Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Outline of the Apocalypse

Present time to John, past time to us, and possibly foreshadowing the present:

Introduction and Letters

Chapter 1

John greets the 7 Churches and reassures all that we are a nation of kings and priests. Vision of Jesus who tells John to write what he sees.

Chapter 2-3

Letters to the Churches::
Messages from the Lord to seven churches in Asia Minor containing praise mixed with censure. The letters deal with problems of Judaism and persecution. He says he will deal with those "Jews who say they are Jews and are not" and encourages them to overcome and be steadfast. He says He will give "hidden manna" to those who overcome.

The Heavenly Vision and Liturgy

Chapter 4

The Throne Room:
24 elders with golden crowns sit the throne of God. 4 six-winged beasts (one each like a lion, calf, eagle and one with the face of a man), "full of eyes within," praise God with the Sanctus [Holy! Holy! Holy!] all day and night.

Chapter 5

The Heavenly Liturgy:
God has a book with 7 Seals, but no one is found worthy to break them until the Slain Lamb with 7 horns and seven eyes ("which are the 7 spirits of God") appears. He takes the book, and the 24 elders (each with harps and offering incense which is the prayers of the saints) and the 4 beasts praise Him. They praise him for having made them kings and priests. A multitude of angels appear, praising the Lamb.

Future time to John, past time to us, and possibly foreshadowing the present:

7 Seals and Trumpets

Chapter 6

Six of the Seals Opened:
First Seal --> White Horse: conquering
Second Seal --> Red Horse:power to take peace from earth
Third Seal --> Black Horse: rider holds balance in hands
Fourth Seal --> Pale Horse: ridden by Death and Hell
Fifth Seal --> the souls of the martyrs under the altar, crying for justice
Sixth Seal --> earthquake, blackened sun, moon as blood, stars fall from sky

Chapter 7

The 144,000:
4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth so they will no longer blow. An angel from the east asks their mercy until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. 12,000 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel are sealed. Then a great multitude of all kinds of various people who came out of the great tribulation carry palms and praise God.

Chapter 8

Opening of the Seventh Seal:
7 angels are given trumpets. An angel with a golden censer goes to the altar and offers the prayers of the saints. That angel takes fire from the altar, fills the censer with it, and throws it down to the earth bringing on earthquakes, thunder, and lightning.

Four Trumpets:
First Trumpet --> hail and fire
Second Trumpet --> mountain of fire thrown to earth, a third of the sea becomes blood
Third Trumpet --> the star named Wormwood poisons the waters
Fourth Trumpet --> 1/3 each of the sun, moon and stars are smitten

Chapter 9

Fifth and Sixth Trumpets:
Fifth Trumpet --> locusts from the bottomless pit to kill those without God's seal (the king of these locusts is named "Abaddon" in Hebrew, or "Apollyon" in Greek)
Sixth Trumpet --> 4 angels loosed from the River Euphrates to slay a 1/3 part of men

Chapter 10

The Angel of the Seven Thunders and the Little Book:
An angel clothed in cloud, adorned with a rainbow, cries out and seven thunders are heard. John was going to write down what the thunders said, but was told not to, but to seal them up. The angel swears that "there should be time no longer." When the seventh angel sounds, the "mystery of God will be finished." John takes a little book from the angel who tells him to eat it, that it will be sweet in the mouth but bitter in the belly.

Chapter 11

The Two Witnesses:
Two witnesses who are "the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before God" will testify and will then be killed by the beast from the bottomless pit; their dead bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days and people rejoice. These two witnesses will rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven as their enemies watch. Earthquakes happen, and the remnant gives glory to God.

The Seventh Trumpet:
The trumpet blows and voices praise God, saying that all the kingdoms of the world are His and Christ's.

The Ark of the Covenant:
The Ark is seen. Thunder and lightning and earthquakes! And then John sees ---

Interlude: The Cosmic Struggle Between Good and Evil

Chapter 12

The Woman:
--- a woman [Mary the Mother of Israel/Church, and a type for Israel/Church itself] "clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and crowned with 12 stars, is close to having a child. A dragon appears with 7 crowned heads and 10 horns, takes a 1/3 of the stars from the sky and casts them to earth. The woman "brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations." [Christ] She flees to the wilderness for 1,260 days. St. Michael kicks the dragon out of the heavens, who proceeds to persecute the woman. She is protected, though, "nourished for a time, and times, and half a time," and the Serpent goes to persecute the "remnant of her seed." [the People of God, Israel, the Church]

The Beasts, Mystery Bablyon/the Mother of Harlots

Chapter 13

Attributes of the beast from the sea:
7 heads; 10 crowned horns; has power and authority given to him by the dragon; is worshipped, blasphemous; deadly wound was healed. [Roman Empire]. This is the beast the whore rides (Revelation 17:7).

Attributes of the beast from the earth:
Two-horned, speaks like a dragon; has the power of the first beast; does wonders (mentions making fire come down from the heavens to the earth in the sight of men); deceptive and tells people to worship the beast; able to give life to the image of the beast; kills those who don't worship the beast; causes people to receive a mark on their hand or forehead without which they can't buy or sell; his number is 666. [Nero and other Roman Emperors]

Chapter 14

The 144,000:
The remnant are seen on Mt. Zion with the Lamb and are redeemed. One angel preaches. Then another announces Babylon is fallen. A third angel warns those who worship the beast. A voice tells John to reassure those who die in the Lord, that their works will follow them. One "like unto the Son of man" reaps the earth with his sickle; what is reaped is put into the "winepress of the wrath of God" which issues blood.

Chapter 15

Seven Angels with the Seven Vials:
He sees the remnant standing on a "sea of glass mingled with fire" holding harps and singing. The "temple of the tabernacle of the testimony" opens and the 7 angels come out. One of the 4 worshipping beasts give them each a vial containing a plague.

Chapter 16

The Pouring of the Vials:
1st Vial --> sore upon men with the mark of the beast
2nd Vial --> sea becomes as blood
3rd Vial --> rivers become as blood
4th Vial --> power given to sun to scorch men
5th Vial --> opened onto the seat of the beast; his kingdom is filled with darkness
6th Vial --> opened onto the Euphrates. Kings gathered at Armageddon.
7th Vial --> poured into the air. The great city divides into 3 parts, the cities of the nations fall.

Chapter 17

The Great Whore:
One of the angels who'd had the vials shows John the "great whore." Attributes of the Whore: sits on many waters; arrayed in purple and scarlet; bedecked in gold, stones and pearls; holds a cup of abominations; "Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" is written on her forehead; drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs.

The angel interpets:
The Seven Heads = seven mountains where the woman sits
10 horns = 10 kings who don't have kingdoms yet but get power "one hour with the beast." The kings have 1 mind and make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb overcomes. They will make the whore desolate.
The woman=the great city

Chapter 18

An angel implores:
An angel implores people to "come out of her" and talks about the mourning for the city that has fallen

Chapter 19

Rejoicing in Heaven:
The people in Heaven rejoice and praise God. They say that the marriage of the Lamb is come, "blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." The Heavens open and John sees a white horse ridden by one called "Faithful and True," who makes war in righteousness. He had eyes like flame, many crowns, and a name noone but He, Himself, knows, and is called "The Word of God." Out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which He rules nations. On His vesture is "King of Kings, Lord of Lords." Armies of those on white horses follow him. John sees the beast and earthly kings gather to war with him, and the beast and false prophet are thrown into a lake of fire.

Future time to John, present and future time to us:

The "Thousand Years"

Chapter 20

The Binding and Loosing of Satan:
An angel binds Satan for "a thousand years." John sees the souls of the martyrs reign with Christ for that millennium. Satan is then loosed "for a little season" and goes to deceive the nations, Gog and Magog, and they will do battle. Fire comes down from Heaven and devours them, and the Devil is cast into the lake of fire.

Last Judgement:
John then sees the dead stand before God and the opening of the books, including the Book of Life. All are judged according to their works.

Chapter 21

The New Jerusalem:
John sees the holy city come from Heaven, dressed as a bride. He hears a voice saying that the tabernacle of God is with men, God will wipe away all tears. God says He makes all things new and that all who overcome will inherit all things. One of the angels who'd had a vial shows John the Bride, the Lamb's wife: John sees the glorious city, its 12 pearly gates, foundations made of jewels, etc.

Chapter 22

The Tree of Life:
John sees a river, a street, and the tree of life bearing 12 different fruits. John starts to worship the angel but is told not to, and is told to reveal what he's been shown. He hears "I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according to his works shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." The Book ends with these last two verses: "He which testifieth these things saith, 'Surely I come quickly.' Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

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