The book of Revelation teaches that either Christ bears our penalty or we do. Our natural state is a state of condemnation but that is a state we can, by various means, desire as preferable to a life in God. These chapters describe what the end of that ambition looks like. [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
The book of Revelation teaches that either Christ bears our penalty or we do. Our natural state is a state of condemnation but that is a state we can, by various means, desire as preferable to a life in God.
Read chapter 19 out loud in your group.
Q: How would you use this chapter to respond to people who say that God’s judgement cannot exist because good people would not be happy knowing about the on-going suffering of others?
Q: Why is God just in ultimately giving us what we want?
In Chapter 19, heaven prepares to invade earth (described in chapter 21) and this has military and political implications that the nations of the world are well aware of. No longer is God’s kingdom ‘not of this world’ (Jesus to Pilate in John 19:36) but God’s will is about to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We have encountered Jesus as the rider on the white horse before in 6:2 where his gospel went forth to conquer in the midst of the suffering of this world.
Q: Whose blood is Jesus covered with as he goes into battle in Chapter 19?
Q: What is the significance of the sword being in his mouth rather than his hand?
Q: Why are the armies of heaven imitating Jesus (verse 14) and what are they dressed for (vs 7 &8)?
Q: The preparation for a war is made but is a battle actually fought? Why?
Ironically there are two feasts in this chapter, that of the wedding guests and that of the birds of the air.
Q: What is symbolised by the slain remaining unburied for the birds to feast upon?
If chapter 19 rejoices over the end of temptation (Babylon), the end of the violence of the political/military system (the beast of the sea) and the end of false ideology (the false prophet/beast of the land) then chapter 20 deals with the source of evil himself: the Dragon.
See the notes in the aside, above, on interpreting the 1000-year reign of Christ in Chapter 20.
Q: Is it best to interpret the 1000 years literally or symbolically?
Q: From what you have already learnt from this book – what frustrates or binds Satan now?
The judgement scene depicts the victims of crime (murder) being placed as judges over their murderers and then reigning with Christ. This is called the first resurrection which has been interpreted as the resurrection of Jesus making possible an afterlife for God’s people even before the resurrection of their bodies in the second resurrection.
Q: Is the surrounded city in verse 9 a figure for God’s people (the church, the woman, the bride) or the literal Jerusalem (as some interpreters claim) or the new Jerusalem (21:2)?
Q: Who finally rescues God’s people?
Q: How would you use this chapter to respond to those who claim that the final judgement puts the powers of evil (and the people who have been seduced by them) to death – that they are annihilated and have no conscious experience of ongoing judgement?
Q: Why would we choose an eternity of sin rather than an eternity in God’s presence?
Revelation 19 & 20 – The end of time (talk outline)
Hell cannot exist…but…
The roar of heaven – the end of temptation
The wedding feast and the war
The feast of the birds – the end of violence, oppression and falsehood
The millennium reign of the martyrs
The frustration of Satan
The end of evil
There is nowhere to run