December 23, 2022
A woman, her child, and the dragon
Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant, and she cried out because she was in labor, in pain from giving birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: it was a great fiery red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven royal crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept down a third of heaven’s stars and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was snatched up to God and his throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the desert, where God has prepared a place for her. There she will be taken care of for one thousand two hundred sixty days.
Michael and the dragon
7 Then there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but they did not prevail, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 So the great dragon was thrown down. The old snake, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was thrown down to the earth; and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say,
“Now the salvation and power and kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ have come.
The accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them day and night before our God,
has been thrown down.
11 They gained the victory over him on account of the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witness.
Love for their own lives didn’t make them afraid to die.
12 Therefore, rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them.
But oh! The horror for the earth and sea!
The devil has come down to you with great rage,
for he knows that he only has a short time.”
The dragon pursues the woman
13 When the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he chased the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she could fly to her place in the desert. There she would be taken care of—out of the snake’s reach—for a time and times and half a time. 15 Then from his mouth the snake poured a river of water after the woman so that the river would sweep her away. 16 But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was furious with the woman, and he went off to make war on the rest of her children, on those who keep God’s commandments and hold firmly to the witness of Jesus.
The beast from the sea
18 Then the dragon stood on the seashore,
1 and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads. Each of its horns was decorated with a royal crown, and on its heads were blasphemous names. 2 The beast I saw was like a leopard. Its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave it his power, throne, and great authority. 3 One of its heads appeared to have been slain and killed, but its deadly wound was healed. So the whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. 4 They worshipped the dragon because it had given the beast its authority. They worshipped the beast and said, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 The beast was given a mouth that spoke boastful and blasphemous things, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to speak blasphemies against God. It blasphemed God’s name and his dwelling place (that is, those who dwell in heaven).
7 It was also allowed to make war on the saints and to gain victory over them. It was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. 8 All who live on earth worshipped it, all whose names hadn’t been written—from the time the earth was made—in the scroll of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 Whoever has ears must listen: 10 If any are to be taken captive, then into captivity they will go. If any are to be killed by the sword, then by the sword they will be killed. This calls for endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
The beast from the land
11 Then I saw another beast coming up from the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it was speaking like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence. It also makes the earth and those who live in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 It does great signs so that it even makes fire come down from heaven to earth in the presence of the people. 14 It deceives those who live on earth by the signs that it was allowed to do in the presence of the beast. It told those who live on earth to make an image for the beast who had been wounded by the sword and yet came to life again. 15 It was allowed to give breath to the beast’s image so that the beast’s image would even speak and cause anyone who didn’t worship the beast’s image to be put to death. 16 It forces everyone—the small and great, the rich and poor, the free and slaves—to have a mark put on their right hand or on their forehead. 17 It will not allow anyone to make a purchase or sell anything unless the person has the mark with the beast’s name or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the one who understands calculate the beast’s number, for it’s a human being’s number. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.
The Lamb and the one hundred forty-four thousand
Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion. With him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 I heard a sound from heaven that was like the sound of rushing water and loud thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 They sing a new song in front of the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders. And no one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4 They weren’t defiled with women, for these people who follow the Lamb wherever he goes are virgins. They were purchased from among humankind as early produce for God and the Lamb. 5 No lie came from their mouths; they are blameless.
Messages of three angels
6 Then I saw another angel flying high overhead with eternal good news to proclaim to those who live on earth, and to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
8 Another angel, a second one, followed and said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She made all the nations drink the wine of her lustful passion.”
9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them and said in a loud voice, “If any worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or their hands, 10 they themselves will also drink the wine of God’s passionate anger, poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will suffer the pain of fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their painful suffering goes up forever and always. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, and those who receive the mark of its name.”
12 This calls for the endurance of the saints, who keep God’s commandments and keep faith with Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Favored are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they can rest from their labors, because their deeds follow them.”
Two harvests of the earth
14 Then I looked, and there was a white cloud. On the cloud was seated someone who looked like the Human One.[a] He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, calling in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud: “Use your sickle to reap the harvest, for the time to harvest has come, and the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who has power over fire, came out from the altar. He said in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle to cut the clusters in the vineyard of the earth, because its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle into the earth, and cut the vineyard of the earth, and he put what he reaped into the great winepress of God’s passionate anger. 20 Then the winepress was trampled outside the city, and the blood came out of the winepress as high as the horses’ bridles for almost two hundred miles.
Song of Moses and the Lamb
Then I saw another great and awe-inspiring sign in heaven. There were seven angels with seven plagues—and these are the last, for with them God’s anger is brought to an end. 2 Then I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire. Those who gained victory over the beast, its image, and the number of its name were standing by the glass sea, holding harps from God. 3 They sing the song of Moses, God’s servant, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and awe-inspiring are your works,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
king of the nations.
4 Who won’t fear you, Lord, and glorify your name?
You alone are holy.
All nations will come and fall down in worship before you,
for your acts of justice have been revealed.”
Seven bowl plagues
5 After this I looked, and the temple in heaven—that is, the tent of witness—was opened. 6 The seven angels, who have the seven plagues, came out of the temple. They were clothed in pure bright linen and had gold sashes around their waists. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls full of the anger of the God who lives forever and always. 8 The temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and power, and no one could go into the temple until the seven plagues of the seven last angels were brought to an end.
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple say to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s anger on the earth.” 2 So the first angel poured his bowl on the earth, and a nasty and terrible sore appeared on the people who had the beast’s mark and worshipped its image. 3 The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and the sea turned into blood, like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing in the sea died. 4 The third angel poured his bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and they turned into blood. 5 Then I heard the angel of the waters say,
“You are just, holy one, who is and was,
because you have given these judgments.
6 They poured out the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink. They deserve it!”
7 And I heard the altar say,
“Yes, Lord God Almighty, your judgments are true and just.”
8 The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to burn people with fire. 9 The people were burned by intense heat, and they cursed the name of the God who had power over these plagues. But they didn’t change their hearts and lives and give him glory. 10 The fifth angel poured his bowl over the beast’s throne, and darkness covered its kingdom. People bit their tongues because of their pain, 11 and they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores; but they didn’t turn away from what they had done.
12 Then the sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up so that the way was ready for the kings from the east. 13 Then I saw three unclean spirits, like frogs, come from the dragon’s mouth, the beast’s mouth, and the mouth of the false prophet. 14 These are demonic spirits that do signs. They go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (15 Look! I’m coming like a thief! Favored are those who stay awake and clothed so that they don’t go around naked and exposed to shame.) 16 The spirits gathered them at the place that is called in Hebrew, Harmagedon.
17 Then the seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out from the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 There were lightning strikes, voices, and thunder, and a great earthquake occurred. The earthquake was greater than any that have occurred since there have been people on earth. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. God remembered Babylon the great so that he gave her the wine cup of his furious anger. 20 Every island fled, and the mountains disappeared. 21 Huge hailstones weighing about one hundred pounds came down from heaven on the people. They cursed God for the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
Babylon and the beast
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls spoke with me. “Come,” he said, “I will show you the judgment upon the great prostitute, who is seated on deep waters. 2 The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on earth have become drunk with the wine of her whoring.”
3 Then he brought me in a Spirit-inspired trance to a desert. There I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names. It had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing, and she glittered with gold and jewels and pearls. In her hand she held a gold cup full of the vile and impure things that came from her activity as a prostitute. 5 A name—a mystery—was written on her forehead: “Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes and the vile things of the earth.” 6 I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and the blood of Jesus’ witnesses. I was completely stunned when I saw her.
7 Then the angel said to me, “Why are you amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and the seven-headed, ten-horned beast that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on earth, whose names haven’t been written in the scroll of life from the time the earth was made, will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was and is not and will again be present. 9 This calls for an understanding mind. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings. 10 Five kings have fallen, the one is, and the other hasn’t yet come. When that king comes, he must remain for only a short time. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is itself an eighth king that belongs to the seven, and it is going to destruction. 12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings, who haven’t yet received royal power. But they will receive royal authority for an hour, along with the beast. 13 These kings will be of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, but the Lamb will emerge victorious, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
15 Then he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples, crowds, nations, and languages. 16 As for the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will destroy her and strip her bare. They will devour her flesh and burn her with fire 17 because God moved them to carry out his purposes. That is why they will be of one mind and give their royal power to the beast, until God’s words have been accomplished. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”
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