This is the longest section of the book of Revelation. It describes the visions of John regarding a series of catastrophic events that God would use to judge the earth before the end of the age and the triumphant second coming of Christ.
Seven seals (6:1-8:5). Jesus the Lamb removed the seven wax seals from the scroll that God gave Him, unleashing a series of divine judgments throughout the world. Seals 1 through 4 showed the horrors of war, including famine, devastation, and death. Seal 5 represented the reward of believers who had been martyred because of their commitment to Christ.
Seal 6 described earth-shaking natural disasters, including earthquakes, meteor showers, and the movement of mountains-perhaps volcanoes. The opening of the seventh seal caused an eerie silence as the earth awaited the coming of the Lord.
Seven trumpets (8:6-11:19). This series of judgments is represented by seven trumpets. Angels blew these trumpets to announce God’s judgment against the earth and unbelievers who had rejected Him.
Trumpet 1 brought hail and fire on the earth. The second trumpet resulted in the destruction of sea life and ships. At the sound of trumpet 3, a meteorite poisoned earth’s rivers and streams. The next trumpet caused many of the heavenly bodies to grow dark. Trumpets 5 caused widespread misery from swarms of locusts.
With trumpet 6, wilderness death occurred, perhaps because of plague and disease. The sounding of the seventh and final trumpet indicated that Christ would soon establish His universal reign over the nations of the earth.
Satan and his allies (12:1-14:20). John was given several disturbing visions about Satan’s attempt to usurp God’s power and establish his rule over the earth. In one vision, a woman gave birth to a son, who was to rule over all nations. But Satan, represented by a red dragon, tried to kill the child, The archangel Michael and his angels intervened, overcame the dragon, and rescued the child.
In another vision, John saw a beast come out of the sea. He was the Antichrist, the sworn enemy of Christ, who was determined to wipe out the church and all who followed the risen Lord. Then John saw a second beast emerge-this one from the earth. This servant of the first beast used miraculous signs and economic threats to try to turn believers away from loyalty to Christ. This beast wanted people to worship the Antichrist.
The symbol for the second beast was the number 666. Six was the number for evil, so triple sixes showed that this beast was the very personification of evil itself-thoroughly wicked in his nature and purpose.
These visions of evil were tempered somewhat by another vision that came to the apostle John. He saw the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who had returned to earth and was standing with a throng of the redeemed on Mount Zion (14:1-5). John received assurance from several angels that doom would come for those people who worshipped the Beast.
Seven bowls (15:1-16:21). John’s visions of God’s judgment continued when he saw seven bowls of God’s wrath poised to be poured out on the earth. Several different calamities struck when the contents of these bowls were poured out-disease, death of sea creatures, deep darkness, storms, earthquakes, and contamination of the earth’s water supply.
Fall of Babylon (17:1-19:10). John saw a prostitute named Babylon seated on a scarlet beast. Her name symbolized the forces of evil that opposed God. An angel announced to John. “Fallen is Babylon the Great!” (18:2 NIV).
God had brought her down because of her pride, immorality, and idolatry. The elders and seraphim around God’s throne offered exuberant thanksgiving for her destruction.