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Literature / Book of Revelation

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"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.

Johnnote , living in about 100 A.D., wrote this book to the persecuted church in the Roman Empire. He is understood to have used a lot of symbolism and code because if people other than his intended audience read his words, they might misunderstand his message and think he was instigating violent uprisings against the then-Emperor, Domitian.

Revelation is considered the most confusing and controversial book of the Bible. note 

If you're looking for the Australian movie named after the Book (which has nothing whatsoever to do with it) find it here. If you're interested in the history of the book and its possible meanings, religious scholar Elaine Pagels' Revelations is for you.

Structure of the book:

  • John's introduction, blessing, and vision of the "One like unto the Son of Man" (Revelation chapter 1)
  • The letters to the seven churches (Revelation chapters 2 and 3)
  • John's vision of heaven (Revelation chapter 4)
  • The Lamb takes the seven-sealed scroll/book (Revelation chapter 5)
  • The Seal Judgments (Revelation chapter 6)
  • The 144,000 and the Great Multitude (Revelation chapter 7)
  • The Trumpet Judgments (Revelation chapters 8 and 9)
  • The mighty angel and the little scroll (Revelation chapter 10)
  • The Two Witnesses (Revelation chapter 11)
  • The vision of the woman and the Dragon (Revelation chapter 12)
  • The vision of the two Beasts (Revelation chapter 13)
  • The reaping of the earth and the winepress of God's wrath (Revelation chapter 14)
  • The Bowl/Vial Judgments (Revelation chapters 15 and 16)
  • The vision of Mystery Babylon the Great (Revelation chapter 17)
  • The judgment of Babylon (Revelation chapter 18)
  • The coming of the Rider of the White Horse (Revelation chapter 19)
  • The 1000 Years, The Final War, and the Final Judgment of Man (Revelation chapter 20)
  • The vision of New Jerusalem (Revelation chapters 21 and 22)


  • 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.
  • Action Hero: Jesus is one here.
  • An Aesop: The book is essentially a warning that evil, in the forms of beasts, whores, and even an anti-Christ, will have its hour, but God will triumph in the end, and whoever holds fast to Him will live forever with Him, and the joys of Heaven will make the worst experiences on Earth fade like a bad dream forgotten and never to be remembered again. Therefore, keep your eyes on the prize- no matter how bad it is right now, this too shall pass. John even specifically has Jesus mention churches who especially need to heed this message and internalize it.
  • All Just a Dream: Although in an inversion, it is usually believed 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.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Jesus promises that those who overcome will also walk with Him in white garments, indicating purity and righteousness.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Among six other promises, Jesus says that those who overcome will given the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God. He will also give them the "hidden manna", referring to the manna that was stored in a pot inside the Ark of the Covenant in the Book of Exodus.
  • 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").
  • Apathetic Citizens: Jesus accuses the church of Laodicea of being this through their lukewarmness, being "neither hot nor cold", and demands them to be either one way or the other or else He will "spit them out of [His] mouth".
  • 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. Specifically, either this entire dimension or at least this entire planet will be subject to supernatural fire that will cleanse evil. It is unknown what happens to other life forms such as other worldly beings other than the demonic host, which will be in the lake of fire, another dimension or sub-dimension which will remain like Heaven will.
  • Archangel Michael: He leads the war against the Dragon and his angels.
  • Arc Words: In Chapters 2 and 3: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
  • The Armies of Heaven: The latter half of Chapter 19 has Jesus show up with this, ready to slay the world's armies as they are amassed against Him.
  • 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. This is the Ur-Example; it technically fits the definition of the trope, but it came so early that it lacks the 2000 years of Christmas tradition that defines the trope in the 20th and 21st century media.
  • 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. However, verses of apocalypse occur in the OT and Jesus mentions separating the sheep from the goat in the book of Matthew.
  • 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.
  • Blood Magic: More figuratively speaking than literal, but one of the elders who comments about the "great multitude of many nations" says that "they have come out of great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (from Revelation 7:14)
  • 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.
  • Caught Up in the Rapture: Jesus' promise to the church of Philadelphia (no, not that one) in Revelation 3:10 — "Because you have kept My word of patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation which shall come upon the entire world, to test those who dwell on the earth" — is interpreted by certain Bible students that He will deliver people from that "hour of temptation" through the Rapture, although some others interpret the same verse as Jesus delivering them through that time instead of from it.
  • Celibate Hero: Chapter 14 says that the 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel will be celibate virginal men who have "not defiled themselves with women".
  • 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.
  • Cool Key: Jesus announces Himself in the first chapter as being the One who holds "the keys to Hell (Hades in the Greek) and Death". He also tells the church of Philadelphia that He holds "the key of David" (a reference to Isaiah 22:22), that He can open doors that no man can shut and shut doors that no man can open.
  • Corrupt Church: The Whore of Babylon is usually interpreted by Evangelical Christians to be the "anti-church" of the Beast and the False Prophet, with the Roman Catholic Church being the target religion that will evolve (or devolve) into being this. Whatever the case, its followers will be sealed with the Mark of the Beast, which is the opposite of the "seal of God" that the 144,000 of the 12 tribes of Israel will be sealed with.
  • 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.
  • Curse: While the book begins with a blessing to those who read its words and keep the things that are written in it, it also closes with a curse that whoever adds anything to the book will have the curses in the book added to them while those who take anything away from the book will also have their part taken away from the Book (or Tree) of Life. Bible students are divided over whether this curse applies specifically to this book or to the entire Bible in general, although Scripture in various places does warn not to add or take away anything from it.
  • Deader than Dead: Most of the villains get destroyed by being dropped into a lake of fire "which is the second death". Though it is also interpreted that the damned will be restored to their bodies, but they will still be corpse-like, and it is only for them to now suffer physically and spiritually in hell.
  • Dead Guy on Display: The Two Witnesses in Revelation chapter 11, whose bodies are left unburied in the streets for 3 1/2 days until they are resurrected.
  • Death from Above: The Sixth Seal Judgment notably having stars falling out of the sky, while all the people on the earth hide themselves in the caves and the mountains, crying out, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (from Revelation 6:16-17)
  • Death Is Cheap: Christ will eventually revive everyone who has ever died. The virtuous/saved will be granted Complete Immortality, whereas the damned will be more like The Undead.
  • The Death of Death: After the end of the world, Death itself will be destroyed.
    Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
  • Death Seeker: Revelation 9:6 speaks of those who are affected by the stings of the demon locusts of the Fifth Trumpet Judgment:
    In those days men will seek death but will not find it. They will desire to die, but death will elude them.
  • Dishonored Dead: The bodies of the Two Witnesses, who were killed by the Beast, are not allowed to be put into graves, but in fact their deaths are celebrated by the people in giving each other gifts. However, this only lasts for about 3 1/2 days, as God resurrects them from the dead.
  • 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, which is explicitly stated to be 1000 years later, where Satan makes a third and ultimately final go against God after which he is forevermore locked away and the final paradise is created, along with the final judgment, where "the secrets of men" (humanity) are revealed and the world is judged accordingly.
  • 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.
  • Draconic Abomination: 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. Likewise, the nation of Israel is put through the wringer before her Savior comes to save her from her oppressor and make her the greatest or all nations, and then she and all the saints get to live forever in God's new Heaven and Earth and His holy city, with the enemy finally defeated and punished.
    • There are biblical scholars who are not fans of rapture conspiracy theories because they believe it detracts from the theme of hope.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Both on the forces of good and evil.
  • Endless Daytime: It's mentioned in the final two chapters that there is no night in the "new heavens and new earth", since God is light.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: By the time Chapter 20 ends, the current heaven and Earth will be destroyed. 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.
  • Fainting: In Chapter 1, when John saw Jesus in His glorified form, he fell before Him like a dead man.
  • Fallen Angel: The Devil and his angels get cast down to earth. Unfortunately for earth.
  • False Prophet: The Beast from the Earth is eventually given the title of the False Prophet, the one who performs signs in the presence of the First Beast, making fire fall down in the sight of men and causing all to worship the Beast by making an image unto him and by also bearing his mark on their right hands or their foreheads.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • The Fifth Trumpet Judgment, which unleashes demon locusts upon those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, whose sting causes men to seek death and not be able to find it for five months.
    • Satan, the demons, the Beast, the False Prophet, the finally impenitent, and those who took the Mark of the Beast and worshiped its image will be cast into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever. It is, however, debatable whether or not this also applies to non-believers and regular sinners, however it is still mentioned as a place no one wants to go to.
  • 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: The Lake of Fire, 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. It's also debatable whether sinners are sent to be tormented forever or destroyed.
  • 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.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: God is implied to be Gaia's Avenger, as Revelation 11:18 says in some translations that He will destroy those who destroy the earth. Which is especially important these days, as people have noticed this verse while mass pollution and extinction is taking place, making this era of time called the 6th Great Extinction and the Anthropocene.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 to the Lake of Fire for all eternity if they didn't accept Christ. In fact, one of the promises Jesus makes to the seven churches (and to believers in general) is that those who overcome will be given authority over the nations, to "rule them with an iron rod" and to "dash them to pieces like the potter's vessels", just as He has been given.
  • Good Running Evil: With the Fifth Trumpet Judgment, creatures resembling locusts come out of the pit and are told not to kill anyone but simply to torture those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, showing that even with evil running rampant, God is still in charge over the agents of evil.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: Jesus in Chapter 3 calls out the church in Sardis as being this, saying that they have a name that they live, but are actually dead.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The "scroll" offered to St John of Patmos in his visit to Heaven, which is superhumanly sweetly delicious in the mouth (but bitter in the stomach).
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The Lake of Fire, which is the "second death" for the unsaved. However, some Christians believe it's a place of eternal torment and not complete destruction.
    • 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, in Matthew 10:4, he came not to bring peace but a sword).note  Although, depending on the interpretation, his enemies may not be human beings so much as the spiritual forces behind human evil. This would align more with his original Badass Pacifist image.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: All the finally impenitent and those who worshiped the Beast will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever. Likewise, Lucifer also gets what he deserves as well, sharing the same punishment as those folks.
  • 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.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates:
    • Revelation 21:8 lists the sinners who will be cast into the Lake of Fire:
    "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars shall have their portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. This is the second death."
    • The Common English Bible version of Revelation 22:15 reads "Outside are the dogs, the drug users and spell-casters, those who commit sexual immorality, the murderers, the idolaters, and all who love and practice deception."
  • 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 Archetype: The woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, with a crown of stars, who gives birth in front of the dragon to a child that gets taken to Heaven (while she herself flees to the desert where a special place has been prepared for her), is generally thought to be a stand-in for the Virgin Mary.
  • 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. Or possibly both. 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.
  • Money Is Not Power: In Chapter 3, in Jesus' letter to the church of Laodicea, He comments on their saying, "I am rich, and have acquired wealth, and I don't need anything," by telling them that by His standards, they are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked," meaning that their wealth isn't going to save them in the end. He tells them to "buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be dressed, that the shame of your nakedness may not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see."
  • Mystical White Hair: Jesus is described this way in His transfigured form.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. "His name was Death and Hell followed behind him." Notably, he's the only one given an actual name.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Jesus' criticism against the lukewarm-ness of the Laodiceans in His seven letters to the churches in Chapter 3, saying that they are neither "cold nor hot", is interpreted by Christians as a warning that they must either be passionate about serving the Lord ("hot") or dispassionate ("cold") or else He will "spew you out of [His] mouth."
  • No Name Given: The first four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are unnamed and their roles are discerned only from their descriptions, the colors of their horses (white, red and black) and the items they carry (a crown and bow, a sword and a scale). Typically, they're assumed to be Conquest, War and Famine, in that order. Averted with the fourth Horseman, whose explicitly named as Death.
  • Number of the Beast: Trope Maker; The number six-hundred sixty six is identified as a mark of the First Beast, who comes to make the world falsely worship himself. Though as noted on the page, some early manuscripts identify the number as 616, rather than the more infamous 666.
  • Numerological Motif: Everywhere (see Rule of Seven, Number of the Beast, Four Is Death).
  • Offered the Crown: One of the promises Jesus makes to the seven churches (and to believers in general) is that those who overcome will get to rule with Him over the nations and to sit beside Him on His throne, and that those who die as martyrs will be given "the crown of life".
  • Off with His Head!: Chapter 20 speaks of the resurrected martyrs who have been beheaded for not taking the Mark of the Beast or worshiping his image reigning with Christ for a thousand years.
  • One World Order: What the Beast will set up on earth before Jesus defeats him (at least according to some interpretations).
  • Only the Pure of Heart/Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Revelation 21:27 says of the New Jerusalem:
    No unclean thing shall ever enter it, nor shall anyone who commits abomination or falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: "An enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads." He turns out to be a personification of The Devil.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: With the breaking of the fifth seal in the Seal Judgments, John saw under the altar the souls of those who had been killed who were crying, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” And then white robes were given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number of their fellow servants, who were killed as they were, would be fulfilled. Later on, with the Third Bowl Judgment, God repays those who shed the blood of the saints by giving them Rivers of Blood to drink, for the angel says "it is their just due". Also later on, the woman identified as "Mystery, Babylon the Great" is repaid with destruction for her shedding the blood of saints.
  • The Pearly Gates: The theological basis for Heaven having pearly gates is found in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. The detailed description of the City of Heaven, in fact, describes Heaven as having twelve gates; and each of them are made of a single pearl. Traditional thought holds that the justification for Peter the apostle being the gatekeeper of Heaven is found in the gospels, where Jesus lays a duty on Peter:
    "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19)
    • The Bible is, however, silent on how St Peter manages to be present at all twelve gates simultaneously.
  • Playing with Fire: The False Prophet/Second Beast has this power.
  • Power Glows: John describes the "one like the Son of Man" (implied to be Jesus) to have His countenance shining "like the sun in its strength."
  • Pride Before a Fall: The city of Babylon, as stated in Revelation 18:7-8:
    ...for in her heart she says,
    ‘I sit as a queen, and am no widow,
    and will see no sorrow.’
    Therefore her plagues will come in one day—
    death and mourning and famine.
    And she will be utterly burned with fire,
    for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
  • Quit Your Whining: In the NET Bible translation, one of the elders speaks to John who weeps because there was no one who was found worthy to take the scroll from Him who sits on the throne, to break its seals and to look there into its contents: “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)
  • Rain of Blood: The first Trumpet Judgment rains down fire and hail mixed with blood on the earth.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Jesus' seven letters to the seven churches, He calls out five of them for having specific faults that He tells them to rectify through repentance. Namely,
    • The church of Ephesus had "left their first love".
    • The church of Pergamos has those who hold the teaching of Balaam, to eat things sacrficed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.
    • The church of Thyatira has a false prophet (epithetically named Jezebel) misleading His servants into eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality.
    • The church of Sardis claims to have a name that they live, but are actually dead.
    • The church of Laodicea are "neither cold nor hot" and seem to be satisfied with material wealth while ignoring their spiritual poverty.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The second and third horse are red and black, respectively, and they represent war and famine respectively, two things mankind wants to avoid.
  • 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, fitting with the prophetic visual of Isaiah 63:2-3).
  • Rejected Apology: Judgement day will occur and it will be too late to repent by then.
  • Religion of Evil: Mystery Babylon is interpreted by certain Bible students as being the "anti-church" that the False Prophet will be in charge of during the time that the Beast is in power, that it will somehow be populated by both the unsaved and the apostates that will bear the Mark of the Beast.
  • 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.
  • La Résistance: Satan mounts a resistance force against "the beloved city" at the end of the Millennium, which ends up being smoked by God.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Satan: He makes his final appearance as the great dragon who deceives the whole earth, and comes to his end in the Lake of Fire.
  • Screaming Birth: In Revelation chapter 12, according to the NET Bible translation, John saw the woman clothed with the sun, that "she was pregnant and was screaming in labor pains, struggling to give birth." (from Revelation 12:2)
  • 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: All who are saved through Jesus get to live in God's holy city, new Jerusalem, which features very high, transparent gold walls, foundations garnished with 12 gemstones and the light of God's glory illuminating it.
  • 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.
    • The False Prophet, who appears from Chapters 13 to 19 as the First Beast's spokesperson, commanding all to worship the First Beast and for them to take his mark upon their right hands or foreheads.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Of the merchandise that "Babylon the great city" specializes in, "the bodies and souls of men" are mentioned in Chapter 18, indicating human trafficking is going on that the city is permitting with the nations she has bewitched.
  • 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.
  • Supernormal Bindings:
    • In Chapter 9, the four angels that are bound in the river Euphrates are let loose to slay one-third of all mankind at the Sixth Trumpet Judgment.
    • In Chapter 20, a great angel with a chain in his hand binds up Satan and seals him up into the Bottomless Pit for a thousand years, after which he will be let loose for a season.
  • 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!:
    • One of the letters to the seven churches mentions a false prophetess named "Jezebel" as a symbolic Call-Back to the Old Testament queen who promoted idolatry and had killed any prophets who spoke out against her.
    • 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. American conservative believers in the 1980's, threatened by rivals to the USA emerging, seized on the idea that the European Union then had twelve member states, one for each head of the Beast. 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).
  • Tears of Fear:
    • The book starts it off with a prophecy concerning Jesus:
    Look! He is coming with clouds,
    and every eye will see Him,
    even those who pierced Him.
    Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
    • In Chapter 18, the merchants of the earth weep at the destruction of the city of Babylon, realizing that the end of the earthly kingdoms ruled by man has come and the Day of the Lord is at hand.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: In Chapter 10, the "seven thunders" uttered their voices, and John was about to write what they said when he heard, "Seal up what the seven thunders have uttered, and do not write them." In the last chapter, though, the angel says in regards to the entire letter to not seal up the things that are written in it, for the time that those things will happen is "at hand".
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Taking the Mark of the Beast and worshiping its image. Also, removing anything from the book will have one's name removed from the Book of Life, while adding anything to the book will cause the plagues and curses in the book to be added unto that person.
  • To Hell and Back: Implied in the first chapter when Jesus tells John, "I have the keys to Hell [Hades in the Greek] and Death."
  • Tongue Trauma: Revelation 16:10, which takes place during the Fifth Bowl Judgment, has the people affected by that judgment (and quite presumably the other four Bowl Judgments before that) gnawing their own tongues, with the following verse saying that were blaspheming God because of the pains and sores.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: With the breaking of the sixth seal in the Seal Judgments, the sun turns "black as sackcloth" and the moon becomes "red as blood", indicating to modern readers that a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse (which is impossible to occur by human scientific standards, but not impossible for God) is likely to happen.
  • 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 against 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. To make it more impactful on the reader, the entire earth is shook with a global earthquake where every mountain and island vanish.
  • 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.
  • Winged Humanoid: In Revelation chapter 12, John saw that the woman who fled to the wilderness from the Dragon was given two wings like an eagle, so that she could fly to the place that God has prepared for her.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The lamb with the tongue of a dragon is probably meant to represent this.
  • World of Symbolism: Pretty much everything in the book is open to a symbolic reading. This begins right in the opening chapter as Jesus himself explains that the seven candlesticks in John's vision symbolize the seven churches addressed in John's letters. Things only get wilder from there.
  • 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.

"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
Revelation 22:20-21 (King James Version)

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