Wormwood”) falls on the rivers and waters and they become bitter (8:10-11)

4th TRUMP: 1/3 sun, moon and stars darkened for 1/3 of the time (8:12)


Eagle crying “WOE, WOE, WOE” concerning the three last angels to sound. (8:13)


9: Two Trumpets

5th TRUMP: (1st “Woe) Darkness caused by fallen star opening the pit and releasing smoke from which locusts, like horses, led by Abaddon (“destroyer”), come to torment men.(9:1-11)

 6th TRUMP: (2nd “Woe) Four angels loosed at Euphrates [cf. Rev. 16:12]. 1/3 of men killed with three plagues (fire, smoke & brimstone). (9:12-21)


10: Little Book


a.    Angel with little book utters seven thunders (10:1-7)

John eats the book. It tastes sweet but stomach bitter (10:8-11 cf. Ezek 3:1-3)

11: Last Trump

b.    Measuring the temple and altar, but not outer court (11:1-2)

c.   “Two witnesses” prophesy in sackcloth 1,260 days. (11:3-6; cf. Zech. 4:3, 11-14)

Beast from the abyss (cf. 17:8) kills them. (11:7-10)

They are raised and ascend into heaven after “3 ˝ days.” (11:1-12)

Earthquake kills 7,000 men and others glorify God. (11:13)


7th TRUMP: (3rd “Woe”)

-Kingdom of this world becomes kingdom of  the Lord  (11:14-17; cf. 10:7)

-Dead judged (11:18a; cf. 20:12-13)

-Righteous rewarded. (11:18b)

-Wicked destroyed. (11:18c; 20:15)

-Vision of the temple in Heaven (11:19; cf. chap. 21:2-3, 10—22:2)


12: Dragon




  1. Dragon with seven heads and ten horns (12:1--17)

1.        A sign in heaven”: (12:1-4)

a.        Woman arrayed with sun; moon under feet; crown of twelve stars, pregnant with a man child who will rule all nations with a rod of iron (12:1-2)

b.       Red Dragon with seven heads, ten horns, seven crowns, tail draws 1/3 of stars and casts them to earth tries to devour Him. (12:3-4)

2.        Man-child is born and caught up to his throne.(12:5)

3.        Woman protected in the wilderness for “1260 days” (12:6)

4.        War in heaven:

Dragon and his angels fight with Michael and his angels (12:7).

5.        The dragon, who is the devil and Satan, defeated and cast out.(12:8-12)

6.        Dragon persecutes the woman.(12:13)

7.        Woman flees into wilderness, protected “3 ˝ years” (12:6, 14)

8.        Dragon sends flood to drown her but earth swallows it up.(12:15-16)

9.        Dragon goes away to make war with her children.(12:17)


13: Two Beasts

  1. Beast with seven heads and ten horns (13:1-10)

1.        Described: (13:1-2) Comes up from sea (13:1) (cf. Dan. 7:2-3)

Seven heads with names of blasphemy, ten horns, ten crowns.  (cf. Dan. 7:7, 24). Like a Leopard, feet like bear, mouth like lion. (cf. Dan. 7:4-6, 17)

2.        Dragon gives him his power, throne and authority. (13:2)

3.        One head wounded to death but healed, men  marvel after him (13:3)

4.        Dragon and beast worshipped (13:4)

5.        Beast's mouth speaks blasphemies (13:5-6 cf. Dan. 7:8, 20, 25)

6.        Beast continues 42 months-1260 days. (13:5; cf. Dan. 7:25)

7.        Beast wars with the saints and overcomes them. He has authority over every tribe and people and nation.(13:7-8; cf. Dan. 7:7, 19, 23, 25)


  1. Beast with two horns (13:11-18) also called “The False Prophet” (19:20)

1.        Description: Two horns like lamb but speaks like dragon.(13:11)

2.        Exercises all authority of first beast “in his sight.”(13:12a; cf. 19:20)

3.        Makes the earth to worship the first beast.(13:12b)

4.        Does great signs in sight of Beast and deceives men.(13:13-14a)

5.        Makes image of Beast and gives it life.(13:14b-15)

6.    Causes all to receive number of a man's name (666) (13:16-18)


14: Reaping Angels


  1. Reaping angels

INTRODUCTORY VISION: 144,000 with on Mount Zion with harps sing a new song (14:1-5 cf. 7:4)

      1st  ANGEL: Proclaiming the eternal good tidings,

The hour of Judgment is come” (14:6-7)

      2nd ANGEL: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great.”(14:8)

      3rd ANGEL: Warning of eternal torment for worshippers of Beast. (14:9-12)



Blessed are those who die in the Lord henceforth (14:13)

One like the son of man on a cloud with a sickle. (14:14)


4th ANGEL: Cries to him on the cloud, “Send forth thy sickle and reap for the hour of reaping is come.” Earth reaped. (14:15-16)

5th ANGEL: Comes out  of  temple  in heaven with sharp sickle.(14:17)

6th ANGEL: From the altar, having power over fire. 

Calls to 5th angel: “Send forth  thy  sickle and reap; for the grapes are fully ripe.”(14:18)

Sickle is cast and grapes are cast into winepress of God's wrath. Blood flows to the horses' bridles. (14:19, 20)


15: Plagues

  1. Seven angels with seven last plagues (15:1)



-Seven angels with seven last plagues (15:1)

-Those victorious over the Beast sing song of Moses and the Lamb (15:2-4)

-Seven angels with last plagues come out of temple and are given bowls full of wrath of God. (15:5-7)

-Temple filled with smoke so none may enter until plagues end. (15:8)


16: Bowls

1st BOWL: Poured upon earth. Sore upon those with mark of Beast (16:2)


2nd BOWL: Into the sea, became blood, everything in the sea died (16:3)


3rd BOWL: Upon rivers and fountains, became blood (16:4-7)


4th BOWL: Upon the sun, scorch men with fire (16:8-9)


5th BOWL: Throne of Beast darkened, gnaw tongues in pain (16:10-11)


6th BOWL: Euphrates [cf. Rev. 9:14] dried up for kings coming from the sunrising. Three unclean spirits from mouths of Dragon, Beast and False prophet gather men together unto the war of Armageddon (16:12-16)

7th BOWL: Poured Upon the air. “It is done.” Lightning, voices, thunders, earthquake.

The “great city” divided into three parts. Cities of nations fall.

Babylon remembered with wrath. Plague of great hail.(16:17-21)


17: Explanation

  1. Babylon the Great and Beast  that carries her, explained (17:1-18)

1.        Harlot “Babylon” (17:1, 5).  = “Great City that reigns over kings of the earth” (17:18)

2.        Sits on many waters (17:1)    =  Peoples, multitudes, nations, tongues

3.        Mother of Harlots.” (17:5)

4.        Kings committed fornication (17:2)

5.        Drunken with blood of the saints (17:6)

6.        In the wilderness  (17:3)

7.        Rides on scarlet colored beast (17:3) = eighth king  (17:11)

a.        Was, is not, shall come (17:8, 11).  = is of the seven (17:11)

                                                                    (17:11)  = goes into destruction

b.       Full of names of blasphemy (17:3)

c.        Seven heads (17:3) = Seven mountains the city sits on (17:9)

                                       =  They are also, seven kings (17:10 ).

                                    -Five fallen (17:10)

                                    -One is (17:10)

                                     -Another to come for short time (17:10)

d.        Ten horns       =  Ten kings to come (17:12)

-Reign with Beast (17:12)

-Give power to the Beast (17:13)

-Make war against the lamb (17:14)

-Hate the harlot and burn her with fire (16


18: Fallen

  1. Babylon is fallen

1.        Angel with power and light proclaims Babylon's fall (18:1-3)

2.        Voice: “Come out of her, my people.” (18:4-5)

3.        Greatness and violence of her destruction. (18:6-24)

19: Word of God

4.        Exultation of much people over her fall. (19:1-3)

-Twenty-four elders and the four beasts in heaven praise God (19:4)

-Voice out of the throne calls for praise of God (19:5)

-Voice of a multitude calls for rejoicing (19:6-10)

The marriage of the Lamb is come.”  “The bride is made ready.” “Blessed are those bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”


  1. Victory over the Beast and False prophet (19:11-21)

1.        White horse carrying “THE WORD OF GOD.” (19:11-13)

2.        Armies of heaven follow upon white horses. (19:14)

3.        Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword to smite the nations. (19:15a)

4.        Rules with rod of iron. Treads wine press of wrath of God. (19:15b)

5.        Name: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” on his thigh. (19:16)

6.        Angel invites birds to supper of God to feast on the dead. (19:17-18)

7.        Beast and False prophet (13:12-14) cast into lake of fire (19:19-20)

8.        Kings and armies killed with sword and eaten by birds (19:21)


20: Millennium

  1. Victory over the Dragon (20:1-10)

1.        Dragon bound and cast into abyss. Sealed for 1,000 yrs. (20:1-3)

Not able to “deceive the nations

2.        First resurrection.” Souls beheaded for Jesus, sit on thrones and reign for 1,000 years.  Rest of dead live not until after that (20:4-6)

3.        Dragon loosed from prison. Deceives the nations a little season (20:7-8a)

4.        Nations in four corners of earth, Gog and Magog gathered to war. (20:8; cf. Ezek. 38:2, 14-23; chap. 39)

5.        Camp of the Saints compassed about. (20:9a)

6.        Fire out of heaven devours their enemies.(20:9b)

7.        Dragon cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, tormented (20:10)


III.                 FINAL JUDGMENT

  1. The Great Judgment (20:11-15)

1.        One sitting on a great white throne. (20:11; cf. Mat 25:31)

2.        Earth and heaven flee away (20: 11; cf. 2Pet. 3:7, 10, 12-13; Mat. 24:30)

3.        Dead stand before the throne (20:12-13)

4.        Books opened and men judged out of them (20:12; cf. Dan. 7:10)

5.        Book of life opened (20:12; 3:5; 13:8; 22:19 ; Ex. 32:33)

6.        Death and Hades give up dead and are cast into lake of fire (20:14)

7.        Any not written in the book of life cast into lake of fire (20:15)

21: New Jerusalem

  1. New heaven and earth (21:1--22:5)

1.        New heaven and earth. First heaven, earth, and sea are no more (21:1)

2.        New Jerusalem comes down from heaven as a bride (21:2-8)

3.        New Jerusalem--it's beauty and purity (21:9-27)


4.        Throne of God and Lamb with river and tree of life (22:1-5)



  1. These words are true and faithful” (22:6-7)
  2. The effect of the revelation upon John (22:8-9)
  3. Command not to seal up the words of prophecy (22:10)
  4. Unchanging state of righteous and wicked in future (22:11)
  5. Warning to be prepared for Jesus’ coming (22:12-15)
  6. Jesus is author of this revelation (22:16)
  7. Invitation to come and drink of the water of life (22:17)
  8. Warnings against additions or subtractions to the book (22:18-19)
  9. Final assurance of His coming (22:20)
  10. Benediction (22:21)