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A Layman's Commentary on

The Revelation of St John the Divine

Author: T.O.D. Johnston
Publisher: Owen Johnston

1st Edition 2017

Scriptures Included
A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

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A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Table of Contents

Preface - 5

Lesson I - Chapter 1 - 6
Lesson II - Chapter 2 - 12
Lesson III - Chapter 3 - 18
Lesson IV - Chapters 4 and 5 - 24
Lesson V - Chapter 6 - 31
Lesson VI - Chapters 7 and 8 - 36
Lesson VII - Chapters 9 and 10 - 43
Lesson VIII - Chapter 11 - 51
Lesson IX - Chapter 12 - 56
Lesson X - Chapter 13 - 61
Lesson XI - Chapter 14 - 66
Lesson XII - Chapters 15 and 16 - 71
Lesson XIII - Chapter 17 - 78
Lesson XIV - Chapter 18 - 83
Lesson XV - Chapter 19 - 88
Lesson XVI - Chapter 20 - 94
Lesson XVII - Chapter 21 - 98
Lesson XVIII - Chapter 22 - 104

Bibliography - 109

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

A Layman's Commentary on The Revelation of St. John the Divine

1st Edition - 2016

Written by T.O.D. Johnston

Published by Owen Johnston

Dedicated for knowledge, understanding, and inspiration as we seek to follow Our

Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -


After reading many scholarly commentaries on different books of

Scripture, it became my mental habit to sift through the minute
discussions of individual words and/or phrases, and the quoting of
various scholars of the past of many differing opinions, and center
on the most logical and inspirational truths that remained. Thus I
relied on the studied scholarship of those who had learned the
original languages and had read all the previous scholars that had
written to get the best possible understanding of Scripture that I,
as a non-scholar, could. It seemed that most church members would not
attempt to read scholarly works - but would benefit from their
knowledge if presented in a plain and straightforward manner, the
truths they had perceived. The following commentary is my attempt to
do this. May God bless my efforts to the extent that they increase
the understanding and faith of the reader.
T.O.D. Johnston

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson I

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 1.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show
unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent
and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of
Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this
prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the
time is at hand.

Greetings to the Seven Churches

4 ¶ John to the seven churches which are in Asia:
¶ Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and
which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his
5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the
first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
¶ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own
6 and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to
him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and
they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail
because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 ¶ I am Alpha and Ome'ga, the beginning and the ending, saith the
Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

A Vision of the Son of Man

9 ¶ I John, who also am your brother, and companion in
tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in
the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the
testimony of Jesus Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a
great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 saying, I am Alpha and Ome'ga, the first and the last: and, What
thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches
which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Per'gamos,
and unto Thy-ati'ra, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto
12 ¶ And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being
turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son
of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the
paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow;
and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

15 and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a

furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth
went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun
shineth in his strength.
17 ¶ And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid
his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and
the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for
evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are,
and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right
hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the
angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou
sawest are the seven churches.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
This is a revelation of what was not before known. What was
hidden is made plain. It was given by the Father to the Son. Jesus
gave it to His angel, who then showed it to John. John wrote it down
and sent it to the Churches.
Note the original word is transliterated into our word
Apocalypse: what is revealed that was hidden.
These things will shortly begin to come to pass.

Verse 2.
The faithful servant, John, was careful and wrote the words
(doctrines and prophecies) that he received by the revelation from
God. This includes 'the testimony of Jesus Christ', and the visions
he was given.
Verse 3.
These words are to be of great benefit to those who read or hear
and keep them in their minds. They are to strengthen and given
security to them, as the prophecies are about to begin to come to
pass. To be forewarned is to prepare to escape or better endure
impending evils.
This closes the introduction. Next the dedication to the seven

Verse 4.
John identifies himself as the messenger of the word he has to
deliver from God (similar to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, etc.).
The message is for the 7 Churches in Asia (Asia Minor). This is
not to say that there were not many more Churches in that
geographical area. They may have been those most directly under
John's care. The number 7 may be chosen as the number of perfection,
and completion. In this way, they represent all Churches, thus this
revelation was to benefit all Churches of all times.
Opening with the traditional greeting of grace and peace. This
comes from the eternal God: which was in the eternity before time
(creation), which is time itself, and that which is to come, the
eternity after time ceases.
Also from the 7 angels ministering before the throne of God in
heaven. (See chapter 4:5,6 - “...the seven Spirits of God sent forth
into all the earth.”

Verse 5.
And 'from Jesus Christ': 'the faithful witness' Whose every word
is truth, whose testimony is infallible. What He says shall come to
pass. He is the first begotten of the dead unto eternal life. He is
the chief of all earthly rulers; they are under His authority and
God's love provided His Son; His Son loved us unto providing His
life, offered His blood to wash us clean of our sins.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 6.
We are made a kingdom of priests with direct access to God, His
Father. This is the highest dignity given to humankind.
To Jesus Christ be glory and dominion both now and forever.

Verse 7.
The future return of Christ, coming from the clouds of heaven,
will reappear even where He ascended from. The Jews will see Him
coming and recognize Him Who they crucified. All kindreds of the
earth that also rejected Him, that went their own selfish way will be
faced with the fate of being rejected by Him (their reaction will be
wailing). Let that come as it must: what they sowed, they shall also
reap. So be it!

Verse 8.
Christ speaks: identifying Himself with the beginning and ending
letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha and Omega. He states His
eternity: before the beginning, including all of time, and into
eternity (which is to come). The Almighty, the Eternal Truth, Way,
and Life.

Verse 9.
John again identifies himself as their Christian brother, who as
well as them, has suffered persecution. He is also a citizen of
Christ's kingdom, and experiences the utmost trust in Jesus Christ,
which brings patience. He has been exiled to this small island for
his faith and witness of the Word of God and his eyewitness testimony
to Christ's gift of Salvation.
This island is small, with a very small population, located in
the Aegean Sea, a perfect place to isolate someone.

Verse 10.
The beginning of the revelation. It was on the Lord's day: the
first day of the week, commemorating the Resurrection. There began
the vision of the Spirit of Prophecy. The Spirit was received by John
and he was under its influence. Suddenly a great voice was heard
behind him, a blast like a trumpet. This was to get his complete
focus and attention.

Verse 11.
Saying, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, as
symbols of His being the First and Last of all things.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The directions: John is to carefully record in writing what he

is about to see. It will be written in his own language and manner
and collected. A copy is to be sent to each of the seven Churches in
Asia. They are listed:

1. Ephesus – province of Ionia in Asia Minor, on the Aegean sea.

2. Smyrna – Asia Minor, 50 miles north of Ephesus. It was the largest
and wealthiest city of the area and also on the Aegean.
3. Pergamos – of Mysia, on the river Caicus. Reputedly developed the
use of parchment.
4. Thyatira – of Natolia, in Asia Minor, on the river Hermus, on a
plain, about 50 miles from Pergamos.
5. Sardis – of Natolia, 40 miles east of Smyrna, on the side of a
mountain (Tmolus).
6. Philadelphia of Natolia, at the foot of Mt. Tmolus, southeast of
7. Laodicea, of Phrygia, on the Lyrcus river.

Verse 12.
At this point, John turned around to see the person from whom
the voice had come. First he saw seven golden lamps on individual
lamp stands. Obviously each lamp represented one of the seven
churches. They were of utmost value (being gold), bearing light
continually as light from God, shining out to the world (in

Verse 13.
In the middle of these 7 lampstands, a person stood, identified
as the Son of Man, even Christ. The clothing is that of a high
priest, the sacred robe, down to the feet. About the chests was a
golden belt, emblem of royalty and a high priest's sacred dignity.

Verse 14.
This description of the head of Christ starts with pure white
(wool and snow), but implies a splendour of light also emanating from
the whiteness as radiant glory and encircling it.
His eyes as a flame burning, with movement and a sense of
penetrating (omniscience).

Verse 15.
His feet like fine brass – both strong and durable, more than
any other metallic compounds or elements. The color was amber. The
dazzling brightness was so great as to suggest they resembled such
metal 'burning in a furnace'.
His voice was like the description of God's voice in Ezekiel
43:2 – 'the noise of many waters'. Both deep and vast at the same

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 16.
Seven stars in His right hand (later identified as the seven
angels, the messengers of the 7 Churches). Being in Christ's right
hand shows His special concern, care, authority, and protection.
Out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword – the Word of God and
of judgment. (The sword and the spirit – Ephesians 6:17.) His face
radiated such brightness as to be described as the sun in its
greatest shining.
Verse 17.
John's immediate response was astonishment to the point of falling
down as stunned senseless (as dead). Christ laid His right hand upon
him, reassuring John that he had nothing to fear, and raised him up.
Christ spoke a word of reassurance - “I am the first and the last”.
John recognized Him as the same Lord he knew, and would know forever.

Verse 18.
Continuing, He was dead but now lives, the great 'I am', the
eternal. So be it! He has the power and authority over hell and
death. He can destroy the living and raise the dead.

Verse 19.
Again, directions as to John's task – to write down the things
he has already witnessed, what he was about to see, about the 7
Churches, and also what he was to see afterwards. All must be

Verse 20.
Explanation of the 7 stars: they represent the angels of the 7
Churches. The 7 lampstands represent the 7 Churches. The angels, as
messengers, could be considered as the ministers of each Church. The
lamps – the ministry of the Churches as light, warmth, life, in their
communities as evidence of their possession of the Lord, His Grace,
love and the Holy Spirit – the oil and the fire.

Next, the Letters to the Churches.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson II

Letters to the 7 churches begin (the first 4 in this chapter).

General introduction: each letter is written to the pastor of that
particular assembly: the one responsible for their edifying teaching
and leader, as ordained by Christ and His apostles. What is written
is the description of the whole assembly in general and addressed to
the whole Church.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 2.

The Message to Ephesus

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things
saith he that Holder the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh
in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
2 ¶ I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how
thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them
which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast
labored, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast
left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and
do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will
remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the
Nicola'itans, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of
life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The Message to Smyrna

8 ¶ And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things
saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.
9 ¶ I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art
rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and
are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the
devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and
ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and
I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

The Message to Pergamos

12 ¶ And to the angel of the church in Per'gamos write; These
things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.
13 ¶ I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's
seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith,
even in those days wherein An'tipas was my faithful martyr, who was
slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there
them that hold the doctrine of Ba'laam, who taught Balak to cast a
stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things
sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the
Nicola'itans, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight
against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden
manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name
written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The Message to Thyatira

18 ¶ And unto the angel of the church in Thy-ati'ra write; These
things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of
fire, and his feet are like fine brass.
19 ¶ I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy
patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou
sufferest that woman Jez'ebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to
teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat
things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she
repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit
adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches
shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I
will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thy-ati'ra, as many as
have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan,
as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to
him will I give power over the nations:
27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a
potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my
28 And I will give him the morning star.
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
To the Church at Ephesus, where John had chiefly resided. Christ
identifies Himself as the One that holds the 7 stars in His right
hand. He upholds, guides and preserves the ministers of each Church,
representing all Churches of all times. He Who walks in the midst of
the 7 golden lampstands, as the Head of all those churches,
representing all churches throughout the world.

Verse 2.
It should be always understood that the Lord is aware of all
that is taking place on the earth, both materially and spiritually.
Christ knows the works of each Church. It is important to note that
whatever is worthy of praise in any of the Churches is mentioned
first. A positive call to persevere, diligently encourage, and
strengthen the bonds of God's love to renewal and maturity.

Their works:
1. They are active (labor);
2. They have patience;
3. They would not tolerate evil men;
4. They tested those that claimed apostolic authority and found
them to be false, deceitful liars.

Verse 3.
They have carried on with patience. For Christ's Name they have
continued to hold together (without fainting) in the strength of
their faith and the bonds of His love.

Verse 4.
Nevertheless, Christ has something against them – they have left
their first heartfelt and strong affection for God that they had when
they first believed.
Verse 5.
Remember the peace, love, forgiveness, and joy you experienced
in salvation. You had thankful hearts, desired to please God, to
share the Gospel, to reach out unselfishly to help and care for
others, to pray and spend time with God in His word and worship.
Think about how much you have lost. Stop, turn around and go
back to doing those things for those reasons. Live fully and
honorably as God's child and renew your closeness with Him.
This Church cannot survive as it is. It is in danger of being
judged and destroyed (their lampstand removed from its place, away
from God's concern). Therefore repent.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 6.
One thing they did right, they rejected (hated) the teachings of
one Nicholas (the Nicolaitanes). Christ also hated them. They allowed
adultery and promiscuity, mixed pagan rites with Christian
ceremonies, ate meat offered to idols.

Verse 7.
A call to every person, every Christian – listen carefully, with
intelligent attention, to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the
Churches. To those who remain steadfast in the faith, who is not led
away by error, Jesus will give the reward, to eat of the tree of life
in the midst of the paradise of God. This is the food of the
immortal, in the home of the Almighty.

Verse 8.
To the minister in charge of the Church in Smyrna. From the
first and last, who was dead and is alive, glorified and eternal.

Verse 9.
Again, He knows their works. He is aware that they are being
persecuted. They have suffered. They were also materially very poor
(probably because of their faith). But they are accounted wealthy in
that faith, and blessed by God spiritually.
There are those who profess being Jews, that they worshiped the
true God. They are false and call unholy things holy, in effect
serving their own lusts, as in a synagogue of satan.

Verse 10.
Suffering is coming, but do not give in to fear. The devil will
cause some to be put into prison and to be tried. This tribulation
will be but a short time (10 days). If you remained faithful and are
put to death, then your death will bring you eternal life – you will
be crowned as victor over death in the presence of God.

Verse 11.
Again the call to careful attention to these words from the
Spirit to the Churches. The overcomer will not experience the second
death – eternal, final separation from God in hell.

Verse 12.
To the minister of the Church in Pergamos. From the One that has
the sharp sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (it cuts in
every direction).

Verse 13.
Christ knows their works. This heathen place is classed where
satan reigns, false gods and their sinful practices of every
description. But this assembly of believers have held fast to their
faith, even when severe persecution led to the martyrdom of one of
their members, Antipas. He was killed (possibly by a mob) in that
city. The hatred and evil was under satan's influence.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 14.
First commendation, now a few flaws. There were some in the
Church that were doing things of an impure, therefore sinful nature –
they were stumbling blocks – temptations to lead away from purity.
Two details – the eating of things sacrificed to idols, and
fornication. These are classed as like Balaam who told Balac how to
cause the Israelites to sin against God.

Verse 15.
There were some who were Nicolaitanes who taught heresies (see
verse 2:6), which Christ hates.

Verse 16.
Repent! They must turn these evil people out of their assembly
immediately. To allow them to stay will bring judgments against them
(which will also harm the Church). The best outcome would be to call
upon these heretics to repent and turn to the Truth of Christ, then
judgments will no longer be necessary. The double edged Sword of the
Spirit is mentioned as the weapon to fight against them with.

Verse 17.
Carefully listen to this message from the Holy Spirit. To the
overcomer will be given the hidden manna (originally placed in the
Ark of the Covenant), spiritual sustenance from God. The white stone
meant pardon or acquittal (a black stone meant condemnation). This
comes from the custom used by judges in ancient times to give their
verdict by black or white 'pebbles'. The engraving of a new name (as
a child of God) gave rights to the holder as full citizen in heaven.

Verse 18.
To the minister of the Church at Thyatira: from the Son of God,
eyes like flaming fire, feet like fine brass.

Verse 19.
Christ knows their best qualities – first, their unselfish love
for God and the brethren service in reaching out to the poor and less
fortunate. Their faith was strong and true. They also showed patience
in distressing situations, persecution. This continued over time.
They also grew in grace and in knowledge and understanding and love
of Jesus Christ. The last works were more than the first.

Verses 20,21.
There is a major flaw that must be dealt with. A woman of power
and influence who teaches and seduces Christ's servants to do evil.
She is called Jezebel after Ahab's evil wife of the same name (2
Kings 9:10) who corrupted true religion and harassed the followers of
God. This one claimed to be a prophetess, to deceive the elect to
profane practices (fornication, heathen rites, eating sacrificial
idol animals). It is possible this person was the wife of the
minister, which would be why she was allowed to go this far.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

As God had sent Elijah to pronounce judgment against Ahab. He

showed some turning toward God, his punishment was put off. In this
case, giving this woman a period of time to repent – she did not.

Verse 22.
In the case of Jezebel, her son who was as guilty as his mother
was cast into a bed of affliction, where he died. His brother
suffered the same fate. These were warnings to Jezebel. This woman is
warned of a fate of being bedridden to suffer great torment as well
as those that participated with her. Only repentance can prevent

Verse 23.
Her children also will be killed. This will be obvious judgment
against them by He Who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.
As with Jezebel's two sons and the 70 sons of Ahab, all were slain by
the hand of God (2 Kings 10:1). What was done in secret will come to
light in this outcome.

Verses 24,25.
To the rest of the Church there, that have not had any part of
this false doctrine (depths of satan): Christ places no other burden;
they are to continue in the sound doctrine and appropriate speech and
actions that they already practice: persevere and hold fast.

Verse 26.
The promise of reward to the overcomers. This is to rule over
nations when Christ returns to set up His kingdom. To have kept the
commandments of Christ prepares to instruct and rule over others for
the same result.

Verse 27.
The rule will be strict, just, and certain punishment to those
who rebel. The punishment will be like the shattering of a clay pot
into small pieces: both persons and their practices. The rule is from
Christ, even as His rule was received from His father.

Verse 28.
Next to the sun, the morning star (Venus) is the next. Thus the
kingdom will be second only to the kingdom of Christ (the Sun, the
Son). It also would include honor and glory of the person.

Verse 29.
Every Christian should pay the most serious attention to these
words of encouragement and of warning of judgment.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson III

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 3.

The Message to Sardis

1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things
saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.
¶ I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are
ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold
fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on
thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon
thee. Mt. 24.43, 44 · Lk. 12.39, 40 · Rev. 16.15
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled
their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, Ex. 32.32,
33 · Ps. 69.28 · Rev. 20.12 but I will confess his name before my
Father, and before his angels. Mt. 10.32 · Lk. 12.8
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the

The Message to Philadelphia

7 ¶ And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These
things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key
of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no
man openeth. Is. 22.22
8 ¶ I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door,
and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast
kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say
they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to
come and worship before thy feet, Is. 60.14 and to know that I have
loved thee.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep
thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the
world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no
man take thy crown.
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my
God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name
of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new
Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: Rev. 21.2 and
I will write upon him my new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The Message to Laodicea

14 ¶ And unto the angel of the church of the La-odice'ans write;
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the
beginning of the creation of God. Prov. 8.22
15 ¶ I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would
thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will spew thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and
have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou
mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and
that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes
with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: Prov. 3.12 be zealous
therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with
him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
The letter to the Church in Sardis, written to the minister
(angel). From Christ Who has the 7 Spirits of God (angels) and the 7
stars represented the 7 Churches. This is to emphasize Christ’s
complete authority and control over the Churches and their
There is a contrast between their outward behavior and
reputation, and what is in their hearts. They are reputed to be
living for the Lord, but within they are dead.

Verse 2.
There is some life left, wake up to it and give full attention
to strengthen it that it may revive and grow again to maturity. This
must include the true doctrine of the Gospel and call to holy,
unselfish, and loving thoughts, words and actions. If this is not
done, death will soon come to pass. They had performed many works,
especially for public recognition, but not at all times, toward all
people. Many good intentions, began but not followed through (half-
heartedly). This was far below the high-calling of God. He calls upon
believers to follow His Son as their example and Helper. They were
far from perfect!

Verse 3.
Seriously think over what you remember about when you first
accepted the Gospel. Recall the thanksgiving and joy. Hold tightly on
to these memories, and turn back to God, humble and sincere, to begin
They are openly and most seriously warned of the consequence of
not following His directions. They must be always alert (watch) and
on task. If not, just as a thief comes when all are asleep, He will
come and take away their hope and life (spiritual).
Verse 4.
Even in Sardis there are certain persons (names). Their garments
(souls) have not been soiled by sinful or evil spots (thoughts or
actions). These will walk with Christ in heaven in perfectly white
garments – they being worthy.

Verse 5.
These are the overcomers, clothed in white. Their names in the
Book of Life will remain, and their names will be spoken before His
Father and His angels. This is glory eternal. This reminds one of a
person’s name entered on a church’s role when baptized and becoming a
member (also a book of new life; people-born-again).
The white raiment was the clothing of the priests in Israel.
Names were blotted out if they violated any condition of that office.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 6.
Counsel and caution to take heed of these things spoken to the
Church members.

Verse 7.
Addressed to the minister of the Church in Philadelphia. From
the Holy One, the very Truth of God. He who has the authority and
knowledge of David (the key) who shut or opened the kingdom according
to his will. Christ rules over the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom
of the Gospel. What He opens no person can shut, and what He shuts no
one can open. Period.

Verse 8.
Christ knows their works. His observation led Him to fix their
door open, that no man can shut. Though there was persecution, they
held on to the true doctrine, maintained their faith in Christ. They
have a small amount of strength (either a small number, or yet
immature in the faith). They have honored His name (not denied it).

Verse 9.
But those who claim to be Jews, they lie. They are not God’s
children, but those who worship the liar from the beginning (at
satan’s synagogue). Their situation will become so dangerous and
threatening under Christ’s direction, that they will be so desperate
for tolerance, support, and protection, they will become completely
humbled and sincere in beseeching your compassion. They will
recognize the Christ is truly with these Christians and has shown
them great loving-kindness.

Verse 10.
These believers have stayed faithful to Christ’s Word. They have
learned patience during this time of trial.
The hour of temptation apparently described the increased
persecution under Trajan’s rule, which was more severe than that of
Nero and Domitian. These persecutions will try and prove those who
profess Christianity – who were sound and who were not. These
believers in Philadelphia will be spared this time.

Verse 11.
These things are to take place very soon. Christ is overseeing
these things. They include consequences: rewards to the faithful,
judgment against the opposition. Again they are admonished to hold
fast to their crown of life. Let no one cause them to lose it.

Verse 12.
The overcomer will be made a pillar in the Temple (strong and
stable). Christ is the foundation. His ministries are the pillars
that adorn and support it. This is the Church. As a priest had
“Holiness to the Lord” written on his forehead, the high priest the
breastplate the 12 Tribes’ names. For the Church the names of the 12

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

apostles. The New Jerusalem represents the Christian Church. It will

come down out of heaven from God at the appointed time. The new name
will acknowledge this person as accepted by Christ, an approved
member, a full citizen: of the redeemed, of the Temple, of the New
Jerusalem, of the children of the Heavenly Father, and all these for

Verse 13.
Again, the call to pay close attention to these words to the
Churches by the Holy Spirit: to be heard and heeded.

Verse 14.
To the minister of the Church in Laodicea. These words are from
the Faithful and True one (the Amen). His witness is from the
beginning of Creation. Thus His position and authority are over all.
This includes the members of this Church.
Verse 15.
Their works have been observed. They are not dedicated to either
choice – neither hot nor cold. They are not firmly following the
truth (light), or falsehood (lies, darkness). They could be described
as listless, lukewarm, indifferent, apathetic. They wanted some
goodness, as having some value, but also wished to enjoy some sinful,
selfish pleasures and indulgences.
This “lukewarm” condition made Christ, as if sick in His
stomach, feeling nausea - which could lead to vomiting, “spew thee
out of my mouth”. This exemplifies a casting off, rejection, left to
their own fate, as worthless.

Verse 17.
These people thought of themselves as possessing all they
needed, even to abundance. They were in need of nothing further. They
were comfortable in their conceit. This comes across as the worldly
point of view. From the view of spiritual truth, they haven’t even
seen or heard or understood that what they are missing is salvation,
peace with God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life.
They are lost, in darkness with no faith, no hope, no peace or joy.

Verse 18.
But there is still hope. Christ advises them to turn to Him.
There they will find the most valuable truth, and faith that are
precious and will stand any trial (as gold in fire). This is true
You will be clothed in white, as justified, and purified,
becoming holy and cleansed (no longer naked in sin). Your eyes will
receive new sight (as with eye-salve) being enlightened by the Holy
Spirit unto spiritual discernment of eternal realities.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verses 19, 20.

It is Christ’s love that is His motivation to call attention to
their errors and advise them to get straight, get back on the right
path, that of light, truth, and love. They must stir themselves up to
serious decisions and actions – repentance, turn back wholeheartedly
to God from their slack and sinful ways.
Christ stands waiting at the door of the heart of the sinner. He
knocks, to get the attention of the one within. This by judgments,
reproofs, encouragements etc. He lifts His voice, by His Word,
preachers, other Christians, and the Holy Spirit. He who responds and
opens the door will welcome Christ in. There will be renewed and
forgiving fellowship, pardon, accepting love. He will be fed with the
True Bread and this unto eternal life in everlasting glory.

Verse 21.
Those faithful unto death (overcomers) will be rewarded with a
royal position: to sit with Christ in His throne. This reward Christ
received from His Father to be set down with His Father in His
throne, when He faithfully gave up His life. One cannot conceive of
such a high honor for Christians to be thus elevated with our Savior
to be with Him and the Father, enthroned.
Though this is the lowest of the lowest of the 7 Churches, yet
such a glorious promise is made to this assembly. Repentance and
reunion can lead to faithfulness, overcoming and the highest reward.

Verse 22.
Again, the most profound advice, listen most carefully to these
words from the Holy Spirit to the Churches; both dire and serious
warnings, and great and glorious promises.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson IV

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 4.

The Heavenly Worship

1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:
and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking
with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things
which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was
set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine
stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like
unto an emerald. Ezek. 1.26-28 ; 10.1
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon
the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white
raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and
voices: Ex. 19.16 · Rev. 8.5 ; 11.19 ; 16.18 and there were seven
lamps of fire burning before the throne, Ezek. 1.13 which are the
seven Spirits of God. Rev. 1.4
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto
crystal. Ezek. 1.22
¶ And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were
four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a
calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast
was like a flying eagle. Ezek. 1.5-10 ; 10.14
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and
they were full of eyes within: Ezek. 1.18 ; 10.12 and they rest not
day and night, saying,

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Is. 6.2, 3

which was, and is, and is to come. Ex. 3.14
9 And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him
that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the
throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their
crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honor and power:
for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verses 1,2.
Next, John looked up to see an opening in the sky over his head,
as if a door had been opened. Then a voice like a trumpet spoke to
him: “Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be
hereafter.” Then John was seeing a vision, or his spirit was taken up
to heaven to behold God’s throne. One sat on the throne.

Verse 3.
What was seen was bright shining lights in colors that sparkled
like precious jewels (jasper and sardine stone – carnelian of red)
that a king would wear (or scarlet robes). These were surrounded, all
around the throne, by a rainbow (symbol of peace), predominantly
green (like unto an emerald). Light, color, and glory.
Verse 4.
Around the throne were 20 plus 4 seats, where sat 20 plus 4
elders clothed in white (as priests had been). Each had a golden
crown on heir heads, emblem of dignity. Being around the throne these
were lesser thrones of authority under God, each member also crowned
as a ruler. Later (verse 9), they are identified as redeemed – the 24
to represent the churches: out of every kindred, tongue, people and
nation. The Church victorious, as priests and kings that will reign
on earth (verse 10), here praising and honoring God.

Verse 5.
The thunder, lightning, and voices – expressing the majesty and
glory of Him on the throne. This reminds us of the scene at Mt. Sinai
in Exodus 19:16.
Also seven burning lamps of constant illumination of the whole
area. They represent the 7 Spirits of god. As the messengers of God
that also bring constant illumination to the whole earth: serenely,
calmly, through all times – whether peaceful or upheavals, noise and
Verse 6.
In front of the throne was a floor, spread out in a very wide
expanse, like a sea. It was perfectly smooth and crystal clear. Four
living creatures were around the throne – they would be seen on every
side of the throne. Their bodies appear to be similar, their heads
different. Full of eyes denotes the power of seeing in all
directions, being aware of everything, observing from all directions.

Verse 7.
Each form of the divine government as it is administered is now
given in particular aspects as symbolized by these living beings
The first is like a lion, king of animals, in dominion and
authority. Apparently the bodily form of each animal was the same,
with the head or face different.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The second was like a young bull, symbolizing firmness,

strength, and endurance.
The third had a man-like face, denoting intelligence and
understanding, a wise decision-maker.
The fourth creature was like a flying eagle. The head of an
eagle, the body with wings added. These attributes include high
flying, speed, and power. This could suggest rapid and powerful
execution of God’s commands, and/or protective watching over and
rescue if needed.

Verse 8.
All four had six wings (for swiftness), and the remaining parts
of their bodies were ‘full of eyes within’ (for full observation of
everything, in all directions, at once). They were active at all
times, praising God as Holy, Lord God Almighty, Eternal: from before
creation, throughout time, and into eternity. This suggests that all
God does brings Him honor.

Verse 9.
At a particular moment, when they give glory and honor and
thanks to God on the throne (the Eternal) for some new triumph, this
causes the reaction that follows.

Verse 10.
The representative of the Church of the Redeemed fall down (in
reverence and praise) before Him that sat on the throne, in rejoicing
over a showing forth of a new work of God in the world. They worship
Him, the Eternal. Their praise is further signified by their casting
their crowns before the throne. All of their position, authority, and
power was from Him. This act acknowledges openly their thankfulness
and praise to His wise and merciful purpose and plan.

Verse 11.
They also speak forth in unison, expressing their Lord’s
worthiness of all worship to “to receive glory and honor and power”.
They acknowledged that He has all these things, and is adored for
what He has done on man’s behalf and on governing the world.
This began at the creation of all things, only by the plan and
will of God. This includes humanity and those that are here, present
in worship of their Creator and Redeemer. All things are according to
God’s will, plan, and purpose for His pleasure.
This ends the magnificent introduction to the main visions of
the Revelation.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 5.

The Unopened Book and the Lamb

1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book
written within and on the back side, Ezek. 2.9, 10 sealed with seven
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is
worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was
able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to
read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion
of the tribe of Judah, Gen. 49.9, 10 the Root of David, Is. 11.1 hath
prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 ¶ And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the
four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had
been slain, Is. 53.7 having seven horns and seven eyes, Zech. 4.10
which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that
sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and
twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them
harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of
saints. Ps. 141.2
9 And they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book,
and to open the seals thereof:
for thou wast slain,
and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood
out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: Ex. 19.6 · 0.1,
1 ; 0.1 ; 0.1–0.1 and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about
the throne, and the beasts, and the elders: and the number of them
was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Dan.
12 saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and
wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and
under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in
them, heard I saying,
Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders
fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
Appearing on the throne was a hand (right hand) holding a book.
John could see writing both within and on the back side, suggesting
that there was writing on both sides of the rolled up parchment.
There were 7 seals on it. This was an unusual number. The number 7
always symbolized perfection. Apparently each seal was attached to a
portion of the book. After the first part was opened and read, then
the next portion with its seal was then in view and so forth.
Traditionally seals were of clay on thick wax, dropped in a
ball, allowed to spread, then imprinted with a signature or design
that represented its author. The seal could only be broken by one
with the proper authority. The design was carved on a stone, later on
metal, often as part of a ring known as a signet ring, worn by kings
and emperors as the official stamp (or seal) of their authority. No
descriptive details of these seals are given. Only the numbers and
their ultimate importance.

Verse 2.
An angel of great strength appears, who proclaims with a mighty
voice – to reach to all who can hear, in all directions – the
question: “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals
It is obvious that this highest of angels was not worthy and
therefore all of similar or lesser rank would also not qualify. Who
would be worthy? Not any created being.

Verse 3.
No one in any of the realms of the universe had the ability,
authority, or power to open the book. Nor to open the seals nor to
see what was written therein. Also not able to even make a
suggestions about what was written.

Verse 4.
John wept that no one could open or read the book. Does this
suggest the thought of so many over the centuries who strongly desire
to know about the future? This response was after a period of time,
after the angel’s proclamation when no one appeared. Just think about
all the seers, fortunetellers, astrologists, omens, reading cards
used to get a peek at the future. All were and are bogus.

Verse 5.
John is told to stop crying by one of the elders. This
representative of the Church already knew that Christ was the One
worthy and told John.
The name the elder used was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the
Root of David. The lion, king of beasts, symbol of power and
authority, Christ as the ruler of the universe. Of the tribe of
Judah: from the prophecy in Genesis 49:9 - “Judah is a lion’s
whelp ... he couched as a lion.” Jesus was born in the line of Judah.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

He would, therefore, be the one of authority and power to break the

seals. Also identified as a shoot from the root of David, the
glorious king of Israel, thus He inherited the right to the throne
and rule over the people of God. Only He was the one worthy to break
the seals and read the book. He is also worthy because of His triumph
over sin, death, and the devil.

Verse 6.
Then John saw something new in the middle of the scene: where
the throne, the 4 beasts and the elders were. A Lamb stood. It had
the mark of having been killed. A symbolic representation. Having 7
horns – the strength of the animal is in the horns. Having 7 –
completeness and power to defeat all others. Seven eyes – symbols of
intelligence and watchfulness. Again, 7 is completeness. These
represent the work of the Holy Spirit to watch and operate in all the
Verse 7.
Apparently Christ now stepped in and took the book from God the
Father’s right hand (that sat upon the throne).

Verse 8.
After this momentous act, all those in attendance fell down
before Him (the Lamb of God). Everyone had harps and golden vials
containing the essence (odours) of the prayers of saints. The idea is
of prayer being offered up to God as incense: an agreeable odor,
acceptable to God. This reflects the service in the Temple when the
priest offered up incense at the time the people were praying. The
elders, here representing the church still on earth, offering up
incense representing the prayers of the Church.

Verse 9.
They sang a new song based on the Redemption by His blood, the
Gospel of Christ. This makes him uniquely worthy to take the book and
open the seals. This redemption includes people from all over the
world, from every ethnic group, language, race, and country.

Verse 10.
Believers are equally royal priests, with direct access to God;
kings in authority under Christ when He returns to rule over the
earth (the Millennial Reign).

Verse 11.
The sound of voices increases to a vast and uncountable number
of angels as well as the beasts and elders.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 12.
All spoke at the same time. It was very loud. They said: “Worthy
is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” All thankful
praise for what He is, has done, is doing, and is going to do: for
creation, redemption, maintenance, and promises of the rapture, the
1000 year reign, new heavens and new earth, eternity with Him and the
Father and the Holy Spirit.

Verse 13.
All creatures give the same praise. All to Christ (the Lamb) and
the Father (on the throne) for eternity.

Verse 14.
The 4 beasts say Amen! So it is. So be it. Period. The 24 elders
again knelt down in most reverent worship, prostrated themselves,
touching the floor with their foreheads in adoration of “Him that
liveth for ever and ever.’

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson V

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 6.

The Seals
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as
it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: Zech. 1.8 ; 6.3 and he that
sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went
forth conquering, and to conquer.
3 ¶ And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second
beast say, Come and see.
4 And there went out another horse that was red: Zech. 1.8 ; 6.2
and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the
earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given
unto him a great sword.
5 ¶ And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast
say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; Zech. 6.2, 6
and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A
measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a
penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
7 ¶ And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of
the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on
him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto
them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with
hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Jer. 15.3 ·
Ezek. 5.12, 17 ; 14.21
9 ¶ And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the
testimony which they held:
10 and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy
and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell
on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was
said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until
their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed
as they were, should be fulfilled.
12 ¶ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there
was a great earthquake; Rev. 11.13 ; 16.18 and the sun became black
as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, Is. 13.10 · Ezek.
32.7 · Joel 2.31 · Mt. 24.29 · Mk. 13.24, 25 · Lk. 21.25 even as a
fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together;
Is. 34.4 and every mountain and island were moved out of their
places. Rev. 16.20

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men,
and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and
every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the
mountains; Is. 2.10
16 and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us
Hos. 10.8 · Lk. 23.30 from the face of him that sitteth on the
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to
stand? Joel 2.11 · Mal. 3.2

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
John was watching as the Lamb (Christ) opened one of the seals.
A loud voice (like thunder) called John to come closer to see the
page now visible. It was the first (lion-faced) of the four beasts
who called him.

Verse 2.
On the page was a picture: a white horse, and the one riding him
had a bow. A crown was given unto him; going forth to conquer. The
white horse represents the spreading of the Gospel in its purity,
truth, and swiftness. He that sat upon him represents Christ, the
power, authority, and guide. The bow, the swiftness and piercing of
the Gospel being preached, as arrows to strike the hearts of sinners.
The crown, the coming kingdom, Christ the king. To conquer the Jews
first, and then the Gentiles.
Another prominent interpretation of the white horse and rider
suggests the conquest of power through peaceful means (white =
peaceful triumph), the bow with no arrows. They see the one riding as
the Antichrist who is then given the crown as world ruler. The
remaining seals are explained as further developments of the end
times events.
The older commentaries try to connect the symbols to history
from Roman times, through modern times, then to future end times
events. Each is very detailed and time-consuming in the volumes that
have been written. Other opinions are also hypothesized, that add to
the variety of possible interpretations. The best path is to
understand what the Scriptures state, understand that there are
various interpretations but keep an open mind as the future unfolds.

Verse 3.
The second seal is opened. The second beast (face of an ox)
called John to come and look closely.
Verse 4.
A picture of another horse – this one was red. This represents
war (as bloody), strife and violence. The one sitting thereon had the
power to take away peace, that people would kill each other. He was
given a large sword – great influence and force to incite violent
bloodshed. This describes the period following the previous period of
peace and safety which it destroys.
Various suggestions have been offered as to the identity of this
rider as a historical figure: Roman Emperor, or representing the
Empire, and a historical period of civil war after the assassination
of the cruel emperor Commodus, which lasted for 93 years.

Verse 5.
The third seal is opened. The third beast tells John to come and
see. This picture is of a black horse, the rider holding a pair of
balances in his hand. This beast had the face of a man. The black

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

horse is the emblem of famine. The balances refer to scarcity to the

point that every person would be limited to a small allowance.

Verse 6.
A voice from the center of the throne announces the exorbitant
prices for essential grains for bread – a day’s wage for enough to
live on for one day (12 times normal prices). Also warning of careful
and limited use of oil and wine.

Verses 7,8.
The fourth seal is opened. The fourth beast (face of an eagle)
calls John to look. The horse was pale, the rider was Death. A figure
following behind is named hell (the grave, domain of the dead). He
had been power over a fourth of mankind. A sword would kill many,
then add hunger, pestilence, and wild animals would also take
advantage of the situation and kill many more. The color of the horse
would be pale gray, as that of a corpse. It can be assumed that the
following figure of Hades would appear like a dead man walking in
rags, barefoot, emaciated. This closes the fourth page – the 4
mounted horses as a unit. The next 3 seals reveal new and different

Verse 9.
The fifth seal is opened. No animal calls John to look. He was
still watching. The page is open and he sees an altar. Under it were
the souls of those who were killed because of their testimony for the
Word of God. They had remained faithful to Christ to the end.

Verse 10.
They cried with a loud voice: how long until You judge and
avenge our deaths on them that killed us? You are Lord, righteous,
hating iniquity and violence, and true to Your nature and promises.
You know who and where these people are. When will they be punished?

Verse 11.
These souls are given white robes, representing purity and
overcoming (triumph). They are told to rest for a period of time (a
little season). There were others that would also be martyred as they
were, also servants of God and brother Christians. When that cup of
iniquity is measured full, then the punishment will surely be exacted
upon them.
Verse 12.
Next, the sixth seal was broken The scene revealed a great
shaking of the earth (also Isaiah 2:19). The sun is turned to
darkness, the moon becoming as blood (also Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 13.
The stars of heaven appear to fall from heaven upon the earth
like unripe figs in a winter gale. They disappear from sight (also
Isaiah 34:14). These signs immediately precede the coming of the Son
of man (Matthew 13:25,26).

Verse 14.
The stars disappear suddenly, like a spread out scroll quickly
rolled back up. Mountains and islands were shaken from their places.

Verse 15.
This shaking will strike terror in the hearts of all those who
are enemies of God. All those who had power, position, influence, and
pleasure realize their domination of people and material things is
over. Their control is wiped away instantly. The list includes the
greatest: kings, warriors, the rich, the politicians (great men),
businessmen (mighty men), acknowledgment of God’s wrath upon them.
They will try to find hiding places in the furthest recesses of caves
and dens of the rocks of the mountains. (Also Isaiah 2:10,19,21.)

Verse 16.
People in terror call for the mountains and rocks fall upon them
to hide them (also Hosea 10:8). They fear the wrath of the Lamb
because of their persistent and impenitent sinning.

Verse 17.
Who shall be able to stand? (Also Nahum 1:6.)

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson VI

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 7.

The 144,000 Sealed

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four
corners of the earth, holding the four winds Zech. 6.5 of the earth,
that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on
any tree.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal
of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels,
to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till
we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Ezek. 9.4
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were
sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the
children of Israel.
5 Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6 Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Naph'tali were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Manas'seh were sealed twelve thousand.
7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Is'sachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8 Of the tribe of Zeb'ulun were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

The White-robed Multitude

9 ¶ After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man
could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,
stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white
robes, and palms in their hands;
10 and cried with a loud voice, saying,
Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the
elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their
faces, and worshipped God,
12 saying,
Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor,
and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 ¶ And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these
which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These
are they which came out of great tribulation, Dan. 12.1 · Mt. 24.21 ·
Mk. 13.19 and have washed their robes, and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day
and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall
dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither
shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. Is. 49.10
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed
them, Ps. 23.1 · Ezek. 34.23 and shall lead them unto living
fountains of waters: Ps. 23.2 · Is. 49.10 and God shall wipe away all
tears from their eyes. Is. 25.8

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

An interlude before the opening of the 7th seal. Two visions, the
sealing of the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel, and the second of
the eternal blessedness of all believers in the presence of God.

Verse 1.
John sees four angels standing at the 4 extremes of direction –
NSEW. They were charged to hold the 4 winds of the earth from blowing
on the ground, the waters, or vegetation. This would cease

Verses 2,3.
Another angel enters from the east, the direction of the rising
sun. He calls upon the angels holding the winds to keep doing so
until the servants of God are sealed. This will be on their
foreheads, identifying them as belonging to the God of all creation
(our God). Whatever the mark, it represents the name of the Lamb and
the Father (cf. Revelation 14:1; 22:4). This guarantees their

Verse 4.
The number was heard: 144,000. 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes
of the children of Israel.

Verses 5-8.
Listed by tribe, from the oldest son to the youngest. Two
irregularities – Judah is listed first. Most likely as honorable as
the tribe Christ came from. Then the absence of Dan, replaced by
Manasseh (son of Joseph).

The Redeemed in Heaven – 7:9-17.

Verse 9.
A new vision unfolds: before the Lamb and the throne, an
innumerable multitude stood. They were from all nations, peoples,
backgrounds, and languages. They were clothed in white robes,
representing innocence and purity, victory and joy. This vision
depicts what happens after the world’s darkest days. The palm leaf
was an emblem of victory.

Verse 10.
This great multitude cries out in unison, as if with one loud
voice, to God and the Lamb: in joyful thanksgiving, and highest
praise for their Salvation. They are there only because of God’s plan
and purpose, as brought to pass through our Savior (the Lamb of God).

Verse 11.
The unnumbered angels, the elders, and the 4 beasts round about
the throne fall down prostrate before God, in response to the praise
of the saints. On their faces they praised and worshiped God.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 12.
They said amen to what the saints had cried out. They then
praise God for all His attributes that they are the beneficiaries of.
Their praise will continue in eternity as well their worship, awe,
and thanksgiving. Then a closing Amen. So be it. So let it be.

Verse 13.
One of the elders turns to John and asks if he knows who these
are in the white robes and where they came from. He knew this was the
question in John’s mind.

Verse 14.
John correctly replied that the elder knew the answer. The elder
proceeds to explain. They have come out of the Great Tribulation as
believers in Christ. Their white robes are representative of their
salvation as being washed by the blood of the Lamb of God, cleansing
them of their sin.

Verse 15.
For this reason they are here, before the throne of God. They
serve Him without ceasing in heaven which is His Temple. He will
continue to be with them.

Verse 16.
They will not experience any more physical hunger or thirst, or
discomfort of blazing light or heat.

Verse 17.
The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be The Great Shepherd,
and will take care of and fill them with eternal life in the presence
of God (feed and lead to the fountain of life). All causes of grief
and distress will be affectionately wiped away, never to reappear.
The Heavenly Father so loves His children.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 8.

The Seventh Seal

1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in
heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them
were given seven trumpets.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, Ex. 30.1 having a
golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he
should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar
which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the
saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the
altar, Lev. 16.12 and cast it into the earth: Ezek. 10.2 and there
were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. Rev.
11.19 ; 16.18

The Trumpets
6 ¶ And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared
themselves to sound.
7 ¶ The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire Ex.
9.23-25 mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and
the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt
8 ¶ And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain
burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the
sea became blood;
9 and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and
had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10 ¶ And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from
heaven, Is. 14.12 burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the
third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part
of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters,
because they were made bitter.
12 ¶ And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun
was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of
the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, Is. 13.10 ·
Ezek. 32.7 · Joel 2.10 and the day shone not for a third part of it,
and the night likewise.
13 ¶ And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of
heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of
the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three
angels, which are yet to sound!

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
The 7th seal is opened by Christ. There is a profound silence,
as a pause to consider the importance and climactic nature of what is
to be revealed. Heaven was in silence about half an hour.

Verse 2.
The 7 angels that stood before God, most likely the same as the
7 Spirits (1:4), were each given a trumpet.

Verse 3.
Another angel takes on the role of a priest as on the day of
expiation. He had a golden censer. He was given much incense. He went
then to the golden altar where he offered the incense.. This was
before the throne. The saints all prayed silently.
Verse 4.
The smoke of the incense (both seen and smelled) ascended as
representing the spiritual (invisible) prayers also ascending “up
before God”. The ascending means acceptance.

Verse 5.
Intercession is over. Now comes judgment. The censor is filled
with fire from the altar and is cast upon the earth. The prayers of
the saints play a part in bringing the judgment of God upon the earth
and the people (6:10 – how long). The results include lightnings,
thunders, earthquakes, and many cries (voices). This suggests great
commotions, confusion, fear, pain, calamities, and injuries.. This
was the first warning of what was yet to come.

Verse 6.
The seven angels that had the 7 trumpets got ready to play the
blasting sound – the signal of the army to attack. Here the blast
signaled the coming, in turn, of these 7 plagues, or great calamities
upon the earth.

Verse 7.
The first angel blew his horn: hail, fire, mingled with blood,
were cast upon the earth. One third of plant life was burned up – the
highest trees to the grass on the ground. This would bring great
distress to all people, dependent on plants (fruits and nut trees,
all forms of grain and vegetables). This was a dramatic warning from
God to bring the people (at enmity with God) to repent and be saved
from what was to come upon the earth.

Verse 8.
The 2nd angel sounded and a great mountain burning with fire was
cast into the sea and it became as red as blood. This description
suggests a gigantic volcano eruption that poured lava in great
quantities into the surrounding waters (sea) which killed everything

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

it came anywhere near. Also, the volcanic ash would have spread
through the air for many miles, catching on fire or killing whatever
it rained down upon.

Verse 9.
The results: 1/3rd of all sea life died. 1/3rd of ships were
also destroyed.

Verse 10.
The 3rd angel blew his trumpet. This signaled a burning start
(with a flame like a lamp) to fall from the sky. It fell to earth,
affecting 1/3rd of rivers and the springs from which they began
(fountains of waters).

Verse 11.
Its name was Wormwood. This describes its effects on the waters:
a very strong and bitter taste like the plant of that name, as well
as in this case, poisonous. This affected 1/3rd of the waters, which
then caused many people to die from drinking it.

Verse 12.
The 4th angel sounded. The result was a blocking of a 3rd part
of the sun’s light as well as that of the moon and stars. The days
light as well as the night’s was cut by 1/3rd. This is possibly the
volcanic cloud of ash that was created by the mountain in the 2nd
Trumpet calamity.

Verse 13.
An interruption – an angel flew through the midst of heaven.
John both saw and heard this: the angel loudly proclaimed 3 woes upon
the earth’s inhabitants that shall come from the following 3 trumpets
of the next 3 angels. The separation of the first 4 from the final 3:
the first 4 mainly affect nature; the final 3 will directly affect
people. The flight of the angel is suggested to be like a bird of
prey hovering overhead (eagle or vulture) as warning of impending

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson VII

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 9.

1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven
unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of
the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air
were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: Ex.
10.12-15 and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth
have power.
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of
the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those
men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. Ezek. 9.4
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but
that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as
the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it;
and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. Job. 3.21
7 ¶ And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared
unto battle; Joel 2.4 and on their heads were as it were crowns like
gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as
the teeth of lions. Joel 1.6
9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and
the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots Joel 2.5 of
many horses running to battle.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in
their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the
bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abad'don, but in
the Greek tongue hath his name Apol'ly-on.
12 ¶ One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more
13 ¶ And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four
horns of the golden altar Ex. 30.1-3 which is before God,
14 saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four
angels which are bound in the great river Euphra'tes.
15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an
hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part
of men.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred
thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on
them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and
the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their
mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire,
and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their
tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do
20 ¶ And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues
yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not
worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone,
and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Ps. 115.4-7 ;
135.15-17 · Dan. 5.4
21 neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries,
nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Continuation of the 7 angels blowing their trumpets.

Verse 1.
The 5th angel sounded. In 8:13 an angel announced throughout
heaven three woes that would come upon the earth by reason of the
three trumpets which were yet to sound.
The brightness of a star descends from heaven, then identified
as an angel with a mission from God, is given the key of the
bottomless pit. The abyss – the center of the earth.

Verse 2.
Apparently, there is a shaft with a locked door that leads down
to the bottomless pit. Once opened, smoke poured out from a great
furnace, darkening the sun and air.
Verse 3.
Out of the smoke came infernal demons in the form of a gigantic
swarm of locusts. They are given the stinging power of scorpions to
torment the people on earth. This poison caused great pain, but was
not fatal.

Verse 4.
They were commanded by God to not harm any vegetation – only
those persons without the seal of God in their foreheads.

Verse 5.
This torment was to last 5 months. That they were not killed
suggests that this period of time was for the people to assess their
sinful and wicked ways, repent and seek forgiveness. Again the
scorpion sting is mentioned as the type of pain being experienced.

Verse 6.
Those thus stricken will be in such continuous severe pain that
death is preferable to escape the pain. But as they pursue death, it
runs away from them. They will look for death, but they will not be
able to find it.

Verse 7.
These creatures are now described as seen individually. Overall
they appeared like unto horses prepared unto battle. They had faces
of men, crowned with gold. Strength, intelligence, readiness to
conquer and win.

Verse 8.
They had long haired manes (as of women) and teeth like lions.
The teeth emphasize ferocity. The flowing hair showed swift movement.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 9.
Their vulnerable parts were protected by iron breastplates.
These added to the sound of their coming (sound of their wings) and
chariots being a phalanx of horses and chariots galloping into

Verse 10.
Scorpion-like tails that had power to sting which hurt people
for five months.

Verse 11.
Their king was the angel in charge of the bottomless pit – named
Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon in Greek. These names mean destroyer or
place of destruction (Job 31:12; 28:22).

Verse 12.
This ends the first woe. Two more are coming. They increase in
intensity and severity.

Verse 13.
The 6th angel sounded his trumpet. A voice among four horns of
the altar which Is before God, spoke.

Verse 14.
The voice commanded the 6th angel to loose the 4 angels bound in
the Euphrates River. This is the Eastern boundary of Israel. This is
the judgment of retribution by God.

Verses 15,16.
The four angels were released. They were prepared for over a
year (a year, a month, and a day). Their mission is to slaughter
1/3rd of the people. This took an army of 200 million – an
uncountable number.

Verses 17,18.
They were a gigantic mass of a cavalry riding in hostile speed
to kill and conquer. With heads like lions, they breathed out fire
and brimstone. This is demonic in origin. These three were separate
plagues. The result is the destroying of one third of mankind, from
out of these horses’ lion-like mouths.

Verse 19.
They also have power to hurt, like the locusts, power in their
tails: serpents with heads of vipers. This suggests a connection to
“the old serpent”, the devil and his demons.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 20.
Those that were not killed did not repent for their idolatry –
their worship of false gods, for which they made statues and carving
of every kind of metal (gold, silver, brass) as well as stone and
wood. They have no power to see, hear, or walk, much less speak or
act. They were actually worshiping demonic forces (Deuteronomy 32:17;
I Corinthians 10:20). People maintain their delusion and continue to
serve these false gods.

Verse 21.
They also did not turn away from their evil, greed, and hatred:
murder, sorcery, theft and sexual sins. This would include the
killing of Christians.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 10.

The Angel and the Little Book

1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed
with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it
were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
2 and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right
foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he
had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was
about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal
up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth
lifted up his hand to heaven,
6 and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created
heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the
things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are
therein, that there should be time no longer:
7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall
begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath
declared to his servants the prophets. Dan. 12.7
8 ¶ And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again,
and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of
the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little
book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make
thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it
up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten
it, my belly was bitter. Ezek. 2.8--3.3
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many
peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
A strong angel now appears to John, coming down out of heaven
(John here on earth). His face is bright as the sun’s surrounded by a
rainbow and a cloud around him. His feet appear as made of fire.
These things around and part of the angel may suggest the covenants
of God with man. The rainbow that with Noah. The feet of fire and the
cloud God’s landing in the wilderness in the Exodus from Egyptian
bondage. The book, the tablet of the Commandments.

Verse 2.
This is a small book, already open in the angel’s hand. As he
reaches the earth, the angel places one foot (the right on the sea,
the other on the land. This suggests authority over both. Also that
this is a very large angel.
Verse 3.
His voice is powerful and very loud, as a lion’s roar, deep and
resonant. So much so that seven thunders are heard in response. Such
dramatic noise suggests agitation and destruction (judgment and
divine retribution). Apparently each thunder spoke as with a voice.

Verse 4.
As John was about to write what he heard the voices say, a voice
came from heaven and told him not to record them. They are to be
sealed in secrecy.

Verses 5,6.
At that point the angel (one foot on sea, one on land),
dramatically lifts up his right hand pointing to heaven (God’s
dwelling place). He begins to swear by the authority of the eternal
Creator of all things - in heaven, in earth, in the sea – all delay
is over. God’s plan and purpose in creation and redemption is going
to be completed. This is the final cataclysmic period of human
history. Restraint will be removed. The Antichrist will come forth.
There will be no further opportunity for people to repent. The
confrontation of God’s forces and those of the Adversary battle.
Daniel 12:1 - “the time of trouble, such as never has been.” (Also
see Mark 13:19.) All remains under the sovereign control of God.

Verse 7.
When the 7th angel sounds his trumpet, all that God planned in
creation will be brought to completion. This mystery of God as
formerly revealed to his prophets will be openly accomplished. The
time is now. “Thy kingdom in earth so it is in heaven” is no longer
to be delayed.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 8.
Again the voice from heaven speaks to John. He is told to go to
the “strong angel” and take the little open book from his hand. The
angel has remained standing where he first landed on earth.

Verses 9,10.
John proceeds to the angel and tells him that he (the angel)
should give him the book. The angel tells John to take it, then adds
further instructions. He is told to eat the book, and that it will
taste as sweet as honey in his mouth, but later it will make his
belly bitter. This reminds us of the experience of Ezekiel (Ezekiel
2:8-3:3). He is given a scroll of lamentation and mourning, and told
to eat it. He found it to be as sweet as honey in his mouth. Also see
Jeremiah 5:16. This act describes the complete and continual
possession of the book (and of course its prophetic contents). It is
digested and becomes part of the eater’s very being. The most likely
and reasonable as to the little book’s contents is the information
given in the following chapter.
There are many speculations about the contents of the little
book by a variety of commentators. Enough said.

Verse 11.
Now John is told to prophesy again about many peoples, nations,
tongues and kings. It is generally thought that this message is to
believers about to enter the final time of persecution (11:1-13 – the
Church in the Last Days). (Who have the seal of God.)

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson VIII

The little book, the two witnesses, and prophecy.

At the end of the previous chapter John was on earth and told to
take the little book by the mighty angel that stood with one foot on
the land, and one on the sea. He was told to eat it up, tasting sweet
but once swallowed, it would be bitter. It contained prophecies about
all peoples of the earth. Believers are going to pass through
martyrdom in the final period of persecution. This is the final act
in God’s creative and redemptive purpose. The supernatural world is
revealed at work behind the actions of people and nations. As also
all previous prophecies, they lead to the final destruction of evil
and the eternal blessing of God.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 11.

The Two Witnesses
1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel
stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, Ezek. 40.3 and
the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure
it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall
they tread under foot Lk. 21.24 forty and two months.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall
prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in
4 ¶ These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks
standing before the God of the earth. Zech. 4.3
5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their
mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he
must in this manner be killed.
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of
their prophecy: 1 Kgs. 17.1 and have power over waters to turn them
to blood, Ex. 7.17-19 and to smite the earth with all plagues, as
often as they will.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast
that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit Dan. 7.3 · Rev. 13.5-7 ;
17.8 shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, Dan. 7.21
and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city,
which spiritually is called Sodom Is. 1.9, 10 and Egypt, where also
our Lord was crucified.
9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations
shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not
suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and
make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two
prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

11 And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God
entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; Ezek. 37.10 and
great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come
up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; 2 Kgs. 2.11 and
their enemies beheld them.
13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, Rev. 6.12 ;
16.18 and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were
slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and
gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 ¶ The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh

The Seventh Trumpet

15 ¶ And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in
heaven, saying,
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and
of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. Dan. 7.14, 27
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their
seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 saying,
We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and
art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and
hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of
the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give
reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them
that fear thy name, small and great; Ps. 115.13 and shouldest destroy
them which destroy the earth.
19 ¶ And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen
in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings,
and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, Rev. 8.5 ; 16.18 and
great hail. Rev. 16.21

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
After eating the book, now John is directed to measure the
temple of God with a reed or rod of appropriate length. He is to
measure the outside dimensions, the altar and the worshipers within.
This was a symbol of preserving those within as true believers will
be spiritually safe, though they may have to pass through physical
suffering and death.

Verse 2.
The outer court will not be counted, as outside of the Temple,
belonging to the nations. The holy city will be under control of the
world for 42 months. Also known as the times of the Gentiles (Luke
The Two Witnesses. (Verses 3-14.)

Verse 3.
They are sent to prophesy 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. They
are described in verses 5,6 as having the powers of Elijah and Moses:
to consume with fire, shut up the rain, turn water into blood and
smite with plagues. Also that they appeared with Jesus at the
Transfiguration (Mark 9:4). Some suggest that they come in the spirit
and power of the two prophets. Theirs is a call to repentance.
Sackcloth was the garb of mourning and penitence.

Verse 4.
The two witnesses are identified as the two olive trees and two
lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. As two lampstands
they burn forth with the light and power of God, the two olive trees
bring continuing supply of oil (power of the Spirit), which keeps the
lamps burning.

Verses 5,6.
The fire will protect them from their enemies. Fire proceeding
out of their mouths parallels that of Elijah against his enemies in
II Kings 1. Fire fell from heaven at the word spoken by the prophet.
Also, the power to stop the rain, also done by Elijah (I Kings
17:1), which lasted three and a half years. Also water turned into
blood and plagues (Exodus 7:2; Exodus 8:12).

Verse 7.
When their ministry is fulfilled, they are no longer protected
from physical harm. The being that confronts them is identified as
the beast that cometh up from the abyss – the domain of demons. At
this point his role is to fight and kill the two witnesses. He will
be successful. He will also be mentioned later. (Chapters 13 and 17.)

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 8.
The bodies of the two witnesses are left in the wide street of
the city. They were not considered worthy of burial, but as refuse.
The city is described as like Sodom (full of the worst kind of
iniquity and unbelief), and Egypt (the place of slavery and every
kind of idolatry and cruelty). And the place of Christ’s crucifixion.
This suggests that Jerusalem has reached the epitome of evil at this

Verse 9.
Their bodies are left for three and a half days. They were seen
by the general public over the entire time as a gory spectacle.

Verse 10.
When the followers of the beast realize they are dead, they are
overjoyed and declare a celebration, even with gifts being exchanged.
They that dwell on the earth joined in, suggesting this was widely

Verse 11.
But after the three and a half days, God sends the breath of new
life into what remained of their bodies, and they stand up again.

Ezekiel 37:10 -
“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into
them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding
great army.”

Verse 12.
A great voice from heaven was heard, addressed to the
transformed two witnesses. They were summoned to ‘come up hither.
They ascended and entered heaven in the clouds. This was also
witnessed by their enemies looking on.

Verse 13.
In the same hour as the witnesses were taken up, a great
earthquake levels 1/10th of the city. Seven thousand people are
killed as a result. Those that lived through this event recognized
this as God’s judgment and in their fear ‘gave glory to the God of
heaven’. (See Ezekiel 38:19,20.) Only great fear caused this
immediate response.

Verse 14.
This announces the end of the 2nd Woe. The 3rd is quickly to come.
This woe is preceded first by several other events that are revealed.

Verse 15.
The 7th angel sounds his trumpet. Immediately those in heaven
began speaking, announcing the triumph of the Kingdom of God and His
Christ. The heavenly hosts make the declaration.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verses 16,17.
The 24 elders who sit before God on their thrones (last
mentioned in 7:11). Again they have knelt before the throne,
worshiping God. They said together -
“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast,
and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and
hast reigned.”
This is so certain that it is spoken of as already taking place.

Verse 18.
This reign is established by God’s dealing with first the
unbelieving world. It will receive God’s wrath and be destroyed
(those that destroy the earth). Their dead shall be judged. Second,
those that are true believers (that fear Thy name) will be rewarded.
This includes the prophets (Thy servants), the saints, and all that
call upon the name of the Lord (the small and the great).
Verse 19.
The Temple of God in heaven is now open to view and the focal
point is the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s love, mercy,
and grace in His gift of the Gospel of His Son. It is perfect, the
Truth, the Way, and the Life, eternal and certain. While the faithful
are rewarded in heaven, those on the earth will receive the
outpouring of God’s wrath: thunder and violent sounds, lightnings, an
earthquake and large hail.


A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson IX

A great sign is seen in heaven. It shows forth in images the

struggle of the forces of God against the forces of evil. This is the
consummation of the struggle.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 12.

The Woman and the Dragon

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed
with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown
of twelve stars: Gen. 37.9
2 and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained
to be delivered. Mic. 4.10
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great
red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, Dan. 7.7 and seven
crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did
cast them to the earth: Dan. 8.10 and the dragon stood before the
woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as
soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, Is. 66.7 who was to rule all
nations with a rod of iron: Ps. 2.9 and her child was caught up unto
God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place
prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two
hundred and threescore days.
7 ¶ And there was war in heaven: Michael Dan. 10.13, 21 ; 12.1 ·
Jude 9.1--0.1 and his angels fought against the dragon; and the
dragon fought and his angels,
8 and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, Gen. 3.1
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was
cast out into the earth, Lk. 10.18 and his angels were cast out with
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,
Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and
the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren Job. 1.9-11
is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word
of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to
the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come
down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath
but a short time.
13 ¶ And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he
persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she
might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

for a time, and times, and half a time, Dan. 7.25 ; 12.7 from the
face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the
woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman; and the earth opened her mouth,
and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war
with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and
have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
A woman is seen, arrayed with the sun, the moon under her feet,
a crown with 12 stars upon her head. She represents the people of
God. She is clothed in sunlight, she has dominion over the moon. The
crown depicts royalty, the stars the 12 tribes of Israel.

Verse 2.
She is about to give birth. She is in great pain (travail). She
wishes to be delivered, the agony of expectation. the child will be
the Messiah.

Verse 3.
A second sign is seen: A great red, seven headed dragon. He is
the old serpent, the Devil and Satan. (See verse 9.) The red
represents the blood of his murders from the beginning. It has seven
heads and ten horns (similar to the beast in Daniel 7). This suggests
he is wielding power over the whole earth, with the diadems on his
heads as an imitation of true royalty (a cheaper copy).

Verse 4.
He is described as drawing a 3rd part of the angels (stars) of
heaven with him as he is cast upon the earth. His purpose is to
destroy (devour) the child of the woman about to give birth. He stood
in front of her at the ready. This pictures the violent forces that
worked against Jesus throughout His life and only ended in His death
at the cross.

Verse 5.
The woman gives birth to a male child. His destiny is to rule
all the nations with a rod of iron. This means with judgment and
power. The purpose of satan was not successful. The child was caught
up to God and His throne. As He was unable to thwart the birth,
ministry, and resurrection of Christ is shown by the ascension
described. So, satan cannot stop the establishment of Christ on the
throne of David as His second coming to rule the earth in His
Millennial Reign.

Verse 6.
The woman flees into the wilderness, to a place already
prepared, to be sustained for 1260 days. She will be safe in this
period of severe persecution.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verses 7-12 describe a different scene – this takes place in


Verse 7.
A war is taking place: Michael and his angels against the dragon
and his angels. He and his cohorts are being driven from the presence
of God. They are cast down into the earthly realm. Knowing his time
is short, in great wrath he seeks to destroy any believers in God and
Christ. Michael the archangel is the chief and leader of God’s holy

Verse 8.
The dragon and his followers did not prevail. They were driven
out of heaven, never to return. He could no longer accuse the
faithful before God. His voice would never be heard in God’s
Verse 9.
The dragon and his cohorts are cast down to the earth. He is
identified by all his names: the great dragon, the old serpent, the
devil, satan, the deceiver of the whole world. Satan meant adversary,
an accuser. Devil meant slanderer. All of this from the beginning in
the garden.

Verse 10.
A great voice from heaven clearly names him as accuser of
brethren before God day and night. His being cast down to earth
signals the result of the power of God that will now provide
salvation, and His kingdom under Christ’s authority on earth.

Verse 11.
Satan is not only defeated by Michael and the holy angels, but
even on earth. He cannot overcome those who belong to Christ. They
overcame him by the blood of the Lamb; their speaking the Word of God
in the Gospel of His Son. The threat of death would not make them
give up their faith. As the end comes closer satan’s hostility will
increase but will not overcome God’s elect.

Verse 12.
Now that satan is cast out, there is great rejoicing in heaven
by all the heavenly host. At the same time it is a time of great
peril for the earth and the sea and the people. The devil has but a
short time and in fervent anger wishes destruction and mayhem upon
all creation. He only brings woe.

Verse 13.
Now there is war on earth. Now on earth the woman (true Israel)
who gave birth to the man child (the Messiah) is the target of the
dragon’s fierce anger (he persecuted her).

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 14.
Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, to fly
into the wilderness, to the place prepared, where she will be safe
and cared for (nourished) for 3 and 1/2 years (the great
tribulation). The serpent will not find her. This is as the people of
Israel and the Church have been continually treated with hostility by
the world (as was Jesus).

Verse 15.
The serpent’s response is to open its mouth and send forth a
great flood of water to overtake and overwhelm the woman. The water
symbolizes the only things that come out of its mouth: evil, lies,
deceit, darkness, hatred, tribulation, and pain.

Verse 16.
The earth itself provided protection by diverting the evil flood
from reaching the woman. A chasm was opened, which took into the
earth all of the water (the evil) that the dragon had spewed out of
his mouth.

Verse 17.
The dragon’s anger is only increased by his failure to destroy
the woman. His response is to find, persecute, and destroy the rest
of her seed. They were identified as true believers, followers of
God, keepers of His Commandments, and ‘hold the testimony of Jesus’.
He that is darkness only desires to put all the lights out. Only then
can he rule with impunity and absolute authority and abandon. But it
must be remembered that he has not the power nor the wisdom to bring
that to pass.


A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson X

The dragon calls upon two beasts to help him carry out this war
on the faithful. The entities are represented as beasts: their
descriptions are of their attributes – ferocious, wicked, and
empowered by satan.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 13.

The Two Beasts

1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up
out of the sea, Dan. 7.3 having seven heads and ten horns, and upon
his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. Rev.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet
were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion:
Dan. 7.4-6 and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his
deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast:
and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast?
who is able to make war with him?
5 ¶ And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and
blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, Dan. 7.8, 25 ;
11.36 to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell
in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to
overcome them: Dan. 7.21 and power was given him over all kindreds,
and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names
are not written in the book of life Ps. 69.28 of the Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: Jer.
15.2 he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
11 ¶ And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he
had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him,
and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the
first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down
from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those
miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying
to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to
the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that
the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as
would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free
and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their
17 and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or
the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number
of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six
hundred threescore and six.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verses 1-10. The First Beast.

Verse 1.
The first 9 words: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea”. This
apparently completes the sentence of the ending verse of the previous
chapter, where it leaves the dragon.
The rest of the verse records what John saw coming up out of the
sea. It seems obvious that the dragon summoned this beast.
Some have suggested that its coming from the sea represents
humanity. It is described in detail as it appears: seven heads, ten
horns, ten diadems, names of blasphemy on the heads. In chapter 17 an
angel gives a detailed interpretation of the beast and its rider. The
7 horns are 7 kings. The diadems on the horns show royal authority,
they held it by brute force – the horns. The names of blasphemy
suggest their claims to divine power and authority, even as gods. The
number 7 of the heads relates to the 7 headed dragon (12:3) and
copies the completeness of God’s creation (7 days).
The body was like a leopard, feet of a bear, mouth of a lion.
They represent strength, speed, lethality of claws and teeth. He was
given power, authority, and a throne.

Verse 3.
One of the beasts’ heads has been mortally wounded (by a sword:
13:13). However, the wound is healed. Seen as a great miracle, the
whole world was in awe of such an event (they wondered after him in
amazement). In verse 14 it is the beast that received the death
stroke and lived. (The one king – the head – takes over all the
others. The whole beast, then, represents all the kingdoms.)

Verse 4.
All the people worship both the dragon and the beast. The dragon
gave his authority to the beast. Because of his power and ultimate
authority, the people worship the beast. He has the power of life or
death over them. There is no one else like him; it is unthinkable to
fight against him.

Verse 5.
The beast utters great blasphemies. His claims include speaking
of his greatness above all others on earth and in heaven. Its power
was given, but limited to a period of 42 months (3 and 1/2 years).

Verse 6.
His blasphemies even go against God, even the Temple, where He
is worshiped, and those in heaven – angelic beings and the souls of
the true believers. His motive in putting all that is of God down so
he can put himself in the place of God. Eventually to demand to be
worshiped as God.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 7.
The beast has power over all of humanity, a one world
government. He has power to put the saints to death. It must not be
forgotten that he is given this authority by the dragon, and also
that this is prophesied as part of God’s plan and He is in ultimate
control of all things at all times.

Verse 8.
All the people of the world will worship the beast. The only
exceptions will be those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s
book of life. Jesus had spoken about the coming false Christ who
would perform signs and wonders (Matthew 24:24). The Lamb is
identified as the one that “hath been slain”.

Verse 9.
Any who has an ear (any sense) should pay careful attention to
what has been said, and what follows.

Verse 10.
Those who capture and lock up the saints will also suffer the
same fate. Those who kill the saints by the sword will also be killed
by the sword. The faith and patience of the saints will carry them
through. God will see to the persecutors and murderers in due time.

Verses 11-18. The Second Beast.

Verse 11.
This beast arises out of the earth. He has two horns as of a
lamb and spoke like a dragon. He will later be called The False
Prophet. The lamb’s horns are to deceive, pretending to be gentle and
harmless. To speak like a dragon points to the original serpent as
deceitful and enticing in Eden. The whole purpose of this beast is to
convince people to worship the first beast. He is the head of all
religious power. This will all be used, as well as miracles, to call
for the worship of a human being as God.
Verse 12.
The first beast is given the authority of the dragon (the second
beast). The first beast exercises that authority. The second beast
acts as the prophet of the first beast, to carry out his desires: to
cause all mankind to worship the first beast, whose death blow was

Verse 13.
The greatest sign will be fire being made to come down out of
the sky in people’s sight. This is an imitation of Elijah. Paul also
mentioned this in II Thessalonians 2:9.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 14.
These signs will convince (deceive) all the inhabitants of the
earth, in the presence of the beast. This false prophet calls upon
the people to make an image (a statue) of the Beast that was killed
by the sword but lived.

Verse 15.
The second beast is given the power to bring the image to life,
the image then speaks. It demands to be worshiped. Anyone who refuses
is to be put to death.

Verse 16.
To prove their worship and loyalty to the beast (and his image),
every person, no matter their wealth, social standing, free or slave,
must receive the mark: upon forehead or right hand.
Verse 17.
Without this mark no person will be allowed to buy or sell
anything. It is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Verse 18.
His number, that of a man: 666. This calls upon understanding.
It is wisdom to try to figure this out. From that time to this,
people have conjectured about various possible people this number
could represent. Various formulas have been used to figure this. When
this beast appears, all conjecture will be unnecessary.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XI

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 14.

The Song of the 144,000

1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with
him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name
written in their foreheads. Ezek. 9.4 · Rev. 7.3
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers
harping with their harps:
3 and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and
before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that
song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed
from the earth.
4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are
virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God
and to the Lamb.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: 3.13 for they are without
fault before the throne of God.

The Messages of the Three Angels

6 ¶ And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the
everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and
to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7 saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for
the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven,
and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
8 ¶ And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen,
is fallen, that great city, Is. 21.9 · Rev. 18.2 because she made all
nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
9 ¶ And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice,
If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in
his forehead, or in his hand,
10 the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is
poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; Is. 51.17
and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone Gen. 19.24 in the
presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:
Is. 34.10 and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast
and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
12 ¶ Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep
the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13 ¶ And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the
Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do
follow them.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The Harvest of the Earth

14 ¶ And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one
sat like unto the Son of man, Dan. 7.13 having on his head a golden
crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud
voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap:
for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth
is ripe. Joel 3.13
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth;
and the earth was reaped.
17 ¶ And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven,
he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over
fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle,
saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the
vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered
the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the
wrath of God.
20 And the winepress was trodden Is. 63.3 · Rev. 19.15 without the
city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse
bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verses 1-5. The Lamb and the Redeemed on Mt. Zion.

Verse 1.
John is given a vision of the 144,000 standing on Mt. Zion the
sacred site of Jerusalem. Upon their foreheads is the Lamb’s name,
and that of His Father. This marks their complete allegiance to
Christ and the Father. They are overcomers.

Verses 2,3.
A voice from heaven is now heard: described as the sound of many
waters, thunder, and many harps, all together. They sing (the
144,000) a new song before God’s throne, the 4 living creatures and
the elders. Only they have experienced deliverance and victory. They
were bought by the blood of the Lamb. Only they can sing this song.
Verse 4.
The 144,000 are described as virgins, undefiled, followers of
the Lamb continually. This suggests they are the promised bride of
Christ. They were set apart (purchased) from among men, as the first-
fruits of those that will come to God through Christ.

Verse 5.
As redeemed lambs they are without blemish or spot (living).

Verses 6-20. Visions of the Final Judgment.

Verses 6,7.
John now sees another angel. It is flying in mid-heaven with an
announcement to proclaim to all the people of the earth (nation,
tribe, tongue, and people). The angle proclaims with a great voice:
Fear God, give Him glory for His judgment is come. Worship him as
creator of all things. The eternal good tidings as man’s final chance
to turn to God and worship and honor Him as Creator.
Verse 8.
A second angel follows the first, proclaiming: Babylon the great
is doubly fallen. This points back to the city of Nebuchadnezzar and
its power and great empire, as well as its moral corruption. It was
the great enemy of God and His people (Daniel 4:30). This was also
the same situation under the Roman Empire and its rulers – the pagan
spirit of worshiping the power of the state, its gods and emperors.
Jeremiah 51:7 – drinking her wine the nations went mad. This brings
about the wrath of God. Her fornication seduced the nations (as being
drunk with it).

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verses 9,10.
A third angel appears to proclaim the fate of all those that
worshiped the image of the beast, and had the beast’s mark upon
forehead and hand. Their punishment will be worse than just being put
to death (as the beast had those without his mark killed).

Verse 11.
The cup of God’s anger is filled with the wine of His wrath.
They shall be tormented with fire and brimstone eternally as
witnessed by the holy angels and the Lamb. There will be smoke going
up, and no rest, day or night.

Verse 12.
The believers are tested by the threat of capital punishment.
They must remain faithful, steadfast, and obedient to Jesus.
Verse 13.
A voice from heaven spoke. It told John to write the following:
Blessed are those that die in the Lord; they will rest from their
labors; their works will be remembered. That this was to be written
emphasizes its importance and authority from God. This promises
eternal life and blessing. The Spirit affirms by adding ‘yea’,
meaning and emphatic ‘oh yes’. The works are a part of what a person
is, and cannot be separated from them.

Verses 14,15,16. The Harvest of the Earth.

These verses are simple, clear, and straightforward.

Verse 14.
John sees a white cloud. On it sits a son of man, with a golden
crown on his head, his hand holding a sharp sickle.

Verse 15.
An angel comes out of the temple, speaking loudly, telling the
man that the harvest of earth is ripe, to go forth with a sickle and

Verse 16.
The man threw his sickle onto the earth and it was reaped. This
is describing a grain harvest. The son of man is the risen Christ
(1:13; Daniel 7:13). The crown is authority, and right and power. The
sickle is the means to conquer in judgment.
The angel came from the presence of God (the temple) to announce
the time has come to reap. The son of man sends the sickle and the
earth is reaped.
It has been suggested that this harvest would include the wheat
and the tares as in the parable of Jesus (Matthew 13:30,40-42). The
elect are gathered and saved. The wicked are gathered and burned. In
Jeremiah 51:33, and Hosea 6:11 the harvest is the symbol of divine

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

The Vintage of the Earth (verses 17-20).

Verse 17.
These verses describe the harvest of the grapes. Another angel
came out from the heavenly temple, directly from God. He also had a
sharp sickle.

Verse 18.
Another angel came out from the altar. He had power over fire.
With a loud voice he directed the angel with the sickle to send it
forth to gather the clusters of the vine of the earth: her grapes
were fully ripe. Coming from the altar, which is connected with the
prayers of the righteous. This angel commands the angel with the
sharp sickle to begin the harvest. The time had arrived. The grapes
are fully ripe.
Verse 19.
The angel does so, taking the sickle and gathers the vintage. It
is cast into the winepress of the wrath of God. This vintage includes
those who were obstinately choosing to be the enemies of God.

Verse 20.
This winepress is outside of the city – most likely Jerusalem.
As Christ suffered for man’s sins outside of the city, those who
rejected Him will be judged for that sin in refusing the gift of God.
The result of the harvest in the winepress yields a flow of blood
that is so great as to reach the bridles of the horses, to the very
borders of Israel. Sixteen hundred furlongs is the approximate length
of Palestine.


A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XII

The Seven Last Plagues. (The Bowl Plagues.)

Preparation – chapter 15:1-8. The shortest in this Book. It

begins with 7 angels who receive the 7 bowls of divine wrath to be
poured upon the entire pagan world (chapter 16. Those victorious over
the beast stand by the heavenly sea, and praise God.

These 7 bowls are the 3rd series: 1st is seals, 2nd is trumpets,
3rd is bowls.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 15.

The Angels with the Last Plagues

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven
angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the
wrath of God.
2 ¶ And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and
them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image,
and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea
of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses Ex. 15.1 the servant of God, and
the song of the Lamb, saying,

Great and marvelous are thy works,

Lord God Almighty;
just and true are thy ways,
thou King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? Jer. 10.7

For thou only art holy:

for all nations shall come and worship before thee; Ps. 86.9
for thy judgments are made manifest.
5 ¶ And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the
tabernacle of the testimony Ex. 40.34 in heaven was opened:
6 and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven
plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts
girded with golden girdles.
7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven
golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
8 And the temple was filled with smoke 1 Kgs. 8.10, 11 · 2 Chr.
5.13, 14 · Is. 6.4 from the glory of God, and from his power; and no
man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the
seven angels were fulfilled.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
John is given another heavenly vision: 7 angels that are to
deliver divine wrath against the ungodly. These 7 are the last
plagues finishing God’s wrath. All that is left to the impenitent is

Verses 2-4.
Another scene: a glistening sea as of a crystal floor. Standing
upon it are the overcomers. They did not give in to the beast, his
image, or his number. They valued not their lives, but only their
faith and allegiance to God and Christ.
They are pictured here holding heavenly harps. They also sing
the song of Moses and that of the Lamb. All praise. The marvelous
works of Lord God, the Almighty, righteous and true, King of the
ages. Thus the song incorporates the great deliverance under Moses,
the salvation brought by the Lamb.
Who shall not fear, O Lord and glorify Thy Name? The final
outcome will be for all the nations to come and worship Him, as a
result of His righteous acts being openly shown as true and right and

Verses 5,6.
Next, John saw the temple of heaven opened, the appointed of
angels to carry the plagues came out. The temple of the testimony
refers back to the tabernacle that held the Tables of the Law that
Moses brought from the Mountain. These angels came out from the
presence of God. They are arrayed all bright and glittering with
precious stones on their robes and belts of gold.

Verse 7.
Each of the four living creatures gave the 7 golden bowls of the
wrath of God. God,, we are reminded, is eternal, always able to
punish all that are against Him.
Verse 8.
After the bowls were delivered, the temple was filled with smoke
– the symbol of the glory and power of God. This is recorded in the
Old Testament. (Exodus 19:18; Exodus 40:34; Isaiah 6:4.) This show of
power was to demonstrate His control of His wrath to be carried out;
His judgment just and certain. No one can stop or dissuade Him. No
one could enter the Temple to attempt it. Only after the 7 plagues
were completed would the Temple again allow anyone within.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Chapter 16:1-21.

The Bowl Plagues: universal and final. They are poured out one
right after the other, without interlude.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 16.

The Vials of Wrath

1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven
angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon
the earth.
2 ¶ And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth;
and there fell a noisome and grievous sore Ex. 9.10 upon the men
which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his
3 ¶ And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it
became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the
4 ¶ And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and
fountains of waters; and they became blood. Ex. 7.17-21
5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O
Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou
hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God
Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
8 ¶ And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and
power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name
of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to
give him glory.
10 ¶ And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the
beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; Ex. 10.21 and they
gnawed their tongues for pain,
11 and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and
their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
12 ¶ And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river
Euphra'tes; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the
kings of the east might be prepared. Is. 11.15, 16
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth
of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the
mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go
forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather
them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Mt. 24.43, 44 · Lk. 12.39, 40 · Rev.
3.3 Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he
walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew
tongue Armaged'don. 2 Kgs. 23.29 · 2 Chr. 35.22

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

17 ¶ And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and
there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the
throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there
was a great earthquake, Rev. 8.5 ; 11.13, 19 such as was not since
men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities
of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before
God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his
wrath. Is. 51.17
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Rev. 6.14
21 And there fell upon men a great hail Ex. 9.23 · Rev. 11.19 out
of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men
blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague
thereof was exceeding great.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
The command comes from the Temple, the voice of God. The 7
angels are to go now to pour out the 7 bowls of God’s wrath ‘into the

Verse 2.
The 1st bowl is poured out; it causes boils and abscesses to
break out on the ones that had the beast’s mark and had worshiped his
image. (Job 2:7,8.)

Verse 3.
The 2nd angel pours his bowl into the sea. It turns into blood
as that of a dead man, decomposing and rotting. No sea life survives:
every living soul dies.
Verse 4.
The 3rd bowl is poured upon the other sources of water: rivers
and springs. It also turns to deadly blood and kills all who drink

Verses 5,6.
This angel speaks out, naming God as the Holy One, the
Righteous, the One Who did so as Judge. He is timeless. Because these
people had poured ‘out the blood of the saints and prophets, their
just reward is to drink blood and die.

Verse 7.
Another voice cries out. This one from the altar. Calling praise
to Lord God, the Almighty, Whose judgments are true and righteous.

Verse 8.
The 4th bowl was poured out upon the sun. By God’s command it
must scorch men with fire.
Verse 9.
This heat was intense. People’s response, now acknowledging God
as the source of these plagues, is not reverence or repentance, but
blasphemy against Him.

Verse 10.
The 5th bowl was poured out upon the very seat of the beast’s
power: his throne. This darkness also settles upon his kingdom. Pain
becomes so distressing that people gnaw their tongues in pain.

Verse 11.
These people continued to blaspheme the God of heaven because of
their sores and pain. Their was no repentance for what evil they had
done. Their hearts were like stone, their suffering continues.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 12.
The 6th angel poured out his bowl upon the great Euphrates
River. Its waters were dried up. This was to make it easy for the
kings from the East (the rising sun) to quickly reach Israel.

Verse 13.
A change of scene: the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon.
From their mouths are seen these unclean spirits leaping out like
frogs (demons).

Verse 14.
These spirits are to go out to the kings of the whole earth,
working signs, to convince them to gather their armies to come
together against Israel to the battle against the Almighty God and
His Anointed (seen in detail in 19:11-21 and also Joel 3:2).
Verse 15.
A parenthetical warning to believers. They are to expect Christ
to come as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:42-44; I Thessalonians
5:2). They are to remain watchful – not be caught by surprise (as
sleeping, undressed for battle). They will receive a blessing from
the Lord.

Verse 16.
The plain south of Mt. Carmel in northern Israel has been the
scene of several major battles. It is obviously the location where
the various nations and their armies are gathered for the final
battle against God.

Verse 17.
The seventh bowl is poured out upon the air. Again a great voice
comes out of the Temple, from the throne: it said, “It is done.”

Verse 18.
The great voice is accompanied by voices: lightnings and
thunders all over the world. And then an earthquake, greater than all
others. No greater has ever been experienced by man.. It shakes the
entire earth.

Verse 19.
The great city is divided into 3 parts (not named) and all
cities of the nations were decimated. Babylon the great received
special mention, having been the place of the greatest evil power and
blasphemy against God. God remembered their abominations and gave
them the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

Verse 20.
The great earthquake causes all islands to be moved, broken up
and disappear into the waters. Mountains are shattered and crumble to
vast areas of rubble.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 21.
The climax of God’s wrath brings 100 pound hailstones falling
down from the skies upon the earth. This again causes mankind to
blaspheme God.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XIII

The Fall of Babylon.

This city is almost universally acknowledged as representing the

actual city of Rome. It was the great power of the civilized world
that opposed the cause of Jesus Christ.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 17.

The Judgment of the Great Harlot

1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven
vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show
unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many
waters; Jer. 51.13
2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and
the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of
her fornication. Jer. 51.7
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I
saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of
blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Rev. 13.1
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and
decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup
Jer. 51.7 in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her
5 and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and
with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
¶ And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will
tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth
her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out
of the bottomless pit, Dan. 7.3 · Rev. 11.7 and go into perdition:
and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not
written in the book of life Ps. 69.28 from the foundation of the
world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are
seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the
other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and
is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, Dan. 7.24
which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one
hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength
unto the beast.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome
them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are
with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
15 ¶ And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the
whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall
hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat
her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to
agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God
shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which
reigneth over the kings of the earth.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

The Harlot and the Scarlet Beast.

Verse 1.

One of the seven bowl angels comes to John and tells him to go
with the angel. He will be shown the judgment of the great harlot,
that sits on many waters. The harlot was used in the Old Testament to
represent peoples and nations that turned from God and indulged in
lewdness, promiscuity with pagan gods and violence, pursuing power
and luxury, and against the people of God with Death. This figure
stands for the final world power at the close of history. It is
generally thought this describes the extended Roman Empire. Upon many
waters refers to the spread of the Roman form of government
throughout the world by colonization. Verse 5 identifies the harlot
with Mystery, Babylon the Great. This city and empire were the
precursor of the abomination and godlessness of Rome.

Verse 2.
These empires cause those under them (kings of the earth) to
participate in the godless fornication, worship of lust and worship
of their emperor (the harlot) and their god: the beast. Their
behavior is described as intoxicated by these seductive practices (as
with strong wine).

Verse 3.
John is carried away in the Spirit into the wilderness to see
the vision of the harlot sitting on a scarlet beast – 7 heads and 10
horns, covered with blasphemous names. This beast rose out of the sea
in Chapter 13. It is ferocious and terrifying to look at. The
blasphemous names are its claims of deity, titles of power and divine

Verse 4.
The woman on the beast is luxuriously arrayed in the most
expensive fabric in royal colors. Also decked out with jewelry of
gold, with precious stones and pearls. In her hand she holds a golden
cup filled with the intoxicating things she is involved in and offers
to all (made up of the impurities, corrupt, unclean), all of the
lusts of evil, selfish, carnal abominations.

Verse 5.
On her forehead her name is written for all to see. The first
word, “Mystery”, suggests a secret meaning. Only the initiated will
understand the full meaning. Babylon the Great, the power that leads
away from God and to destruction. It corrupts with luxury and great
power. Her great goal was to spread her harlotry and abominations all
over the world. She was the first and foremost (the mother), the
example: precursor and instructor of all the harlots and abominations
in the world.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 6.
The woman was acting intoxicated. She was this way as a result
of one of the activities of her empire: to kill any that believe in
God and Jesus. Their blood was spilled and she drank it in triumph.
This was not what he had expected to see. He was shocked.

Verse 7.
The angel is surprised at John’s reaction. He will explain what
this vision means: about the woman and the beast she sat on (7 heads,
10 horns). The rest of this chapter primarily deals with the beast.
Chapter 18 deals with the harlot.

Verse 8.
The beast was alive, then dead, and is about to come back to
life (even as Jesus was), by satan’s power. His final end will be
perdition (the lake of fire). The reappearance of the beast will
amaze the unbelievers (those whose names are not written in the Book
of Life). God knew they would not believe from before creation.

Verse 9.
Consider this clue carefully. The beast’s 7 heads stand for 7
mountains. This suggests the city of Rome, universally known to have
been built on 7 hills. As such, it also represents that empire at its
greatest extent and world wide influence. It was the empire that was
against the Christian faith.

Verse 10.
These 7 heads also represent 7 kings. Five have gone, one is
now, and the seventh is yet to come, who will be king for a short
time. It is thought that these kings represent ages or successive
empires that lead up to the end times.

Verse 11.
One of the 7 kings now becomes the 8th. He is not just a king or
ruler, but the Antichrist. This is the same one that is yet to come.
He comes, then dies, and is brought back to life. His end is

Verse 12.
The same ten horns are also to represent the yet future time.
They stand for kings that are not presently in power; their time of
power will be the same time as the beast: for one hour.

Verse 13.
These kings represent the powers of nations all over the world.
They greet and join the beast with their forces and willingly
collaborate under his leadership as with one mind.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 14.
They together make war against the Lamb. The result is certain:
the Lamb, Lord of Lords and King of Kings shall overcome them. And
those that come with Him, the chosen and faithful, shall also
overcome them. This refers to the battle of Armageddon (Revelation
chapter 19). These overcomers will rule with the Lamb over the
nations of the earth with a rod of iron.

Verse 15.
The angel adds to what has already been revealed about the
harlot. In this description the waters she sits upon represent all
people of the world (every nation, language, ethnicity, in groups of
all sizes – multitudes).

Verse 16.
And now it is time for the beast to utterly destroy the harlot.
Once useful and attractive, now the 10 kings and the beast hate her.
She will be made desolate (naked and bare), her flesh consumed, and
finally burned with fire.

Verse 17.
Thus the 10 kings that were the powers of the nations who had
accepted the harlot as the center of the world’s one world government
– commercial, political, religious, the seat of power of Rome. At
this point God intervened and put in their hearts to do His mind – to
come together and place the beast as the one, single, ruler over all
others. He was accepted as the answer to all problems. This sets up
the situation that God had planned, and now will surely bring to

Verse 18.
The angel again identifies the figure of the harlot as the great
city that rules over the kings of the earth. The greatest example in
human history was Babylon the Great that permeated the known
civilized world of its time with wealth, power, cruelty,
abominations, and evil. It is this spirit that infests and dominates
all world powers in the same way (as did the Roman Empire). It will
be the world power at the end time that will be taken over by the
beast, as God has planned.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XIV

The destruction of the great city – the center of all power,

commerce, affluence, and strong antagonism against God and His
people, especially Christians.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 18.

The Fall of Babylon

1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from
heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the
great is fallen, is fallen, Is. 21.9 and is become the habitation of
devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every
unclean and hateful bird. Is. 13.21 · Jer. 50.39
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her
fornication, Jer. 51.7 and the kings of the earth have committed
fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich
through the abundance of her delicacies.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her,
my people, Is. 48.20 · Jer. 50.8 that ye be not partakers of her
sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, Jer. 51.9 and God hath
remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, Ps. 137.8 · Jer. 50.29 and
double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she
hath filled, fill to her double.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so
much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a
queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, Is. 47.8, 9 death,
and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire:
for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
9 ¶ And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and
lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her,
when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas,
alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is
thy judgment come. Ezek. 26.16-18
11 ¶ And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her;
for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
12 the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of
pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all
thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels
of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
13 and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and
wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and
horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from
thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from
thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her,
shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and
16 and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in
fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and
precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every
shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as
trade by sea, stood afar off,
18 and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What
city is like unto this great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and
wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich
all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one
hour is she made desolate. Ezek. 27.25-36
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, Jer. 51.48 and ye holy apostles
and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 ¶ And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and
cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great
city Babylon be thrown down, Jer. 51.63, 64 and shall be found no
more at all. Ezek. 26.21
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and
trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; Ezek. 26.13 and no
craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in
thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in
23 and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee;
and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no
more at all in thee: Jer. 25.10 for thy merchants were the great men
of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and
of all that were slain upon the earth. Jer. 51.49

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verse 1.
A great and glorious angel came down out of heaven. He had great
authority and radiant light.

Verse 2.
Coming from the presence of God, he still glows, and he speaks
with a mighty voice: The great city is fallen, Babylon the Great. All
has been thrown down. All that is left is unclean, spirits, and
animals (birds). It is stated as if already accomplished. God’s
purposes will certainly be carried out: there is no doubt. A picture
of absolute desolation.

Verse 3.
The reason – she made all the nations take part in apostasy
against God. As if she made them all get intoxicated on the “wine of
her fornication”. All the merchants also became wealthy and powerful
through her.

Verse 4.
Another voice from heaven calls for God’s people to come out of
her before her destruction to escape it. They are to have no
relationship with her. Then her plagues will not come upon them.

Verse 5.
Her sins and iniquities have cried out to heaven and so demand
God’s attention and action.

Verse 6.
The voice now calls up those who are to be the agents of wrath
against her. They are to repay her double. Whatever harm and evil she
dished out, is to be visited upon her double.

Verse 7.
For ever she lifted herself up in pride and wantonness as a
queen (and no widow). The same extent of torment is to bring her into
deep mourning. She saw herself as invincible (in her heart): pride
before her fall.

Verse 8.
For all the above reasons her doom will come upon her in one
day: plagues, death, famine, mourning, and burned with fire to the
uttermost. This is the strong, irresistible force of God’s judgment
against her. Fire is the final force to destroy the city to the
ground in ashes.

Verse 9.
First the world’s leaders that were intimately involved with her
will “weep and wail” over her complete destruction (the smoke of her

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 10.
They stay “afar off” and speak in shock for the speed of her
destruction (one hour). How could his happen, without warning or

Verse 11.
The shock and amazement is shared by the merchants of the earth.
They mourn, for their trade stopped because of this. The greatest
source of their commerce and profit is now no more. Who in the world
will fill this extravagant market? There is no one to take her place.

Verses 12-14.
These verses list the great value and variety of these
extravagant commodities: from gold, silver, precious stones, pearls,
to the finest cloth, things out of rare wood and ivory, of brass,
iron, and marble. Also, food stuffs, animals, and slaves. Even the
souls of men are bought and sold. Also the fancy and rare fruits,
things “dainty” and sumptuous are gone.
This list emphasizes the volume and rarity (therefore great
value) of all these goods, and the stark contrast of it all now
utterly destroyed. They shall never be found again.

Verse 15.
The dirge of the merchants continues: they will stand far off in
fear of her torment, weeping in deep sadness.

Verse 16.
They express their distraught feelings by describing her attire
and jewelry that is so suddenly no more, again one hour is mentioned.
They only word to express these extreme feelings is “woe, woe”. All
is now desolate.

Verses 17,18.
Newly mentioned are all those in ships that had also made their
living in transporting goods. They also stood afar off in shock,
observing the rising smoke of the great city’s burning. They cry out,
for there is no city like that city.

Verse 19.
They also showed the common tradition of mourning, casting dust
on their heads, and weeping for their great loss. They had been made
rich by the costliness of the products they had delivered to her. The
destruction in one hour is mentioned again, utterly incredible. All
of her luxuries are destroyed at the same time as well.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 20.
The voice now addresses those in heaven: saints, apostles,
prophets. They are to rejoice that God has brought judgment on her.
All of her evil and sins, especially against God and His people is
laid with the utmost finality upon her.

Verse 21.
Next appears “a strong angel”. The two previous “strong” angels
held the scrolls. This one takes up a very large stone and throws it
into the sea. This represents the speed and severity of the sudden
destruction of Babylon will be. The depth of the sea emphasized that
it will never be seen (or rebuilt) again - “no more at all”.

Verse 22.
All of the activities, every type of music and gaiety will never
be heard again. No working people will ever be there again, no more
businesses of any kind will be there. There will be no one or thing
that will ever make a sound there again. Only silence.

Verse 23.
Adding to the devastation is the utter darkness. A city without
light. The sounds of festivities and happy events (bride and groom)
will be no more. The world’s enchantment in the complete necessity of
all things, goods, prosperity, all the good things of life not only
available but necessary for life. This city had sold the world its
value and availability through commerce and involvement with her. By
her “sorceries were all nations deceived.”

Verse 24.
All those that rejected and refused to join in and cooperate
with her were persecuted and also finally put to death. Christians
were put to death as well as prophets. Also many countless others’
blood was shed as deemed necessary by her in her pride and perception
of complete and unbridled power - “all that were slain upon the

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XV

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 19.

The Multitude in Heaven Praises God

1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in
heaven, saying,
Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord
our God: 2 for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath
judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her
fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Deut. 32.43
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever
and ever. Is. 34.10
4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and
worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying,

Praise our God, all ye his servants,

and ye that fear him, both small and great. Ps. 115.13
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as
the voice of many waters, Ezek. 1.24 and as the voice of mighty
thunderings, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the
marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,
clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

9 ¶ And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called
unto the marriage supper Mt. 22.2, 3 of the Lamb. And he saith unto
me, These are the true sayings of God.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See
thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that
have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus
is the spirit of prophecy.

The Rider on the White Horse

11 ¶ And I saw heaven opened, Ezek. 1.1 and behold a white horse;
and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in
righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, Dan. 10.6 and on his head were
many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name
is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white
horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should
smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: Ps. 2.9

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty

God. Is. 63.3 · Joel 3.13 · Rev. 14.20
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING
17 ¶ And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a
loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven,
Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains,
and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them
that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both
small and great. Ezek. 39.17-20
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their
armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the
horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that
wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had
received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.
Rev. 13.1-18 These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning
with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon
the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls
were filled with their flesh.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verses 1-5. Hymn of Vindication.

Verse 1.
This is known as the Hallelujah chorus sung in heaven after the
destruction of the greatest world power (the great harlot) already
described in detail in Revelation 17 & 18.
This is the sound of a great multitude praising God for His
salvation, glory, and power.
The word hallelujah occurs only in this chapter in the New
Testament: verses 1,3,46. It means praise Yahweh.

Verse 2.
The great harlot that had corrupted the earth with her, seducing
enticements (fornication) has now been judged by God, both true and
righteous. Those believers that had been killed by her are now

Verse 3.
Again they say Hallelujah. Her destruction is also praiseworthy:
it is final, absolute. The smoke goeth up for ever and ever. (See
Isaiah 34:8-10.)

Verse 4.
The 24 elders and the 4 living creatures (as in 5:6-10) fall
down and worship God for His just and true judgment. This is the last
mention of them. Their words “Amen; Hallelujah,” closes this picture.

Verse 5.
A voice from the throne calls for all of God’s servants, of all
time and station, those that fear Him, to praise “our God”. “Our”
means it must have been an angel who spoke.

Verses 6-10. The Marriage of the Lamb Announced.

Verse 6.
A great voice of an innumerable multitude sounds forth: like
many waters, mighty thunders. Praise God (Hallelujah); Lord God
Almighty reigns supreme. Almighty means He holds everything under His
control. Again called “our” God.

Verse 7.
The song continues its praise for great joy and gladness; glory
goes to God. The reason is the reward for all those who were
persecuted and hated because of their faithfulness to Christ. The
occasion: the marriage of the Lamb is prepared. “His wife hath made
herself ready.” The wedding feast celebrates the union of the Lamb
with His bride. This represents fidelity, intimacy, and eternal
union. (Ephesians 5:32.)

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 8.
The Bride is to wear fine linen, pure, white and bright. Next,
the garment is described as made, or woven out of the righteous acts
of faithful obedience in each person’s life. This displays the
transformed life of following Christ and bearing fruit to God’s glory
(Ephesians 2:10). These garments are already prepared, and it was
given to her. This is in complete contrast to the harlot – purple and
scarlet with all manner of jewelry. The emphasis of the bride’s
garment is purity.

Verse 9.
And a voice speaks to John, telling him to write what he says
“Blessed are they that are bidden to the marriage supper of the
Lamb.” He emphasizes these words as directly from God = true. This
great feast is prefigured in Isaiah 24:6-8; God’s people with the
Messiah. The Bride is spoken of as also the guests invited to the

Verse 10.
It seems that John thinks the voice is that of Christ when he
fell down before Him to worship. The angel quickly admonishes him of
his error: don’t do that! The angel identifies himself as God’s
servant, just as John is, and all those that hold the testimony of
Jesus. God alone is to be worshiped. The testimony of Jesus is the
spirit of prophecy. The angel was only the messenger – not to be

Verses 11-16. The Messiah as Warrior.

Verse 11.
Without advance notice, heaven opens and a white horse comes
forward. His rider is arrayed as a warrior – called Faithful and
True,, prepared to judge righteously and make war. The disobedient
children of wrath are to finally be destroyed and sent to their final
reward of eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. The
white horse stands for victorious conquest, the outcome of truth and

Verse 12.
The first thing John writes about this Rider is that His eyes
are a flame of fire – as penetrating all that He sees. He wears many
jeweled crowns. Also mentioned is a secret name written upon Him
which only He knows. This suggests that finite beings cannot perceive
or understand everything about Him.

Verse 13.
The fact that His garment is covered in blood as dipped or
splashed. It is not His blood but that of His enemies. Also described
in Revelation 14:14-20 as like the juice of the winepress of God’s
wrath. The presence of blood before the battle symbolizes His certain
victory. His Name is called the Word of God. (Recall John’s opening

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

lines of his gospel.). In Hebrew thought a word is not just a sound

but an active agent that secures the intention of the one who speaks.
(Creation: Genesis 1:3,7,9, etc.) Hebrews 4:12 - “The Word of God is
living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”

Verse 14.
Following the Messiah is His heavenly army clothed in white fine
linen and purity, also riding white horses.

Verse 15.
The great weapon of the Messiah is the sharp sword coming from
His mouth. Isaiah 11:4 describes the Messiah-king smiting the earth
with the rod of His mouth. This shows the absolute lethal power of
His word, His sword of judgment. He is then described as ruler over
the nations with a rod of iron, the strongest justice.
Back to the image of the intense hatred of God against sin. The
judgment enforces the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty,
here described as treading a winepress. The grapes are completely
destroyed and crushed. All that remains is the blood.

Verse 16.
On the Messiah’s garment, where it crosses the thigh, there is a
name written: “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” This name stresses
His absolute power and authority over all nations of the world.

Verses 17-21. Antichrist and Allies Destroyed.

Verse 17.
Before the final battle, John is given a brief vision. An angel
is seen standing in the sun, looking over the earth. He speaks with a
loud voice, calling to all birds that fly over the earth (in mid
heaven). He cries: “Come together to a great feast prepared by God.”
These carrion birds are to eat the flesh of the defeated armies that
came against Jerusalem.
Verse 18.
These bodies include the “flesh of kings’, captains, mighty men.
Also all other classes of men and their horses. In death, all are
merely flesh for the birds of prey.

Verse 19.
Now John is given a vision before the battle. The array of the
beast, the greatest rulers and their armies gathered together to make
war against Christ and His army. Revelation 16:13,14,16. The battle
takes place on the great day of God the Almighty. They were gathered
together into the place which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 20.
The actual battle is not displayed or described. The certain
outcome is stated as fact: the beast and the false prophet were
seized and cast alive into the lake of fire and brimstone. The false
prophet had created the deceitful signs concerning the beast that led
the people who worshiped the image and received the mark of the
The lake of fire receives its first and eternal prisoners: the
Antichrist and the false prophet. Later the devil and his minions,
Death and Hades and all evil people will also be there for endless
torment. (Revelation 20:8,10,14.)

Verse 21.
The armies were all slain by the power of Christ and His Word
(the sword of Him upon the horse, that came forth out of His mouth.)
The next scene is that of the birds feeding themselves upon the flesh
of the slain enemies of God and His Anointed.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XVI

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 20.

The Thousand Years

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the
bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, Gen. 3.1 which
is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a
seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the
thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed
a little season.
4 ¶ And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was
given unto them: Dan. 7.9, 22 and I saw the souls of them that were
beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which
had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received
his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and
reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand
years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of
God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 ¶ And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed
out of his prison,
8 and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four
quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, Ezek. 38.1-16 to gather them
together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the
camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down
from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire
and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall
be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The Judgment at the Great White Throne
11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from
whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no
place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the
books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of
life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written
in the books, according to their works. Dan. 7.9, 10
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and
hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged
every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the
second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast
into the lake of fire.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

The Millennium and the Final Judgment.

Verses 1-6.
At the end of the great battle, preparation is made for Christ’s
Millennial Reign on Earth.

Verses 1-3.
First business, get satan bound and imprisoned for 1,000 years
in the abyss.
An angel with this duty assigned to him descends from heaven
with a great chain and a key to the abyss. This place is narrow and
deep, horrible and dark, deep within the earth. The angel seizes the
dragon, binds him with the chain, and casts him in the abyss. His
power to deceive the nations is prevented for the Millennial period.
The abyss will be closed over, shut, and sealed. But at the end of
that time, he must be loosed for a short period. This will show that
the devil does not change his thinking or his plans against God.
Human nature is also not changed by the 1,000 years of peace and
justice under the rule of Christ.

Verses 4-6. The Millennial Reign.

John is now given a vision of multiple thrones. There were
people sitting upon them. Their souls are seen. They are identified
as judges. These judges are those that had been martyred for their
Christian faith during the reign of the Antichrist. They had refused
the mark of the beast, refused to worship him, or his image. They
stood for the testimony of Jesus and the Word of God. They had been
beheaded. They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The number of thrones and judges is not mentioned. The souls of
the martyrs is described separately as a distinct group. They lived
and reigned with Christ.

Verse 5.
The rest of the dead (the unrighteous) are not to be raised
until after the 1,000 years (and this for judgment). This is the
first resurrection: of the dead, the martyrs.

Verse 6.
Those of the first resurrection are pronounced as holy and
blessed. They will not experience the second death: that is being
cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, the destination also of the
devil and his cohorts, the beast and the false prophet. This is
eternal torment.
Also, those of the first resurrection shall be the priests of
God and of Christ, to reign with Christ for 1,000 years.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verses 7-15. The End of Satan and the Final Judgment.

Verses 7,8. The very end of the Millennium is the final short
period when the devil is released from the abyss. This had been
mentioned in verse 3. The purpose remains the same. Satan still
desires to defeat God and rule his own empire. Also, human nature
(most likely among those born during the 1,000 years) still wants to
live for themselves and their selfish and sinful desires.

Verse 8.
The devil’s plan is clearly stated: deceive the people with
promises of power and victory. They will conquer and rule over all
the earth according to their own desires. He finds innumerable
followers from every direction. They are gathered for war. Gog and
Magog include the northernmost areas.
Verse 9.
Coming from all directions, their destination is Israel –
Jerusalem. They surround the city. God’s reaction is a devouring fire
that comes down out of heaven and they are no more.

Verse 10.
The great deceiver is given his final reward: he is cast into
the lake of fire and brimstone. He was preceded by the beast and
false prophet. Again it is emphasized that their torment will be day
and night, for ever and ever. The rest of the evil ones are not cast
there until after the great white throne judgment (all those whose
names are not found in the Lamb’s book of life).

The Final Judgment: The Great White Throne

The Throne is very large and has a shining appearance, as

reflecting the glory of God. One sits upon the throne. The New
Testament teaches that it is the Son that judges (John 5:22; II
Corinthians 5:10; II Timothy 4:1).
The statement that the earth and heaven flee away from before
the face of the one seated on the throne suggests the process of the
old creation of corruptible matter being refined by fire to prepare
the new and eternal heavens and earth (II Peter 3:10-2). That no
place was found for them reinforces the cleansing judgment of God
creates the new heavens and earth by fire.

Verse 12.
The 2nd resurrection of the dead, for these it is for judgment
and condemnation. This takes place after the Millennial Kingdom is
over. Each and every person is judged. The First Resurrection was of
the Christian martyrs and those alive at the Rapture of the Church
before the Great Tribulation. Each one will stand before the Judgment
Seat. The evidence against them consists of books that recorded the
works of their life. They were judged on their works (as Paul teaches
in Romans 2:6; also see I Peter 1:17)

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 13.
The emphasis here is that all those who had died, no matter
where their bodies or souls ended up, they were all accountable unto
God for their deeds. The seas meant they had no burial ground or
grave. Hades was the holding place for the unbelievers’ souls. Death
held the bodies in the ground. Again, it is reiterated that each one
was judged from the books according to their works.

Verse 14.
Death was the result of the sin of Adam and Eve. Hades was the
holding place of the souls of the dead in sin. They are thrown into
the lake of fire. They will not exist on the new earth. The second
and final death will occur when the people are brought before God (as
raised from the dead to face judgment) and then cast into the lake of
Verse 15.
The absolute authority of the book of life, also called the
Lamb’s Book of Life, is stated. Any one whose name was not written in
the book is cast into the lake of fire.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XVII

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 21.

The New Heaven and the New Earth

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: Is. 65.17 ; 66.22 · 2
Pet. 3.13 for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, Is. 52.1 new Jerusalem, coming
down from God out of heaven, Rev. 3.12 prepared as a bride adorned
for her husband. Is. 61.10
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they
shall be his people, Ezek. 37.27 and God himself shall be with them,
and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there
shall be no more death, Is. 25.8 neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain: Is. 65.19 for the former things are
passed away.
5 ¶ And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all
things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Ome'ga, the
beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the
fountain of the water of life freely. Is. 55.1
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son. 2 Sam. 7.14 · 1 Chr. 17.13
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and
murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all
liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and
brimstone: which is the second death.

The New Jerusalem

9 ¶ And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the
seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me,
saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high
mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, Ezek.
40.2 descending out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone
most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12 and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the
gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names
of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south
three gates; and on the west three gates. Ezek. 48.30-34
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the
names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 ¶ And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the
city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. Ezek. 40.3

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16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the
breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand
furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17 And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four
cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city
was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with
all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the
second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh,
chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a
chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; Is. 54.11, 12 every
several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure
gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 ¶ And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the
Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to
shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, Is. 60.19 and the
Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light
of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there
shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
Is. 60.11
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that
defileth, Is. 52.1 neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh
a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verses 1-8. The New Heaven and the New Earth.

Verse 1.
In the closing revelation of God to Isaiah, He promised to
create new heavens and a new earth to last forever – Isaiah 65:17;
66:27. Also see II Peter 3:10-13. The destruction by fire of the old
earth and heavens, recreated into the new where righteousness will
dwell. There will be no more death or decay. Also there is no more

Verse 2.
Next, John saw the New Jerusalem, the eternal city of the
Redeemed, bright and beautiful, compared to a bride adorned for her
husband. It came down out of heaven to rest on the new earth forever.
Verse 3.
A great voice out of the throne proclaimed the divine purpose:
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with
them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with
them, and be their God.” Again, this is for eternity. The use of the
word “people” emphasizes that the redeemed have come from all races
and nationalities, from all over the world (sheep from every
pasture). See John 10:16.

Verse 4.
Great blessings will be part of living with God: those things
that will be no more is the most literal way to describe what life
will be like. The effects of sin and deterioration: no pain or death,
no mourning or crying. They are passed away with the old earth and
heavens. Paul wrote: “Death is swallowed up in victory,” (I
Corinthians 15:54.

Verse 5.
God, Himself, proclaims: Look carefully for I have made new all
things (from the throne).
John is directed to write what he has been shown and told, for
they are accomplished fact for God is ever faithful, what He speaks
will be carried out. His promises stand as Truth.

Verse 6.
Continuing, God tells John to consider what he has seen and
heard as already having come to pass. So absolutely certain are its
accomplishment. The first and last letter of the Greek alphabet
emphasizes that God was before all creation (before all people and
languages and alphabets) and after their disappearance with time. He
is before time, and after time. In His eternity, those who seek God
(who thirst for God) as those who are thirsty are satisfied by a
freely flowing fountain. God’s fountain flows with “the water of

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

life” and flows continually. Not to be measured out, nor to ever


Verse 7.
The faithful, the overcomer, will inherit all these things.
They, each and every one, will be treated and considered as God’s
child; this also suggests the closeness of a family the closest
relationship possible.

Verse 8.
The second death is the greatest contrast possible. Those
listed: the unbelievers and every evil sin and practice including
liars, will have received their just and final sentence and
destination for eternity: the lake that burneth with fire and
Verses 9-27. The New Jerusalem.

Verse 9.
An angel comes out to speak to John. He is identified as one of
the 7 angels who carried out the 7 last plagues (in Chapter 16.) He
tells John to come with him to see the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
In an identical introduction (in chapter 17), the angel summoned John
to witness the destruction of the wicked city of the great harlot:
Babylon. This is in dramatic contrast with the city he is about to
see: the New Jerusalem, completely pure and beautiful.

Verse 10.
John was carried away in the Spirit to a high mountain for a
great vantage point to observe the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down
out of heaven from God. This vision is as the actual event.

Verse 11.
The city was shining, having the glory of God lighting it up
throughout – as a precious stone (like a jasper), clear as crystal,
radiating the light. Jasper is mostly a transparent green.

Verse 12.
Surrounding the city is a great and high wall. There are only 12
gates, each with the name of a tribe of the children of Israel
written on them. Each also had an angel attendant.
Verse 13.
On each of the 4 sides were 3 gates: east, north, south, west.

Verse 14.
The city is built on 12 foundations, and on each is inscribed
the name of one of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. Both gates and
foundations are unified here as the children of God from both

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 15.
Here the heavenly city is to be measured by the angel with a
reed of gold. In chapter 11, John was told to measure the Temple of
God, its altar and those that worship. This elaborate measuring is
found also in Ezekiel 40:41 and Zechariah 2:1-5. Here the vast size
and perfect symmetry of the eternal home of the faithful is

Verse 16.
A perfect cube is described: foursquare. This was the shape of
the room in the Temple called the Holy of Holies: the place of divine
presence. Thus the city is also the place of God’s presence with His
people for eternity. Suffice it to say that its size is far beyond
anything ever even conceived by humanity. This city is measured in
furlongs, not feet or city blocks. The angel’s reed is a furlong (a
little more than 10 feet). One side of the city 12,000 furlongs – the
sum of all sides is 144,000. These actual numbers are also
representative of the 12 tribes, and 144,000 is the sacred number of
God’s Israel. It is about 2,200 kilometers tall, or nearly 1400

Verse 17.
The wall is measured by the angel, though the measure in cubits
is man’s method also. It is 144 cubits. The cubit is roughly the
length of a man’s forearm.

Verse 18.
The wall surrounding the city is jasper – the transparent green.
The walls of the city itself are the color of gold but transparent as
clear glass. This allows the light of God’s presence to shine through
and throughout the city without hindrance.

Verses 19,20,
The foundations of the city wall were inlaid with every color of
precious stone – 12 in number – one for each foundation. These 12
stones approximate the 12 stones set into the high priest’s
The stones’ colors are generally accepted: jasper – translucent
green, sapphire – deep blue, Chalcedony – a green silicate, emerald –
also a green stone, sardonyx – layered red and white, sardius – a
blood red stone, Chrysolite – yellow, beryl – a green stone, topaz –
a greenish gold or yellow, Chrysoprase – a pure sea green color,
jacinth – bluish purple (similar to the modern sapphire), amethyst –
a purple quartz.

Verse 21.
The twelve gates of the city: each was a single very large
pearl. The streets of the city were made of gold, so pure as to be as
transparent as glass.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 22.
There was no separate temple in the city. The presence of the
Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple thereof. Where they are
becomes the temple – their presence to be praised and worshiped. And
this by the living temple of God in the congregation of believers
(Paul in II Corinthians 6:16).

Verse 23.
The presence of God and the Lamb provide all the light for the
city. There is no further need for sun or moon. God was the light,
the Lamb was the lamp of it.

Verse 24.
The light of God’s glory attracts the nations to the Holy City
and the kings of the earth bring their glory unto the city. The
wealth of the nations comes back to Zion, her sons and daughters
returning from afar. This is described in Isaiah 60:1-17. There is no
additional mention or explanation of who these nations and peoples
are. The best explanation is from Dr. Henry Morris. He suggests that
the nations created by God will not be forgotten and from the Holy
City they will be sent out to fill it and have dominion over it as
originally commanded to Adam and Eve.

Verse 25.
There is no night in the city, so the gates will never be

Verse 26.
Again, the nations will bring their glory and honor to God and
the Lamb into the city.

Verse 27.
All who enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s
Book of Life. Therefore nothing of evil or sin, or lying will enter

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Lesson XVIII

The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 22. The description of
the New Jerusalem continues.

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, Ezek. 47.1 ·

Zech. 14.8 clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and
of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the
river, was there the tree of life, Gen. 2.9 which bare twelve manner
of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the
tree were for the healing of the nations.
3 And there shall be no more curse: Zech. 14.11 but the throne of
God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle,
neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: Is.
60.19 and they shall reign for ever and ever. Dan. 7.18

Jesus to Come Soon

6 ¶ And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and
the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his
servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly.
¶ Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this
8 ¶ And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had
heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel
which showed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow
servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the
sayings of this book: worship God.
10 ¶ And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of
this book: for the time is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is
filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be
righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Dan.
12 ¶ And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, Is.
40.10 ; 62.11 to give every man according as his work shall be. Ps.
13 I am Alpha and Ome'ga, the beginning and the end, Rev. 1.8 the
first and the last. Is. 44.6 ; 48.12 · Rev. 1.17 ; 2.8
14 ¶ Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have
right to the tree of life, Gen. 2.9 ; 3.22 and may enter in through
the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and
murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

16 ¶ I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things
in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, Is. 11.1
and the bright and morning star.
17 ¶ And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that
heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever
will, let him take the water of life freely. Is. 55.1
18 ¶ For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the
prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God
shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of
this prophecy, Deut. 4.2 ; 12.32 God shall take away his part out of
the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which
are written in this book.
20 ¶ He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly:
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21 ¶ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Beginning of commentary.

Verses 1-5.

Verse 1.
Next, John is shown a crystal clear river that flows from God’s
throne and of the Lamb. It is named the water of life. It apparently
flows down through the city.

Verse 2.
The river banks, on both sides, have the tree of life, which
bears twelve different kinds of fruit, one each month. The leaves are
for the healing of the nations. It is described that the river ran
beside the street, with room for the trees of life between them, and
on the other side of the river also. The tree of life takes us back
to Genesis 2:9 and 3:22. The tree provides abundant fruit. The leaves
are good for healing. This emphasizes the abundant and new provision
for blessing His children with more than just the necessities –
abundance and perfection. Both physical and spiritual.

Verses 3,4.
The curse of sin has been removed. The throne of God and the
Lamb are within the city. His servants shall serve Him, and they will
see His face. Jesus said (Matthew 5:8) that only the pure in heart
shall see God. John (I John 3:2) describes the raptured saints as
those who shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is.
The name of God will be on their foreheads, reflecting His
likeness. This also represents their ownership to God. All of His
attributes will be reflected by their countenance. This began at
conversion and now reaches its completion.

Verse 5.
The description of the disappearance of darkness without sun or
lamp is brought to pass by the eternal light of the Glory of God.
This also was prophesied by Isaiah 60:19-20. Zechariah 14:7
prophesied that the coming age would not be divided between night and
day, but would be only day. God will be ever present in the New
Jerusalem and the light thereof. The inhabitants of the city will
reign forever.

Verses 6-21. Epilogue.

Both the Prologue and Epilogue sum up the subject and purpose of
the book: 1. It is genuine prophecy from the Lord through John the
apostle; 2. It is to be distributed to the churches; 3. It is to
encourage the faithful until the completion.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 6.
The angel that had been speaking to John about the New Jerusalem
and its attributes, now states that every word is faithful and true.
The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets is the source. It is
He that sent His angel to deliver the message and show the things
that must shortly come to pass to those who serve Him.

Verse 7.
Christ proclaims His coming: “Behold, I come quickly.” There
will be no delay – it is imminent. Every believer is to be alert.
Blessing will be given to those who keep the words of the
prophecies of God Himself – absolute truth, and trustworthy.

Verses 8,9.
The apostle John testifies that he was the one who saw and heard
all these things that are written in this book. At this point John is
overwhelmed by the whole experience. He fell down to worship the
angel that had been the major speaker about all these things. This is
in spite of his mistakenly doing the same thing in Revelation 19:10.
The angel admonishes again for this mistake. The angel is just a
fellow servant, as are the prophets, and those that keep the words of
this book. Only God is to be worshiped, period.

Verse 10.
The angel continues his message from the Lord. The words of this
prophecy are not to be sealed up. This is because the time is at hand
and relates to the church and its adversaries up to the time of
consummation. This started at the beginning of the Christian Church.
This is contrasted with the prophecies of the end times in the
book of Daniel: he was told to ‘shut up the words, and seal up the
book, until the time of the end.’

Verse 11.
From God’s point of view, there is no time for people to change
their ways. The unrighteous and filthy ones will continue in their
ways. So also the holy and righteous are fixed in their habitual
conversation and actions. This behavior also fixes their fate.

Verse 12.
From Christ’s point of view, His coming is without delay. He
brings with Him the reward. As spoken by Jeremiah 17:10 – the reward
is equal to the value of the person’s fruit produced by their works.
So also Paul in Romans 2:6 and Peter in I Peter 1:17. Blessing to the
righteous, judgment to the evil.

Verse 13.
Christ also claims the title of the First and the Last (Alpha
and Omega), the beginning and the ending (Revelation 1:17; 2:8). This
sets Him apart from the whole created order.

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

Verse 14.
Those with pure and clean robes are only ones allowed to enter
the gates of the eternal city. Their robes are washed in the blood of
the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). Only they may partake of the tree of life

Verse 15.
The ones that will not be entering the Holy City are the
unrighteous of every description, from liar to murderer. Their
destination is the lake of fire (also listed in Revelation 21:8).

Verse 16.
Jesus Himself had sent His own angel messenger to John to reveal
the several visions. Jesus now validates those visions as from Him.
The plural “you” indicates that they are intended to be shared with
the universal church of believers. Jesus also identifies Himself as
the root and offspring of David. He is indeed the promised Messiah
(Isaiah 11:1,10; Romans 1:3). The prophecy of the Morning Star
(Christ is the promise of the coming light that will end the darkness
of the tribulation, the dawn of a new day with all its promises and

Verse 17.
Four invitations. The Holy Spirit and all believers (the bride)
call to the entire world to come to the Lord so they can enter the
city and live forever (take the water of life freely). Those that
hear and respond were those that experience a thirst for life,
salvation, forgiveness, and Christ. Those that come will never be
turned away. They can take the water of life freely.

Verses 18,19.
As the revelation nears its end there is a profound and sober
warning. There must not be any change (adding to or taking from) this
message. To add brings the curse of the plagues mentioned in the
book. To take away will cause them to be removed from those that have
entrance into the Holy City and part from the tree of life. This is
how serious it is to tamper with the Word of God.

Verse 20.
Jesus testifies to the entirety of this prophecy as His Word. He
emphasizes that He is coming without delay. All will take place
according to the will of the Father, the prophecy of the Son, and the
working of the Holy Spirit.
John’s response: So be it. Jesus: come!

Verse 21.
A benediction for all those that read (or hear) this message
from the Lord.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the Saints.” So be it

(Amen). The End. Keep looking up!

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -


The New Testament KJV Text and Commentary Volume II

Romans - Revelation
by Adam Clark, LL.D, F.S.A., & c.
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, NY, 1832

A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -

A Layman's Commentary on The
Revelation of St. John the Divine
Author: T.O.D. Johnston
Publisher: Owen Johnston
T.O.D. taught from Revelation at Paran Baptist Church on Highway 341 / Johnsonville
Hwy in Lake City, South Carolina. This commentary is based on the notes he wrote in
preparation for the lessons.

The author was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran on May 26, 1979. He has been a
student of Scripture since 1972. He was an art teacher for over 30 years in Florence School
District 3.

Contact the publisher:

Owen Johnston
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A Layman's Commentary on Revelation – T.O.D. Johnston -