Revelation 17–19

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 260–62


Introduction

The Lord declares to Latter-day Israel: “Go ye out … from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon. …

“… lest sudden destruction shall come upon [you]“ (D&C 133:14–15). In Revelation 17John sees Babylon, the symbol of Satan’s power, spread across the earth. Then, “in one hour“ (Revelation 18:19), he witnesses its destruction. Those who have partaken of her sins weep and lament her fall while the righteous rejoice (see vv. 11–24). John then sees the preparation for the long-awaited “marriage of the Lamb,” for “his wife [the Church] hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). The Lamb appears as the “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” (v. 16).

Prayerfully study Revelation 17–19and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Babylon, which symbolizes the wickedness of the world, will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. If we follow God’s command to “come out of Babylon,” we will not partake of the sins of the world nor be overtaken in the plagues that will destroy it (see Revelation 18; D&C 133:1–15).

  • In the last days, those Saints who have prepared themselves for the coming of the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ) will be clothed in righteousness and invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (see Revelation 19:5–9; see also D&C 58:8–12).

  • All those who fight against the Lamb will be destroyed when Jesus Christ appears with “the armies which were in heaven” (Revelation 19:14; see Revelation 19:11–21; JST, Revelation 19:18; see also D&C 133:46–51).

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 464–68.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Revelation 17–19.

Revelation 17:1–6, 14; 18:1–18. Babylon, which is the wickedness of the world, will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. If we follow God’s command to “come out of Babylon,” we will not partake of the sins of the world nor be overcome in the plagues that will destroy it.

(25–30 minutes)

Have students read the first verse of “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” (Hymns, no. 7). Ask:

  • Who or what do you think “Babylon” represents in this hymn?

  • How does it compare with Zion?

  • In what ways is Babylon falling?

Explain that in Revelation 17–18 John saw the fall of Babylon. Invite students to read Revelation 17:1–4 and describe the woman John saw in these verses. Ask:

  • What relationship does this woman have with the beast?

  • Read Revelation 12:1–4. How does this woman’s relationship with the beast differ from that of the woman in Revelation 17?

For help in understanding the imagery and symbols surrounding this evil woman, read for students the commentary for Revelation 17:1in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles (p. 464).

Explain that the Lord has given inspired commentary on this passage of Revelation. Nephi saw a similar vision and recorded what he saw. Have students read and cross-reference Revelation 17:5–6and 1 Nephi 14:9–12. Ask:

  • How are the two women represented by Nephi? (The church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil.)

  • Where will you find these two churches? (Upon all the face of the earth.)

Have students read and cross-reference Revelation 17:14and 1 Nephi 14:13–17, and then discuss the following questions:

  • What is the mission of the church of the devil? (To fight against Jesus Christ.)

  • What will keep the church of the devil from succeeding? (The power of the Lamb.)

  • What allows the Saints of God to be armed with this power? (Righteousness.)

  • What will be the eventual end of the church of the devil? (Destruction.)

Tell students that there is a danger in living in the day when both these churches exist. Have a student read the following statement by Elder Carlos E. Asay, a member of the Seventy:

“There is a lie—a vicious lie—circulating among the Latter-day Saints and taking its toll among the young. And it is that a ‘balanced man’ is one who deliberately guards against becoming too righteous. This lie would have you believe that it is possible to live successfully and happily as a ‘double-minded man’ with one foot in Babylon and one foot in Zion (see James 1:8)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 59; or Ensign, May 1992, 41).

Ask:

  • What are some examples of having one foot in Babylon (the world) and one foot in Zion (the Church)?

  • Why is it difficult to keep a foot in both places?

Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

“The distance between the Church and a world set on a course which we cannot follow will steadily increase.

“Some will fall away into apostasy, break their covenants, and replace the plan of redemption with their own rules” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 26; or Ensign, May 1994, 21).

Read Revelation 18:1–4and ask:

  • What would the Lord have us do?

  • What two reasons does the angel give for us to “come out” of Babylon? (To escape the sins of the world and the plagues that will come.)

Read Revelation 18:5–8and ask: How will the Lord reward Babylon and those who partake of her sins? (Discuss the students’ answers.)

Invite students to keep in mind the eventual end of Babylon as they consider the following questions by Elder Asay:

“Can a man be too righteous? Too Christlike? Impossible! Can the so-called ‘balanced man’ walk successfully the beam between good and evil? No. Each step is shaky, and eventually he will teeter and fall and break himself against the commandments of God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 59; or Ensign, May 1992, 41).

Ask: How will the reaction of the wicked to the fall of Babylon be different from that of the righteous? (see Revelation 18:11–18, 20). Point out that Babylon provided wealth that the world grew to love. Ask: What can we do to guard against mourning the loss of Babylon along with the wicked? Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–35looking for how these verses relate to the lesson. Have them write on a piece of paper what they need to do to “come out” of Babylon. You could conclude by reading or singing verse three of “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” (Hymns, no. 7).

Revelation 19:5–21. In the last days, those Saints who have prepared themselves for the coming of the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ) will be clothed in righteousness and invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. All those who fight against the Lamb will be destroyed.

(25–30 minutes)

Display the picture The Second Coming (item no. 62562) and ask: Are you looking forward to the Lord’s coming? Explain that John saw the end to all wickedness on the earth. Have students read Revelation 19:11–16. Ask: How does this description of the Second Coming compare to the picture? Discuss the following points:

  • The white horse seen by John is a symbol of Christ’s return as King of Kings and a conqueror of evil (see the commentary for Revelation 19:11–16 in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 468).

  • Christ will appear in red apparel, having trod the winepress alone. This is symbolic of the Atonement and His Judgment on the wicked (see D&C 133:46–51).

  • Christ will rule the earth with a rod of iron, or the word of God (see JST, Revelation 19:15; 1 Nephi 11:25).

Make a menu with foods eaten in your area, or borrow one from a local restaurant. Show students the menu and ask them to imagine that they have been invited to a meal by a rich relative.

  • If you could choose anywhere to have this meal, where would you go?

  • What would you hope to see on the menu?

Make two columns on the board. Label one The Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the other The Supper of the Great God. Have students read Revelation 19:5–10looking for details of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in the “Marriage Supper” column:

  • Who is the Groom for whose wedding the heavens rejoice? (The Lamb, or Christ; see v. 7; see also the commentary for Revelation 19:7–9 in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 467.)

  • Who is the bride who “hath made herself ready” (v. 7)? (The Saints.)

  • What clothing is necessary to attend this supper? (Clean, white fine linen; see v. 8.)

  • What does this clothing represent? (The righteousness of the Saints; see v. 8.)

  • What was John asked to write about those invited to this marriage? (“Blessed are they”; v. 9.)

  • How can our testimony of Jesus help prepare us to be at the marriage of the Lamb? (One answer is that it helps us to be righteous.)

Have students read Revelation 19:17–21looking for details of the supper of the great God. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in the “Supper of the Great God” column:

  • Who is invited to the supper of the great God? (The fowls of the air; see v. 17; D&C 29:18–20.)

  • What will be on the menu? (The wicked people of the earth; see v. 20.)

  • According to the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 18, what did the wicked do to get on the menu? (They fought against the Lamb.)

  • What phrase indicates whether the fowls will have enough to eat?

Point out to students that it is better to read a menu than to be on one. Testify that those who prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Have students silently read Alma 5:27–28looking for how we can become worthy of the white clothing the Saints will wear at the marriage supper of the Lamb.