Lesson 158

Revelation 17–19

“Lesson 158: Revelation 17–19,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)


Introduction

John saw that spiritual Babylon, or the wicked world, will war against the Lamb of God and that the Lamb will triumph over evil. The Saints are called to come out of spiritual Babylon, and the clean and righteous will be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. John saw Jesus Christ coming in great power to destroy those who fight against Him.

Suggestions for Teaching

Revelation 17–18

John foresees the destruction of spiritual Babylon

Write on the board the following statement by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy, and invite a student to read it aloud. (This statement is found in “Avoid It” [Brigham Young University devotional, Sept. 17, 2013], 1, speeches.byu.edu.)

“It is easier to avoid temptation than it is to resist temptation” (Elder Lynn G. Robbins).

  • Why do you think it is easier to avoid temptation than it is to resist it?

  • What can happen if we put ourselves in situations where we must constantly resist temptation?

Invite students to look for a truth as they study Revelation 17–18 that will help them know how to avoid many of the temptations and sins of the world.

Remind students that John saw in vision seven angels that would pour out plagues upon the wicked in the last days (see Revelation 16). Invite a student to read Revelation 17:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what one of the seven angels said he would show John.

  • What did the angel say he would show John?

Invite students to read Revelation 17:15 silently, looking for what the many waters represent.

  • According to verse 15, what do the many waters that the woman sits upon represent? (People and nations she has power and influence over [see also 1 Nephi 14:11].)

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Revelation 17:2–6. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe the woman and her influence on the world.

  • What words and phrases describe the woman?

  • According to verse 2, how is the woman’s influence upon the rulers and people of the earth described?

  • What do you think is represented in verse 6 by the woman being drunk with the blood of the Saints and martyrs? (Throughout the ages, many righteous people have been slain by the wicked, and the scriptural language suggests that slaying the righteous had an intoxicating effect on those who carried out the slaughter.)

Explain that the beast described in verse 3 may represent Rome in John’s day as well as corrupt kingdoms and nations in the last days (see Revelation 17:8–13).

Ask students to consider who or what is represented by the woman described in verses 1–6. Invite students to read Revelation 17:18 silently, looking for what the woman represents.

  • According to verse 18, what does the woman represent?

Explain that the “great city” (verse 18) refers to spiritual Babylon (see D&C 133:14). Because of the worldliness and corruption of ancient Babylon, and because it was a place where the children of Israel were captive, Babylon is often used figuratively in the scriptures to represent sin, worldliness, the influence of the devil on the earth, and spiritual captivity (see also 1 Nephi 13:1–9; 14:9–10).

Write on the board: The Woman = Babylon, or the wickedness of the world

Invite students to read Revelation 17:14 silently, looking for whom Babylon will fight against. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What will be the outcome of this war? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: In the last days, Jesus Christ will overcome the wickedness of the world.)

  • How can knowing this truth help you as a follower of Jesus Christ?

Summarize Revelation 18:1–3 by explaining that another angel announced the fall of wicked Babylon.

Invite a student to read Revelation 18:4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord instructed His people to do.

  • What did the Lord instruct His people to do?

  • What reasons did the Lord give for His people to come out of Babylon? (To avoid the sins of the world and the plagues or judgments that would come upon the wicked.)

  • What truth can we identify from the Lord’s instruction to His people to separate themselves from the wickedness of the world? (Although students may use different words, ensure they identify a truth similar to the following: Separating ourselves from the wickedness of the world can help us avoid sin and the judgments that will come upon the wicked in the last days. You may want to suggest that students mark the words in verse 4 that teach this truth.)

handout iconDivide students into groups of two to four. Provide the following questions to each group as a handout, and instruct students to discuss the questions with their group:

handout, Separating Ourselves from Spiritual Babylon

Separating Ourselves from Spiritual Babylon

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual—Lesson 158

  • How does the restored gospel of Jesus Christ help us separate ourselves from the wickedness of the world?

  • What can we do to separate ourselves from the wickedness of the world while we continue to live among, love, and interact with those who do not share our standards?

  • How has separating from unrighteous influences and practices helped you or others you know avoid some of the temptations and sins of the world?

After sufficient time, invite several students to share with the class what they discussed in their groups. Invite students to write on a piece of paper (1) the unrighteous influences or practices they need to separate themselves from and (2) how they will do so. Invite them to keep the piece of paper where they can refer to it often, and encourage them to act on what they have written.

Summarize Revelation 18:5–24 by explaining that John saw the fall of wicked Babylon and the sorrow of her supporters.

Revelation 19

John sees Jesus Christ coming in power to destroy those who fight against Him

Show students a picture of a bride and groom. Ask students what they think is the best gift they could give their future spouse on their wedding day. After students respond, read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“On your wedding day the very best gift you can give your eternal companion is your very best self—clean and pure and worthy of such purity in return” (“Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 77).

  • Why do you think being clean and pure is the best gift you could give your spouse on your wedding day?

Explain that Revelation 19 records a marriage analogy used to depict the Savior’s Second Coming. Summarize Revelation 19:1–6 by explaining that John saw that the righteous will praise God for His judgments against the wicked.

Invite a student to read Revelation 19:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whose marriage the angel announced to John.

  • Whose marriage did the angel announce to John?

  • What did John learn about the wife of the Lamb?

Explain that the “marriage of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7) refers to the Savior’s Second Coming. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for who the Lamb’s bride is.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“In this dispensation the Bridegroom, who is the Lamb of God, shall come to claim his bride, which is the Church composed of the faithful saints who have watched for his return” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 469).

  • In what ways is a marriage relationship a fitting symbol for our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ? (You might explain that marriage is a relationship that requires faithfulness, sacrifice, love, commitment, and trust.)

Invite a student to read Revelation 19:8–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Saints can do to make themselves ready for the Savior’s Second Coming. You might explain that white linen can symbolize holiness, cleanliness, and righteousness.

  • As symbolized by the clothing of the Lamb’s wife, what must we do to make ourselves ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we are clean and righteous, then we will be ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.)

Explain that the word granted in verse 8 means given or bestowed. To be cleansed of sin and made righteous is a gift from God.

  • What has God done to provide a way for us to be cleansed of sin and become righteous?

  • Why do you think being clean and righteous is one of the best gifts we can give to the Savior when He comes again?

Invite students to read Revelation 19:10 silently, looking for how John reacted after hearing what the angel proclaimed to him. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What did the angel declare to John that he (the angel) and other servants of God possess? (The testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy.)

Explain that the “spirit of prophecy” (verse 10) refers to the gift of revelation and inspiration from God, which allows someone to receive and speak His word (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Prophecy, Prophesy,” scriptures.lds.org).

  • How might a person who possesses a testimony of Jesus prepare for the Second Coming?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Revelation 19:11–16, including the Joseph Smith Translation of Revelation 19:15 (in Revelation 19:15, footnote a). Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe the Savior at His Second Coming. Ask students to report what they find.

Explain that the white horse mentioned in verse 11 is symbolic of conquest and victory. The Savior will come to conquer sin and wickedness.

  • According to verse 13, how is the Savior’s clothing described? (Explain that the phrase “vesture dipped in blood” means His clothing will be the color of blood. This color symbolizes the destruction of the wicked at His coming [see D&C 133:46–51] and can also remind us of the suffering He experienced during His Atonement.)

Point out that Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 19:15 clarifies that John saw that when the Savior came as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He would rule the nations with the word of God. Summarize Revelation 19:17–21 by explaining that John saw the destruction of those who fought against the Lamb of God (see Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 19:18 [in Revelation 19:18, footnote a]).

Conclude by asking students to ponder what they can do to make themselves ready for the coming of Jesus Christ. Encourage them to act on any promptings they receive.

Commentary and Background Information

Revelation 17:5. “Babylon the great”

John’s vision of Babylon parallels much of Nephi’s vision of the great and abominable church, or the church of the devil (see 1 Nephi 13–14). Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“Babylon the great is the church of the devil; it is the world with all its evil and carnality; it is every organization of every kind, sort and form—whether religious, civic, political, fraternal, or otherwise—which espouses a philosophy or promotes a cause which leads men away from salvation and toward the kingdoms of lesser glory in the eternal world” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 3:558).

Revelation 18:4. “Come out of [Babylon], … be not partakers of her sins”

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught what members of the Church can do to live in the world without being contaminated by its evils:

“Much of the world is being engulfed in a rising river of degenerate filth, with the abandonment of virtue, righteousness, personal integrity, traditional marriage, and family life. …

“… Despite pockets of evil, the world overall is majestically beautiful, filled with many good and sincere people. God has provided a way to live in this world and not be contaminated by the degrading pressures evil agents spread throughout it. You can live a virtuous, productive, righteous life by following the plan of protection created by your Father in Heaven: His plan of happiness” (“How to Live Well amid Increasing Evil,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 100).

Revelation 18:4. “That ye receive not of her plagues”

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the righteous will not be spared from all trials and suffering associated with the judgments that will come upon the wicked:

“It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and ‘the righteous shall hardly escape;’ … many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God” (in History of the Church, 4:11).

Revelation 19:9. “The marriage supper of the Lamb”

The “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9) is a symbolic reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

“Those who keep the commandments of the Lord and walk in His statutes to the end, are the only individuals permitted to sit at this glorious feast. …

“Reflect for a moment, brethren [and sisters], and enquire, whether you would consider yourselves worthy [of] a seat at the marriage feast” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 165–66).

Revelation 19:13. “Clothed with a vesture dipped in blood”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following concerning the Savior’s red clothing at His Second Coming:

“Having bled at every pore, how red His raiment must have been in Gethsemane, how crimson that cloak!

“No wonder, when Christ comes in power and glory, that He will come in reminding red attire (see D&C 133:48), signifying not only the winepress of wrath, but also to bring to our remembrance how He suffered for each of us in Gethsemane and on Calvary!” (“Overcome … Even As I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, 72).