Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 213

Revelation 13–18

Bible text(s)

The Two Beasts

1Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads; on each of its horns there was a crown, and on each of its heads there was a name that was insulting to God. 2The beast looked like a leopard, with feet like a bear's feet and a mouth like a lion's mouth. The dragon gave the beast his own power, his throne, and his vast authority. 3One of the heads of the beast seemed to have been fatally wounded, but the wound had healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. 4Everyone worshipped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast. They worshipped the beast also, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?”

5The beast was allowed to make proud claims which were insulting to God, and it was permitted to have authority for 42 months. 6It began to curse God, his name, the place where he lives, and all those who live in heaven. 7It was allowed to fight against God's people and to defeat them, and it was given authority over every tribe, nation, language, and race. 8All people living on earth will worship it, except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to the Lamb that was killed.

9“Listen, then, if you have ears! 10Whoever is meant to be captured will surely be captured; whoever is meant to be killed by the sword will surely be killed by the sword. This calls for endurance and faith on the part of God's people.”

11Then I saw another beast, which came up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb's horns, and it spoke like a dragon. 12It used the vast authority of the first beast in its presence. It forced the earth and all who live on it to worship the first beast, whose wound had healed. 13This second beast performed great miracles; it made fire come down out of heaven to earth in the sight of everyone. 14And it deceived all the people living on earth by means of the miracles which it was allowed to perform in the presence of the first beast. The beast told them to build an image in honour of the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15The second beast was allowed to breathe life into the image of the first beast, so that the image could talk and put to death all those who would not worship it. 16The beast forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, slave and free, to have a mark placed on their right hands or on their foreheads. 17No one could buy or sell without having this mark, that is, the beast's name or the number that stands for the name.

18This calls for wisdom. Whoever is intelligent can work out the meaning of the number of the beast, because the number stands for a human name. Its number is 666.

Revelation 13GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Lamb and his People

1Then I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion; with him were 144,000 people who have his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven that sounded like a roaring waterfall, like a loud peal of thunder. It sounded like the music made by musicians playing their harps. 3The 144,000 people stood before the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders; they were singing a new song, which only they could learn. They are the only ones who have been redeemed. 4They are the men who have kept themselves pure by not having sexual relations with women; they are virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from the rest of the human race and are the first ones to be offered to God and to the Lamb. 5They have never been known to tell lies; they are faultless.

The Three Angels

6Then I saw another angel flying high in the air, with an eternal message of Good News to announce to the peoples of the earth, to every race, tribe, language, and nation. 7He said in a loud voice, “Honour God and praise his greatness! For the time has come for him to judge. Worship him who made heaven, earth, sea, and the springs of water!”

8A second angel followed the first one, saying, “She has fallen! Great Babylon has fallen! She made all peoples drink her wine — the strong wine of her immoral lust!”

9A third angel followed the first two, saying in a loud voice, “Whoever worships the beast and its image and receives the mark on their forehead or on their hand 10will themselves drink God's wine, the wine of his fury, which he has poured at full strength into the cup of his anger! All who do this will be tormented in fire and sulphur before the holy angels and the Lamb. 11The smoke of the fire that torments them goes up for ever and ever. There is no relief day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, for anyone who has the mark of its name.”

12This calls for endurance on the part of God's people, those who obey God's commandments and are faithful to Jesus.

13Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: happy are those who from now on die in the service of the Lord!”

“Yes indeed!” answers the Spirit. “They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.”

The Harvest of the Earth

14Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was what looked like a human being, with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15Then another angel came out from the temple and cried out in a loud voice to the one who was sitting on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, because the time has come; the earth is ripe for the harvest!” 16Then the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth's harvest was reaped.

17Then I saw another angel come out of the temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.

18Then another angel, who is in charge of the fire, came from the altar. He shouted in a loud voice to the angel who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sickle, and cut the grapes from the vineyard of the earth, because the grapes are ripe!” 19So the angel swung his sickle on the earth, cut the grapes from the vine, and threw them into the winepress of God's furious anger. 20The grapes were squeezed out in the winepress outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress in a flood 300 kilometres long and nearly two metres deep.

Revelation 14GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Angels with the Last Plagues

1Then I saw in the sky another mysterious sight, great and amazing. There were seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last ones, because they are the final expression of God's anger.

2Then I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. I also saw those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and over the one whose name is represented by a number. They were standing by the sea of glass, holding harps that God had given them 3and singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Lord God Almighty,

how great and wonderful are your deeds!

King of the nations,

how right and true are your ways!

4Who will not stand in awe of you, Lord?

Who will refuse to declare your greatness?

You alone are holy.

All the nations will come

and worship you,

because your just actions are seen by all.”

5After this I saw the temple in heaven open, with the Sacred Tent in it. 6The seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, dressed in clean shining linen and with gold belts tied around their chests. 7Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls full of the anger of God, who lives for ever and ever. 8The temple was filled with smoke from the glory and power of God, and no one could go into the temple until the seven plagues brought by the seven angels had come to an end.

Revelation 15GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Bowls of God's Anger

1Then I heard a loud voice speaking from the temple to the seven angels: “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God's anger on the earth!”

2The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Terrible and painful sores appeared on those who had the mark of the beast and on those who had worshipped its image.

3Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. The water became like the blood of a dead person, and every living creature in the sea died.

4Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and the springs of water, and they turned into blood. 5I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “The judgements you have made are just, O Holy One, you who are and who were! 6They poured out the blood of God's people and of the prophets, and so you have given them blood to drink. They are getting what they deserve!” 7Then I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Lord God Almighty! True and just indeed are your judgements!”

8Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to burn people with its fiery heat. 9They were burnt by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God, who has authority over these plagues. But they would not turn from their sins and praise his greatness.

10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast. Darkness fell over the beast's kingdom, and people bit their tongues because of their pain, 11and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not turn from their evil ways.

12Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates. The river dried up, to provide a way for the kings who come from the east. 13Then I saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs. They were coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, and the mouth of the false prophet. 14They are the spirits of demons that perform miracles. These three spirits go out to all the kings of the world, to bring them together for the battle on the great Day of Almighty God.

15“Listen! I am coming like a thief! Happy is he who stays awake and guards his clothes, so that he will not walk around naked and be ashamed in public!”

16Then the spirits brought the kings together in the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

17Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl in the air. A loud voice came from the throne in the temple, saying, “It is done!” 18There were flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder, and a terrible earthquake. There has never been such an earthquake since the creation of the human race; this was the worst earthquake of all! 19The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of all countries were destroyed. God remembered great Babylon and made her drink the wine from his cup — the wine of his furious anger. 20All the islands disappeared, all the mountains vanished. 21Huge hailstones, each weighing as much as fifty kilogrammes, fell from the sky on people, who cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because it was such a terrible plague.

Revelation 16GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Famous Prostitute

1Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came to me and said, “Come, and I will show you how the famous prostitute is to be punished, that great city that is built near many rivers. 2The kings of the earth practised sexual immorality with her, and the people of the world became drunk from drinking the wine of her immorality.”

3The Spirit took control of me, and the angel carried me to a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a red beast that had names insulting to God written all over it; the beast had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and covered with gold ornaments, precious stones, and pearls. In her hand she held a gold cup full of obscene and filthy things, the result of her immorality. 5On her forehead was written a name that has a secret meaning: “Great Babylon, the mother of all the prostitutes and perverts in the world.” 6And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God's people and the blood of those who were killed because they had been loyal to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was completely amazed. 7“Why are you amazed?” the angel asked me. “I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the beast with seven heads and ten horns. 8That beast was once alive, but lives no longer; it is about to come up from the abyss and will go off to be destroyed. The people living on earth whose names have not been written before the creation of the world in the book of the living, will all be amazed as they look at the beast. It was once alive; now it no longer lives, but it will reappear.

9“This calls for wisdom and understanding. The seven heads are seven hills, on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings: 10five of them have fallen, one still rules, and the other one has not yet come; when he comes, he must rule only a little while. 11And the beast that was once alive, but lives no longer, is itself an eighth king who is one of the seven and is going off to be destroyed.

12“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet begun to rule, but who will be given authority to rule as kings for one hour with the beast. 13These ten all have the same purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14They will fight against the Lamb; but the Lamb, together with his called, chosen, and faithful followers, will defeat them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.”

15The angel also said to me, “The waters you saw, on which the prostitute is sitting, are nations, peoples, races, and languages. 16The ten horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute; they will take away everything she has and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and destroy her with fire. 17For God has placed in their hearts the will to carry out his purpose by acting together and giving the beast their power to rule until God's words come true.

18“The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

Revelation 17GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Fall of Babylon

1After this I saw another angel coming down out of heaven. He had great authority, and his splendour brightened the whole earth. 2He cried out in a loud voice: “She has fallen! Great Babylon has fallen! She is now haunted by demons and unclean spirits; all kinds of filthy and hateful birds live in her. 3For all the nations have drunk her wine — the strong wine of her immoral lust. The kings of the earth practised sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the world grew rich from her unrestrained lust.”

4Then I heard another voice from heaven, saying:

“Come out, my people! Come out from her!

You must not take part in her sins;

you must not share in her punishment!

5For her sins are piled up as high as heaven,

and God remembers her wicked ways.

6Treat her exactly as she has treated you;

pay her back double for all she has done.

Fill her cup with a drink twice as strong

as the drink she prepared for you.

7Give her as much suffering and grief

as the glory and luxury she gave herself.

For she keeps telling herself:

‘Here I sit, a queen!

I am no widow,

I will never know grief!’

8Because of this, in one day she will be struck with plagues —

disease, grief, and famine.

And she will be burnt with fire,

because the Lord God, who judges her, is mighty.”

9The kings of the earth who took part in her immorality and lust will cry and weep over the city when they see the smoke from the flames that consume her. 10They stand a long way off, because they are afraid of sharing in her suffering. They say, “How terrible! How awful! This great and mighty city Babylon! In just one hour you have been punished!”

11The merchants of the earth also cry and mourn for her, because no one buys their goods any longer; 12no one buys their gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; their goods of linen, purple cloth, silk, and scarlet cloth; all kinds of rare woods and all kinds of objects made of ivory and of expensive wood, of bronze, iron, and marble; 13and cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and carriages, slaves, and even human lives. 14The merchants say to her, “All the good things you longed to own have disappeared, and all your wealth and glamour are gone, and you will never find them again!” 15The merchants, who became rich from doing business in that city, will stand a long way off, because they are afraid of sharing in her suffering. They will cry and mourn, 16and say, “How terrible! How awful for the great city! She used to dress herself in linen, purple, and scarlet, and cover herself with gold ornaments, precious stones, and pearls! 17And in one hour she has lost all this wealth!”

All the ships' captains and passengers, the sailors and all others who earn their living on the sea, stood a long way off, 18and cried out as they saw the smoke from the flames that consumed her: “There never has been another city like this great city!” 19They threw dust on their heads, they cried and mourned, saying, “How terrible! How awful for the great city! She is the city where all who have ships sailing the seas became rich on her wealth! And in one hour she has lost everything!”

20Be glad, heaven, because of her destruction! Be glad, God's people and the apostles and prophets! For God has condemned her for what she did to you!

21Then a mighty angel picked up a stone the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “This is how the great city Babylon will be violently thrown down and will never be seen again. 22The music of harps and of human voices, of players of the flute and the trumpet, will never be heard in you again! No workman in any trade will ever be found in you again; and the sound of the millstone will be heard no more! 23Never again will the light of a lamp be seen in you; no more will the voices of brides and grooms be heard in you. Your merchants were the most powerful in all the world, and with your false magic you deceived all the peoples of the world!”

24Babylon was punished because the blood of prophets and of God's people was found in the city; yes, the blood of all those who have been killed on earth.

Revelation 18GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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