Literature / Book of Revelation

"Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy... because the time is near."

The last book of the New Testament and The Bible. It depicts the vision of a man named John who is imprisoned on the island of Patmos, which concerns the Second Coming of Jesus, The End of the World as We Know It, and the Mass Resurrection of Saints into Heaven. Revelation is considered the most confusing and controversial book of the Bible.

If you're looking for the Australian movie named after the Book (which has nothing whatsoever to do with it) find it here.


Tropes

  • All Just a Dream: Although in an inversion, it is meant to serve as a symbolic prophecy about what will happen.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • The death of the Two Witnesses in chapter 11 is met with great festivity, as the people give gifts to one another while the bodies of the witnesses lie dead in the open unburied for 3 1/2 days. It all ends when the two witnesses rise from the dead and are brought up to heaven in a cloud.
    • There's also much rejoicing in heaven for the fall of Babylon.
  • The Antichrist: Well, there are the First Beast, who calls upon humanity to falsely worship himself, and the Second Beast, the false prophet who promotes the First Beast, but no one expressly called the Antichrist (that term's actually from the first and second epistles of John, and refers to anti-christs plural, i.e. whoever is "against Christ").
  • Apocalypse Wow: The Trope Namer note  and Trope Codifier and pretty much everything else. If there's a disaster that can conceivably happen to Earth, it will turn up in Revelation.
  • Archangel Michael: He leads the war against the Dragon and his angels.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Chapter 12 has what is interpreted as the birth of Christ followed by war in the heavens between Satan's angels and God's angels, with Satan and his angels cast down from heaven.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The Two Witnesses resurrect three days after their death and ascend into heaven.
    • Also those who have been beheaded for not taking the Mark of the Beast and worshiping his image.
    • Two resurrections: first the saints, and a thousand years later, everyone else.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Jesus first arrived in the Gospels, He was peaceful and showed forgiveness, but in Revelation 19:11-16, it's the complete opposite. Justified in that it's the End of the World as We Know It, and it's time for everyone to get what's coming to them. This is still one of the elements that makes the entire book's place in Christian canon hotly debated, because Christ is simply so different here compared to the rest of the New Testament.
  • BFS: The second horseman, who sits upon a red horse, takes peace from the Earth and turns men against each other while wielding a great sword that befits his mission in warmongering.
  • Big Bad: The book describes a giant, red, seven-headed dragon who seeks to imitate the authority of God by wearing crowns on his head and is behind the army of fallen angels and the two Beasts who come to deceive the Earth. This seems despicable enough, but as John describes the dragon's war against the Archangel Michael, he begins listing the dragon's other identities as the serpent who deceived Adam and Eve into falling in the Book of Genesis (though it's worth noting that Genesis itself makes no indication it was anything other than a serpent God created and then cursed to slither on the ground), the accuser who tortured a good man in the Book of Job, and the Devil who reveled in tempting Christ and possessing Judas in The Four Gospels. From War in Heaven to the War of Armageddon, it turns out Satan has been the greatest force of evil all along.
  • Big Blackout: If meant to be taken literally, the fifth Bowl Judgment causes supernatural darkness to fall upon the throne of the Beast, during which his subjects will gnaw on their tongues due to the sores that they suffer — most likely the same kind of darkness plague that fell upon Egypt during the time of the Exodus.
  • Black Market Produce: Revelation has this to say about the manifestation of Famine; in context, these are astronomical prices expected for staple foodstuffs equivalent to a week's wages for the basics of life and imply both shortages and a lot of black-marketeering going on.
    Then I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Rev.6:6)
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Two of the Bowl Judgments turn the waters of both the seas and the springs into blood. Also the Two Witnesses are said to be able to turn water into blood during their days of prophesying.
  • Breakout Character: The four Horsemen show up in Works enough to get their own page despite each being briefly described once and not mentioned for the rest of the Revelation.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": There are creatures called "locusts" which have human faces, lion's teeth, breastplates of iron, giant wings whose flapping sounds like an army of horse's hooves, and stingers which cause victims to experience several months of solid pain. They're also explicitly described as doing absolutely no harm to plants which is the opposite of what actual locusts do.
  • Call-Back: Many of the symbols have been already used by other prophets, especially Daniel. The 7 bowls of God's wrath definitely are reminiscent of the 10 plagues of Egypt.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: The 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel are all marked with the seal of God on their foreheads.
  • Colony Drop: Wormwood among other stars during Revelation.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each of the horsemen of the apocalypse is identified by the color of their horse: the first is white and brings conquest or victory, the second is red and brings war and division, the third is black and brings famine or pestilence, and the fourth and final horse is a pale green and is ridden by death.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The legions of the Devil have their merry way with humanity for some time. Then Christ shows up and promptly lays the smack down on all of them before casting them away.
  • Disney Death: The Two Witnesses, as well as those who have been martyred for not taking the Mark of the Beast or worshiping his image.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The Whore of Babylon is associated with the Beast, although they aren't really equals.
  • Distant Finale: To the rest of the Bible. Exactly how distant depends on the interpretation, but if one believes it has yet to happen, then it's an ending over 2000 years in the making. Revelation itself has its distant finale, where Satan makes a third and ultimately final go against God after which he is forevermore locked away and the finale paradise is created.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: The action cuts between the destruction of earth and the reactions in heaven.
  • Divine Conflict: God vs. Satan, but Because Destiny Says So, Satan will lose to God even at the Final Battle.
  • Doomed Hometown: The city that rules over the kings of the earth, represented by Mystery Babylon, is destroyed by God as the hosts in heaven cheer.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Satan transforms into a dragon so big that a sweep of his tail sends a third of the stars in the sky to Earth, and is likened to a dragon throughout the book.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Mankind's going to go through some crap before they can live Happily Ever After.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Both on the forces of good and evil.
  • Endless Daytime: It's mentioned that in heaven there is no night, since God is light.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Yep. We'll get a new one, though.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet has been interpreted as the evil counterpart of the triune God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Likewise, Babylon the great, which is described as a whore, is the evil counterpart to the New Jerusalem, which is described as adorned like a bride for her husband.
  • The Evil Genius: The Second Beast, also called the False Prophet, who works as a one-demon Propaganda Machine for the first Beast and dupes the people of Earth with miracles. (This is the demon that the Number of the Beast originally refers to, incidentally.)
  • Extra Eyes: Lots of the spiritual beings have more than the usual number of eyes, including four creatures who are completely covered in them.
  • Extreme Omnivore: John in chapter 10 is given a little scroll to eat from the angel, who says it will taste sweet in his mouth, but will make his stomach bitter.
  • Fallen Angel: The Devil and his angels get cast down to earth. Unfortunately for earth.
  • Feathered Fiend: God summons a group of birds in chapter 19 to feast on the bodies of kings and people that are gathered together with the Beast to make war against the Rider of the White Horse and His heavenly army.
  • Final Battle: Satan's forces versus God and His holy city in chapter 20, which turns into an Anti-Climax Curb-Stomp Battle as God instantly incinerates Satan's forces in seconds.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Mostly according to John the Revelator. The Biblical basis for belief in such a hell is extremely shaky, at best. Note that it differs from the popular depiction as the demons are said to be tortured alongside the people in there, not as being the torturers.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: Jesus is mentioned in this book as having eyes like blazing fire, both in the early part of the book where He talks to John and later on when He comes down from Heaven as the Rider of the White Horse, Faithful and True.
  • Food End: The Tree of Life, which Adam and Eve and all humanity was prevented from eating of in the Book of Genesis, is finally granted to the overcomers in the New Jerusalem at the end of this book, which bears twelve different fruits in their months.
  • Four Is Death: The fourth and final horsemen is Death, who is given permission to lay waste to men with wild beasts, and famine, and starvation when he brings Hades in his wake.
  • From Bad to Worse: Breaking the last seal signals the angels to blow trumpets that herald disasters. The last trumpet signals the angels to pour seven bowls of God's wrath on the world. And the bad stuff done by Satan have yet to come.
  • Gainax Ending: The utter destruction of the world as we know it as nature rips itself apart finally ends with a new Earth and Heaven, not only restored to their pre-Fall glory but transformed by God into an even greater paradise for all who believed.
  • God Is Good: As revealed in the Apocalypse, God will one day throw Satan and all evil-doers who ally with him into the Lake of Fire, while the good and the humble will be resurrected in the immortal bliss of earthly paradise. As long as the good and humble people also happen to be Christian; if not, they just get condemned to Hell with all the evil-doers.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: Jesus in His first appearance in the book wears a white robe that reaches down to the feet with a gold sash banded around His chest.
  • Good Is Not Soft: God displays this trope in full effect. He shows no hesitation letting humanity know that the end is here, and that He will hand out His judgments against the entire human race; not to mention condemn them in Hell for eternity if they didn't accept Christ.
  • Genre Shift: The first few chapters of the book consist of brief letters by John to the seven churches of that time, critiquing them akin the previous epistolary books of the New Testament. Then chapter 4 has John suddenly carried away to heaven, and things get weirder from there.
  • Grim Reaper: The horseman that appears when the Lamb breaks the fourth seal on the Scroll of Life is Death itself, and it rides it horse across the Earth bringing Hades in its wake.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Once a person takes the Mark of the Beast and worships its image, they're doomed for eternity.
  • Heaven: Where much of the action takes place, obviously.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: When Christ opens the first four seals closing the scroll that holds the names of all those who will be welcomed into Heaven, four horses appear with a rider on each one that represents an aspect of the coming age, whether it be conquest, war, famine, or Death.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Lake of Fire. Also, the Whore of Babylon's fate, and possibly the interpretation of the fate of whoever tries to kill the Two Witnesses during their time of prophesying.
  • Knight Templar: The forces of good, in a heroic way. See below; this time, there is NO mercy. Extreme massacres are carried out (a third of the world repeatedly wiped out) in a way commonly considered villainous, but in a heroic depiction.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: Unlike his pacifist depiction in the Gospels, Jesus is back to smite evil and kick lots of ass. (He did say he came not to bring peace but a sword. Although, depending on the interpretation, his enemies may not be human beings, but rather the spiritual forces behind human evil. This would align more with his original Badass Pacifist image.
  • Last of His Kind: If the John is John the Apostle, then he is the last surviving of Jesus' Apostles.
  • The Legions of Hell: The bad guys, of course, this being (probably) an account of the final conflict between Heaven and Hell.
  • Light Is Good: The 19th chapter sees Christ riding a blindingly white horse, one that represents the purity and goodness of its rider. This use of white as goodness is also applied to the first Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who rides a white horse, wears a crown befitting the King of Kings, and goes all over the Earth, like how Christ commanded his Apostles to spread news of his Resurrection. Although with the first Horseman, it may be a case of Light Is Not Good, as Bible students have interpreted his appearance as that of The Antichrist.
  • List of Transgressions: God will judge the entire human race, and those who have accepted Jesus as savior will go to heaven while those who didn't will be held accountable for their sins.
  • Living Statue: One possible interpretation of the "image of the Beast" that the Beast of the Earth in chapter 13 will set up, that will speak and cause as many as would not worship the Beast to be killed. At least one interpretation that would be feasible in the minds of the early-church readers of this book.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: The Whore of Babylon (representing a culture of idolatry, corruption, etc.) is contrasted with the pure Bride of Christ (representing the church.)
  • Man on Fire: The Two Witnesses of chapter 11 are said to set those who attack them on fire with flame that comes out of their mouths.
  • Mark of the Beast: Trope Maker. Those who worship the Beast get a mark on the forehead or right hand, which the Beast uses to control commerce.
  • Mass Resurrection: Actually, two mass resurrections take place — the dead in Christ first, then all those who are unsaved at the Great White Throne judgment.
  • Mind Screw: Revelation tends to be interpreted as either a prophecy about how the world ends or a trippy-as-all-hell criticism of Ancient Rome. Take your pick, you still won't be able to totally figure out what's going on.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter:
    • The Beast from the sea, which is made from a lion, bear, and leopard.
    • The locusts of the fifth seal, which have human faces and lion's teeth.
    • The horses of the army of the sixth seal, which have lion's heads.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe. Taking the Mark of the Beast and worshiping its image.
  • Mystical White Hair: Jesus is described this way in His transfigured form.
  • Playing with Fire: The False Prophet/Second Beast has this power.
  • Rain of Blood: The first Trumpet Judgment rains down fire and hail mixed with blood on the earth.
  • Red Is Heroic: Jesus in His appearance in Revelation chapter 19 as the Rider of the White Horse appears in a red robe dipped in blood (either His sacrificial blood or the blood of His victims).
  • Rejected Apology: Judgement day will occur and it will be too late to repent by then.
  • Religious Horror: The Ur-Example of a lot of creepy religious tropes—Satan figures prominently, among other nasty demonic beings, and lots of people die. In fact, Jesus himself is also described rather... eerily, being deathly pale and able to produce a sword from his mouth.
  • Restart the World: The old heavens and earth pass away at the end of the book, to soon be replaced with a new heavens and earth.
  • La Résistance: Satan mounts a resistance force against "the beloved city" at the end of the Millennium, which ends up being smoked by God.
  • Rivers of Blood: The third Bowl Judgment causes springs of water (including rivers) to turn to blood. Also the angel who treads on the winepress of God's wrath produces a river of blood that rises up to horses' bridles for a length of 1600 stadia (about 180 miles).
  • Rule of Seven:
    • The book begins with letters to seven churches, then we see seven stars, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues, a beast with seven heads...
    • Several words or phrases are used in multiples of seven throughout the book. The word 'Christ' is used seven times. The name 'Jesus' is used fourteen times. Jesus is identified as 'the lamb' twenty-eight times. Jesus says the word ερχομαι ('I am coming') seven times. It really would be difficult to list every set of seven, or multiples thereof.
    • Also, the Number of the Beast is 666/616 because the Beast cannot have the divine 7, and thus uses 6.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Satan is defeated and imprisoned for a thousand years, after which he must be set loose again.
  • Second Coming: Jesus comes back at the end to settle things once and for all.
  • Shining City: The good guys go to live in one at the end.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Death's pale horse is actually a pale yellow-green horse. Presumably because it's rotting.
  • Signs of the End Times: One of the original Trope Makers.
  • Sinister Minister: Jesus condemns the church of Thyatira in one of His seven letters to the seven churches for allowing "that woman Jezebel" (a Call-Back to Queen Jezebel from the Books of Kings) to call herself a prophetess, misleading His servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. As punishment, Jesus would cast this woman into a sickbed, and those that commit fornication with her into "great tribulation" unless they repent of their deeds, and on top of that would kill her children so that others would know that He is the One who searches hearts and minds and will repay everyone according to their deeds.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: The world grows even more corrupt and evil and has to be destroyed.
  • Spare Body Parts: Most of the various beasts are described as having extra heads or horns or eyes or tails.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: In the Apocalypse of John, when the stars (or rather, shooting stars) fall from sky and the moon turns blood red.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: In one interpretation, the whole book is meant to be a (vague and cryptic) prophecy of how End Times will pan out. And at least the last part of the book is that in nearly all interpretations.
  • Surreal Horror: Possibly the Ur-Example. It's full of trippy, nightmarish imagery.
  • The Swarm: the hordes of locust-like flying creatures that will be unleashed to bite the ungodly and transmit agony and hideous infliction upon them.
  • Take That!:
    • Interpreters often tend to identify the villains of the story with their own preferred religious or political targets. For instance, during the Protestant Reformation the "whore of Babylon" was often identified with the Catholic church. Then during the Cold War, the various Beasts were widely interpreted as Soviet states. And so on, and so on...
    • Elements of the Book parody and mock the Roman Empire's persecution of Christians and their claims to absolute authority. Some of the more overt examples include: portraying Jesus holding seven stars in his hand in chapter 1 (an image used for Caesar on currency, even if 1:20 claims it represents the angels presiding over the Asia Minor churches), depiction of God as a red-stone statue on a throne in chapter 4 (imagery possibly borrowed from giant red statue of Jupiter sitting on his throne, in his temple in Rome), describing the destruction of 'the great city' that sits on 'seven hills' in chapter 17 (Rome was widely known as 'the city of the seven hills'), and the dimensions of the New Jerusalem in chapter 21 (12,000 square stadia translates to over 1,900,000 square miles—which would rather neatly encompass the Roman Empire of John's time).
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The Distant Finale. It never specifically says when it's actually going to happen, but it will happen quickly according to God's timetable.
  • Unwanted False Faith: The angel who showed John the visions of what was to come warned the disciple not to bow down and worship him. Twice.
  • The Vamp: The "woman Jezebel" who was mentioned as a prophetess by Jesus in Revelation chapter 2 in His letter to the church of Thyatira, who was misleading His servants into committing sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols. As punishment, she would suffer in a bed, and Jesus would promise the same things to her followers unless they repent. In addition, He would kill her children with death to show that it is He who searches hearts and minds and will repay everyone according to their deeds.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Beast being the most notable.
  • The War to End All Wars: Upon the spilling of the sixth bowl by the angels, demons go out to every king of the world and have them gather their armies at Mount Armageddon for a final battle agains the forces of God, a war in which they are doomed to fail.
  • Watch the World Die: The saints and angels in heaven (and John himself) get front-row seats for the Apocalypse.
  • White Stallion: The rider on the white horse is the first Horsemen of the Apocalypse mentioned, but whether he is the leader or not is not said.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The lamb with the tongue of a dragon is probably meant to represent this.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: In the case of the Two Witnesses it's literally, as the Beast that arises from the abyss is said to overpower and kill them after 1260 days of their prophesying.


Alternative Title(s): Revelation, The Book Of Revelation

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/BookOfRevelation