Revelation Study (Chapter 4)

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Chapter 4

(Ignatius Study Bible, Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch)

For understanding

1. 4:1–5:14.@How does the third phase of the Book of Revelation begin? What happens in these chapters? What is their dual focus? How does the liturgical setting in heaven allude to the cultic figures and fixtures of the Jerusalem Temple? What ancient belief do these and similar scenes express about the Temple?

4:1-5:14 The third phase of the book (1:19) begins as the Spirit lifts John into heaven at the invitation of Christ. He is bombarded with a spectacular display of angels and saints worshiping the Lord and the Lamb. The two chapters divide according to this dual focus of worship: Rev 4 praises the Father as the Maker of all (liturgy of creation), and Rev 5 praises the Son as the Savior of all (liturgy of redemption).

• The liturgical setting in heaven alludes to the cultic figures and fixtures of the Jerusalem Temple. Familiar sights and sounds include the throne (ark, 2 Sam 6:2), the seven torches (menorah, Ex 25:3139), the winged creatures (cherubim, Ezek 1:10), the 24 elders (24 priestly divisions, 1 Chron 24:1-19), the glassy sea (molten sea, 1 Kings 7:23-26), the musical praise (psalms, 1 Chron 25:1-8), the golden bowls (dishes for incense, 1 Kings 7:50), and the sacrificial Lamb (Passover, Ex 12:21).

This and similar scenes throughout the book (Rev 7:9-15; 8:1-5; 11:19; 15:28) express the ancient belief that the Temple of Jerusalem was a visible replica of the invisible sanctuary of God in heaven (Ex 26:30; Ps 11:4; Wis 9:8) (CCC 1137-39, 2642).

2. 4:4.@Whom do the 24 elders represent? Upon what is the symbolism based?

4:4 twenty-four elders: Represent the saints, who are dressed like priests (in white) and kings (with crowns). See note on Rev 1:6.

• Their number symbolizes the 24 priestly rotations that David established to minister in the Temple (1 Chron 24:1-31). In Jewish tradition, the heads of the 24 divisions were called “elders”. Some see the elders representing the fullness of the royal priestly people of God: the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel (saints of the OT) plus the 12 apostles of Christ (saints of the NT), as in the vision of 21:12-14.

3. 4:6.@What are the “four living creatures”? What do they symbolize? How does their appearance resemble the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel? How does tradition connect these creatures with the four evangelists?

4:6 four living creatures: Angels that appear as animals. They symbolize the glory of God expressed in creation, e.g., divine authority (lion), strength (ox), intelligence (man), and swiftness (eagle).

• Their animal appearance (4:7) resembles the cherubim seen by Ezekiel (Ezek 1:10; 10:1), and their six wings (4:8) recall the seraphim seen by Isaiah (Is 6:2).

• Traditional exegesis connects the four living creatures with the four evangelists. Matthew is the man whose Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Jesus; Mark is the roaring lion whose Gospel begins with the voice crying out in the wilderness; Luke is the sacrificial ox whose Gospel begins in the Temple; and John is the soaring eagle whose Gospel begins with the highest mystery of Jesus’ divinity (e.g., St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus 1, 26).

• The living creatures also refer to the whole Church. Her courage is seen in the lion, her sacrificial service in the ox, her humility in the man, and her sublimity in the flying eagle (St. Bede, Explanation of the Apocalypse 4, 6).

4. 4:8.@What hymn are the creatures chanting? What is the threefold repetition of “holy” a Hebrew way of saying?

4:8 Holy, holy, holy: The Sanctus as chanted in the heavenly liturgy.

• The hymn resembles the song of the Seraphim in Is 6:3, where the threefold repetition of “holy” is a Hebrew way of saying that Yahweh is the holiest of all (superlative degree).

For application

1. 4:1.@Eastern Catholic Churches have as many as three doors leading into the sanctuary, and doors form an important part of the Eastern liturgy. What is the symbolism behind a closed door? An open door? Where does this door lead? Look again at 3:20:@To what or to whom is the door to your heart open (or closed)?closed door is separation from Christ, while an open door shows a communion with him.

3:20 I stand at the door: Jesus is pictured standing outside the door of the Laodicean Church.

• An allusion is made to Song 5:2, where the bridegroom knocks lovingly on the door of his bride’s chamber. Similar imagery appears in Rev 19:7-9.

2. 4:5.@Read the note for this verse. What is the symbolic connection between the Holy Spirit and fire? Why fire (as opposed simply to, say, light)? Do you have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit?God’s presence in the O.T. was a pillar of fire; God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29)

4:5 seven torches: Represent the Holy Spirit (1:4).

• The number seven recalls Zech 4:1-6, where the Spirit keeps the seven flames of the lampstand burning, and also Is 11:2, where the Greek OT enumerates seven gifts of the Spirit given to the Messiah (CCC 1831).

3. 4:8.@What is God’s holiness? What does his holiness do to you? In what ways are you aware of God’s holiness?Purity and perfection in spirit of truth. I am humbled by his holiness. 

4. 4:10.@What things does a crown symbolize? Why would the 24 elders cast their crowns (with everything they symbolize) before God’s throne? What might that action suggest for your approach to God? Rewards won by men are only worthwhile when done in complete submission to Christ’s authority. We should always approach God with reverence and awe.

Revelation Study (Chapter 3)

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Chapter 3

(Ignatius Study Bible, Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch)

For understanding

1. 3:4.@By whom are white garments worn? What do they symbolize? Why will many in Sardis not be clothed in white garments?3:4 soiled their garments: The white garments worn by angels and saints (4:4; 6:11; 7:9; 19:14) symbolize both purity and victory (Dan 11:35; 12:10) and were used in the ancient Church to clad the newly baptized. Some in Sardis had stained their robes by reverting to sinful ways and renewing their friendship with the world.

2. 3:7.@Where was ancient Philadelphia, and what was the city like? What is the “key of David”, and what does it have to do with Jesus? What does Is 22:22 say about this key? What does the image of the key imply in this passage from Revelation?

3:7 Philadelphia: Twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis. Philadelphia served as a base for spreading Greek culture throughout the highlands of central Asia Minor. It was also home to a synagogue community hostile to Christians.

key of David: A symbol of royal Davidic authority. Jesus holds this key as a descendant of David (Rom 1:3) and the messianic heir to his throne (Lk 1:32).

• The expression comes from Is 22:22, where the keys of the house of David pass from one prime minister to another. Being the Davidic king, Christ possesses the fullness of royal power, yet the Church is given a share in his authority. See note on Mt 16:19.

3. 3:12.@What does it mean to be a “pillar in the temple”? With what does the stability of the pillar contrast? Why are the faithful marked with the name of God?

3:12 pillar in the temple: Believers form a living temple indwelt with the Spirit and glory of God (Eph 2:19-22). To be a pillar is to stand in an honored position (Gal 2:9). The stability of a pillar contrasts with the instability of the city, which was leveled by an earthquake in A.D. 17.

my God: Jesus is not denying his own divinity but speaks from the standpoint of his humanity, which he shares in common with us (as in Jn 20:17).

the name: The righteous will bear the names of the Father and the Son (14:1) and be identified as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem (21:2-4). This may recall how Philadelphia was renamed (Neo-Caesarea) after the earthquake.

4. 3:16.@What is the connection between the temperature of Laodicea’s water and the fervor of its Christians?

3:16 lukewarm: Unlike nearby Colossae, Laodicea had no cold drinking water, and unlike nearby Hierapolis, it had no hot medicinal springs. On a spiritual level, the Church had become so complacent that the Lord promises to spit them out like a mouthful of tepid water.

For application

1. 3:1~2.@Visible enthusiasm or lack of it aside, what are some criteria for recognizing from its works when a community is spiritually dead? (Hint: Reflect on 1 Cor 13, Gal 5:13~25, or Jas 2.) How might a spiritually dead community return to life?If we have not love, we gain nothing; using our freedom for vise instead of serving God; showing partiality.  Awake and strengthen what remains.

2. 3:2.@By contrast, how would one recognize a community, regardless of its size or wealth or organization, that is spiritually alive?make your works perfect in the sight of God.

3. 3:10~11.@What are some of the advantages and some of the dangers in parish or community renewal programs? How can a parish or community “hold fast” to its spiritual heritage without becoming stodgy? How can it make changes without losing what it has?To start off strong, but not having the endurance to finish well. We must keep our eyes on the prize,”so that no one will seize our crown. Too many changes are not good. Novelty kills the faith, but tradition strengthens.

4. 3:15~20.@What are some of the dangers of prosperity for individuals or groups? According to these verses, why is it not a disadvantage for a person or group to experience hard times? What does a person or group who is undergoing difficult times need to do about the situation, according to v. 20?Spiritual blindness and poverty and not knowing your condition of need. Those whom he loves, the Lord chastens and reproves. If anyone will just open the door of their heart, then the Lord will assuredly come in and eat with him.

Revelation Study (Chapter 2)

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Chapter 2

(Ignatius Study Bible, Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch)

For understanding

1. 2:1~3:22.@Where are the seven churches in relation to each other? How can we view John’s letters to them in the five ways mentioned: traditionally, geographically, structurally, spiritually, and historically?Churches in Asia minor within approximately a 50 mile radius.  John settled and ministered to these churches; the sequence of churches is clockwise from Ephesus to Laodicea May reflect postal route; each letter begins with an image; the churches are losing their zeal, the worst is Laodicea and the best Ephesus; these were real churches in Asia in the first century.

2. 2:6.@Who were the Nicolaitans? What is John’s concern about them?

2:6 the Nicolaitans: Early tradition links these heretics with Nicolaus, one of the seven deacons ordained in Acts 6:5.

Whatever their background and origin, the Nicolaitans are said to have had a dangerously casual attitude toward idolatry and sexual immorality. Their corruptive influence was already at work among believers in Pergamum (Rev 2:15).

3. 2:7.@To what does the repeated expression “him who conquers” refer? What do the seven letters reveal? What does the “tree of life” signify? How is this promise a subtle one in connection with Ephesus? What is its significance in relation to Christ?

2:7 him who conquers: The one whose commitment to Jesus triumphs over every temptation to compromise or lose faith. The seven letters reveal the eternal rewards that await the saints who persevere (2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). tree of life: Signifies everlasting life and communion with Christ (22:14).

Perhaps the promise is a strike at the Greek fertility goddess, Artemis, whose temple was located in Ephesus and who was sometimes depicted as a fruitful tree.

• Humanity was barred from the tree of life after the rebellion in Eden (Gen 3:22), but access has been regained through Christ, who gives a foretaste of its blessings in the Eucharist. See note on Jn 6:58.

4. 2:9.@Why does John refer to members of a “synagogue of Satan”? What did the exemption of Jews from the worship of the emperors have to do with their relationship with Christians? What kind of crime was the Christian refusal to acknowledge the deity of Caesar?

2:9 synagogue of Satan: The perpetrators of Christian persecution in Smyrna are Jewish. Because Jews were the only ones in the Roman Empire legally exempt from worshiping the emperor and participation in the imperial cult, they could easily betray

Christians to the Roman authorities for confessing Jesus as Lord (instead of Caesar) and practicing what was still an unauthorized religion in the eyes of Rome (Acts 14:2; 17:5-8). For Paul’s estimate of what constitutes a true Jew, see Rom 2:17-29.

5. 2:14.@To what does the “teaching of Balaam” refer here? What was the role of Balaam in Num 22~24? What does Christ’s warning about the perpetrators of these sins have to do with Balaam’s fate?

2:14 teaching of Balaam: Certain troublemakers were permitting what the Jerusalem Council had prohibited: the consumption of idol food and the practice of sexual immorality (Acts 15:29). On the relation between this prohibition and Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor 8-10, see essay: Paul, Idol Food, and the Jerusalem Council at 1 Cor 9.

• Balaam appears in Num 22-24 as a Mesopotamian magician who counseled Moabite women to seduce the men of Israel into sexual and idolatrous sin (Num 25:1-3; 31:16). The warning that perpetrators of sin will face Christ’s word of judgment, symbolized as a sword (Rev 2:16), recalls how Balaam was eventually slain with the sword (Num 31:8).

For application

1. 2:2~5.@According to these verses, why is orthodoxy in belief not enough? Since these verses are addressed to a local church (though individual Christians should take note), how can a community repent of a falling away from the love it once had? What might the consequences be of remaining orthodox but loveless?cold orthodoxy is a poor substitution for burning fire of love the Holy Spirit brings. Remember from where they fallen and repent. God may well remove your lampstand(church) from its place.

2. 2:9~11.@How would you encourage a person or group whose current trials were obviously going to get worse before they got better? Have you been through similar situations? What do these verses ask of the Christian, and what hope do they offer?a crown of life awaits you who conquer, and you shall not be hurt by the second death; not unto death, but we suffer persecution in other trials; utter reliance on Christ and his Church will bring eternal salvation.

3. 2:14~17.@How do you think the “teaching of Balaam” and the laxity of the Nicolaitans apply to the present-day Church? How might a stronger devotion to the Eucharist help the situation? If a “new name” in Scripture means a new identity, how should that identity affect the life of the Church on earth?

Current church is in total apostasy, not unlike those Nicolaitans. Staying close to Eucharistic adoration and frequent communion is important for effectual grace to strengthen the Soul; a new identity in Christ that admits Christians into the heavenly presence of God.

4. 2:19~20.@How might an active, vibrant Christian community be susceptible to the influence of a charismatic figure who would lead it astray? What complaint does the Spirit have against such a community? According to v. 25, what should the community do?humanistic charisma can be a seductive tool of Satan. The refusal to repent. Hold fast until the Lord returns.

Revelation Study (Chapter 1)

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Study Questions for Revelations

THE REVELATION TO SAINT JOHN (APOCALYPSE)
(Ignatius Study Bible, Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch)
Chapter 1

For understanding

1. Word Study: Revelation (1:1).@What does the Greek word apokalypsis mean? As used in the Bible, to what does it always refer? How can mysteries be unveiled? Why is the title Revelation an apt one for this particular book?

Word Study

Revelation ( 1:1)

Apokalypsis (Gk.): a noun meaning “revelation” or “unveiling”. In the Bible, the term always refers to a disclosure of something that was previously unknown, whether it be secrets (Sir 22:22), works (Sir 11:27), the knowledge of God (Eph 1:17), or the plan of salvation (Eph 3:3).

Mysteries can be made known in the present, such as Christ’s glory and Lordship (Gal 1:12), or await disclosure until the future, when God will judge the world (Rom 2:5) and bestow glory on his children (Rom 8:19).

The word apokalypsis serves as a title for the Book of Revelation, sometimes called the Apocalypse on the basis of this Greek term (Rev 1:1). The title is well chosen inasmuch as Revelation removes the veil from God’s plan for the future, drawing back the curtain that hides Christ’s glory, kingship, and control over history from the naked eye (Rev 4-5) (CCC 50).

2. 1:1. How is the message of Revelation mediated? What does the note of immediacy in the book indicate about its fulfillment? What does the connection with the Book of Daniel imply for the meaning of Revelation?

Commentary 1:1 gave him: In classic apocalyptic fashion, the revealed message we from God through the mediation of heavenly beings, in this case through Jesus Christ and his angel (1:12-20; 22:16).

must soon take place: A note of immediacy rings throughout the book, especially in the opening (1:3) and closing chapters (22:6-7, 10, 12, 20). The initial fulfillment of the book was thus expected within the lifetime of its first-century readers.

• The expression alludes to the Greek version of Dan 2:28, where Nebuchadnezzar sees in a dream “what will be” in the latter days of the Messiah. The implication: what was still far off in Daniel’s day is on the verge of fulfillment in John’s day.

John: Probably the Apostle John, a son of Zebedee (Mk 3:17). See introduction to Revelation: Author.

3. 1:7.@How is the towering expectation of Christ’s coming in Revelation envisioned in the Book of Daniel? In the Book of Zechariah? How does John blend these two visions into one? What events, historical and eschatological, signal its fulfillment?

1:7 he is coming: The towering expectation of the book, here described in the words of Dan 7:13 and Zech 12:10.

• Daniel sees the Son of man riding the clouds into heaven, where the divine court grants him an everlasting kingdom that results in the destruction of his enemies.

Zechariah portrays Israel mourning the death of its pierced and rejected Messiah. John blends these visions into one: Christ is the Son of man whose exaltation as king brings a sentence of judgment on those who pierced him. The passage may have provisional reference to the coming of Christ in judgment against unbelieving Jerusalem, the city that pierced him (Rev 11:8) and within a generation lay in ruins (Mt 22:7; 24:1-34).

Ultimately, however, its fulfillment awaits the return of Christ in glory, when all peoples will behold his splendor and lament their participation in sin (Acts 1:11).

4. 1:12~17.@What does the inaugural vision of Revelation describe? How does this depiction of Jesus recall the visions of Daniel and Ezekiel? What is John’s response?
1:12-17 The inaugural vision of Revelation. Borrowing 1 images from Ezekiel and Daniel, it describes Jesus in both divine and human terms.

• His hair is white like that of the Lord, the Ancient of Days (Dan 7:9), and his voice is like the rumbling of God’s glory when it draws near (Ezek 43:2). His appearance also resembles a man (Dan 7:13) whose eyes are torches and whose feet gleam like bronze fired in a furnace (Dan 10:6).

John, like the prophets before him, falls prostrate before the exalted Lord (Rev 1:17; Ezek 1:28; 44:4; Dan 10:9).
5. 1:12.@What are the seven golden lampstands? What do they symbolize? What image from Zechariah do the lampstands evoke, and of what is it a reminder for John?
1:12 seven golden lampstands: Each one is modeled on the branched candelabra, or menorah, that flickered in the sanctuaries of Israel (Ex 25:31-39). They symbolize the seven Churches addressed by John (Rev 1:20).

• The passage evokes Zech 4:2, where a Temple menorah burns with the oil of the Spirit. This is a reminder that the seven Churches remain aglow with the Spirit and depend on him to enlighten others.

• The Church’s preaching is steady and true, and through it one and the same salvation radiates throughout the world. Announcing the truth everywhere, the Church is the seven-branched candlestick that bears the light of Christ (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5, 20, 1).
For application

1. 1:3.@When Scripture is read aloud during the liturgy, do you hear it as just another spiritual reading or as the Word of God that you are called to apply to your life? What blessing might be yours if you follow the latter approach?It is truly the Word of God, from it’s hearing we obtain faith. By application of its truth we escape sin, and save our souls.
Blessed are those who hear.

2. 1:7.@What practical effect does the promise of Jesus’ return at the end of time (the Parousia) have on how you live your life? How near or remote is it to you? How does it affect your faith?He will come with the clouds of heaven
;the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven; those who have pierced him will mourn. We must live our life working out our salvation in fear and trembling; staying it a state of grace before God.
3. 1:10.@Read the note for this verse. Do you regularly set aside time for personal prayer? How much time do you usually devote to it and how often? If you take time for personal prayer, what effect does it have on your relationship with God? If you do not take time for personal prayer, how might you best begin to do so?Saying the rosary
daily helps me stay in a better state of mind and soul.
4. 1:16.@What does the image of a “sharp two-edged sword” coming from Jesus’ mouth suggest to you? Why is the detail that the sword has two sharp edges important?Judgement.The two tables of the covenant. (Ex. 34:29)

Revelation Study Questions

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Sunday, January 20, 2019
Study Questions for Revelations

THE REVELATION TO SAINT JOHN (APOCALYPSE)
(Ignatius Study Bible, Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch)
Chapter 1

For understanding

1. Word Study: Revelation (1:1).@What does the Greek word apokalypsis mean? As used in the Bible, to what does it always refer? How can mysteries be unveiled? Why is the title Revelation an apt one for this particular book?

2. 1:1. How is the message of Revelation mediated? What does the note of immediacy in the book indicate about its fulfillment? What does the connection with the Book of Daniel imply for the meaning of Revelation?

3. 1:7.@How is the towering expectation of Christ’s coming in Revelation envisioned in the Book of Daniel? In the Book of Zechariah? How does John blend these two visions into one? What events, historical and eschatological, signal its fulfillment?

4. 1:12~17.@What does the inaugural vision of Revelation describe? How does this depiction of Jesus recall the visions of Daniel and Ezekiel? What is John’s response?

5. 1:12.@What are the seven golden lampstands? What do they symbolize? What image from Zechariah do the lampstands evoke, and of what is it a reminder for John?

For application

1. 1:3.@When Scripture is read aloud during the liturgy, do you hear it as just another spiritual reading or as the Word of God that you are called to apply to your life? What blessing might be yours if you follow the latter approach?

2. 1:7.@What practical effect does the promise of Jesus’ return at the end of time (the Parousia) have on how you live your life? How near or remote is it to you? How does it affect your faith?

3. 1:10.@Read the note for this verse. Do you regularly set aside time for personal prayer? How much time do you usually devote to it and how often? If you take time for personal prayer, what effect does it have on your relationship with God? If you do not take time for personal prayer, how might you best begin to do so?

4. 1:16.@What does the image of a “sharp two-edged sword” coming from Jesus’ mouth suggest to you? Why is the detail that the sword has two sharp edges important?

Chapter 2

For understanding

1. 2:1~3:22.@Where are the seven churches in relation to each other? How can we view John’s letters to them in the five ways mentioned: traditionally, geographically, structurally, spiritually, and historically?

2. 2:6.@Who were the Nicolaitans? What is John’s concern about them?

3. 2:7.@To what does the repeated expression “him who conquers” refer? What do the seven letters reveal? What does the “tree of life” signify? How is this promise a subtle one in connection with Ephesus? What is its significance in relation to Christ?

4. 2:9.@Why does John refer to members of a “synagogue of Satan”? What did the exemption of Jews from the worship of the emperors have to do with their relationship with Christians? What kind of crime was the Christian refusal to acknowledge the deity of Caesar?

5. 2:14.@To what does the “teaching of Balaam” refer here? What was the role of Balaam in Num 22~24? What does Christ’s warning about the perpetrators of these sins have to do with Balaam’s fate?

For application

1. 2:2~5.@According to these verses, why is orthodoxy in belief not enough? Since these verses are addressed to a local church (though individual Christians should take note), how can a community repent of a falling away from the love it once had? What might the consequences be of remaining orthodox but loveless?

2. 2:9~11.@How would you encourage a person or group whose current trials were obviously going to get worse before they got better? Have you been through similar situations? What do these verses ask of the Christian, and what hope do they offer?

3. 2:14~17.@How do you think the “teaching of Balaam” and the laxity of the Nicolaitans apply to the present-day Church? How might a stronger devotion to the Eucharist help the situation? If a “new name” in Scripture means a new identity, how should that identity affect the life of the Church on earth?

4. 2:19~20.@How might an active, vibrant Christian community be susceptible to the influence of a charismatic figure who would lead it astray? What complaint does the Spirit have against such a community? According to v. 25, what should the community do?

Chapter 3

For understanding

1. 3:4.@By whom are white garments worn? What do they symbolize? Why will many in Sardis not be clothed in white garments?

2. 3:7.@Where was ancient Philadelphia, and what was the city like? What is the “key of David”, and what does it have to do with Jesus? What does Is 22:22 say about this key? What does the image of the key imply in this passage from Revelation?

3. 3:12.@What does it mean to be a “pillar in the temple”? With what does the stability of the pillar contrast? Why are the faithful marked with the name of God?

4. 3:16.@What is the connection between the temperature of Laodicea’s water and the fervor of its Christians?

For application

1. 3:1~2.@Visible enthusiasm or lack of it aside, what are some criteria for recognizing from its works when a community is spiritually dead? (Hint: Reflect on 1 Cor 13, Gal 5:13~25, or Jas 2.) How might a spiritually dead community return to life?

2. 3:2.@By contrast, how would one recognize a community, regardless of its size or wealth or organization, that is spiritually alive?

3. 3:10~11.@What are some of the advantages and some of the dangers in parish or community renewal programs? How can a parish or community “hold fast” to its spiritual heritage without becoming stodgy? How can it make changes without losing what it has?

4. 3:15~20.@What are some of the dangers of prosperity for individuals or groups? According to these verses, why is it not a disadvantage for a person or group to experience hard times? What does a person or group who is undergoing difficult times need to do about the situation, according to v. 20?

Chapter 4

For understanding

1. 4:1–5:14.@How does the third phase of the Book of Revelation begin? What happens in these chapters? What is their dual focus? How does the liturgical setting in heaven allude to the cultic figures and fixtures of the Jerusalem Temple? What ancient belief do these and similar scenes express about the Temple?

2. 4:4.@Whom do the 24 elders represent? Upon what is the symbolism based?

3. 4:6.@What are the “four living creatures”? What do they symbolize? How does their appearance resemble the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel? How does tradition connect these creatures with the four evangelists?

4. 4:8.@What hymn are the creatures chanting? What is the threefold repetition of “holy” a Hebrew way of saying?

For application

1. 4:1.@Eastern Catholic Churches have as many as three doors leading into the sanctuary, and doors form an important part of the Eastern liturgy. What is the symbolism behind a closed door? An open door? Where does this door lead? Look again at 3:20:@To what or to whom is the door to your heart open (or closed)?

2. 4:5.@Read the note for this verse. What is the symbolic connection between the Holy Spirit and fire? Why fire (as opposed simply to, say, light)? Do you have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit?

3. 4:8.@What is God’s holiness? What does his holiness do to you? In what ways are you aware of God’s holiness?

4. 4:10.@What things does a crown symbolize? Why would the 24 elders cast their crowns (with everything they symbolize) before God’s throne? What might that action suggest for your approach to God?

Chapter 5

For understanding

1. 5:1.@What is the scroll? What does it look like? As seen in the subsequent context, what is the role of Christ?

2. 5:5.@What are the OT sources for the messianic titles for Jesus?

3. 5:6.@Though John expects to see a lion, what does he actually see? How many times does this designation for Christ appear in Revelation? How does Christ forever appear, and what does his posture symbolize? What do seven horns and seven eyes represent?

4. 5:9~10.@What does the worship of the Lamb indicate about him? What does the imagery of the song recall? What does it celebrate here?

For application

1. 5:6.@The image of the Lamb standing as though slain upon an altar is a common symbol of the eucharistic liturgy in religious art. How does it communicate the meaning of the Mass? What response does it evoke in you?

2. 5:9~10.@These verses allude to your participation in the kingly and priestly roles of Jesus. At the eucharistic liturgy, how does the priest’s role mirror that of Christ? How do we, as the lay faithful, participate in this priestly ministry?

3. 5:11.@If a myriad is Greek for the number 10,000, consider the number of angels and saints who join us in worship.What might the sheer quantity of fellow worshipers suggest for your participation in the Mass?

4. 5:12~14.@Of the four principal forms of prayer–adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and repentance–which do you see most often in the Mass? Which do you do most often when you pray privately? If God does not need our worship, why should we worship him?

Chapter 6

For understanding

1. 6:1–8:5.@What does the breaking of the seven seals bring about? What do these seals parallel in Jesus’ preaching? What does history tell us about their fulfillment? What relationship do the sevenfold disasters mentioned bear to the Torah? Although devastating, for what are these disasters merely a prelude? In Revelation, for what do they serve as the backdrop?

2. 6:1~8.@When are the four horsemen summoned, and what does each symbolize? From where in the Prophets does this vision come? What message does Revelation communicate by means of these images?

3. 6:9.@To what is the altar mentioned here a heavenly counterpart? Who are those slain for the word? Why do their pleas for justice come from beneath the altar? What is martyrdom thus portrayed as being?

4. 6:17.@Of what is the act of standing a sign? Who assumes this posture in Revelation? About what were Nahum and Malachi warning?

For application

1. 6:1~8.@Read the note for these verses. In what ways are punishment and chastisement both similar and different? Ideally, what is the purpose of each?

2. 6:9~11.@Why might our age be considered an age of martyrs? If the prospect of sacrificing your life for your faith were to become a reality, what would you do?

3. 6:12~14.@Has your own or your family’s life ever been shaken by sudden turns of events? If so, what effects did this have on you, particularly in terms of your faith, your hope, and your love?

4. 6:16~17.@What is the wrath of God? If God is Love, as Christians believe, why does Scripture speak–even in the New Testament–of divine wrath?

Chapter 7

For understanding

1. 7:3.@What is the purpose of a seal? Who receives the seal in this vision? With what does the seal of God contrast within the broader context of Revelation? How does the entire scene parallel Ezek 9:1~7?

2. 7:5~8.@What two irregularities stand out in the enumeration of the 12 tribes? What may explain each irregularity? Whatever the precise reason for these irregularities, why was the number kept at 12?

3. 7:9.@Who are in the “great multitude” that John sees? Whom does the uncountable throng represent? For what were palm branches used? What is the OT background for this vision?

4. Word Study: Shelter (7:15).@What does the Greek word for “to shelter” mean? What memory from the OT inspires its usage? From John’s perspective, what function does the Tabernacle serve? How then does Revelation use the verb “to shelter”?

For application

1. 7:2~3.@When you make the sign of the Cross, what are you acknowledging? What is the significance of being sealed with this sign in Confirmation?

2. 7:4~8.@Read the note for v. 4. How many messianic Jews, Jewish Christians, or Hebrew Catholics do you know? What contribution to Christian–especially Catholic–faith do Jewish/Hebrew Christians offer?

3. 7:9~12.@How much time per week do you spend in adoration of God (that is, without asking him for anything)? What can you learn from vv. 10 and 12 about how to offer prayers of adoration?

4. 7:14~17.@Which of the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and love) do these verses describe? What is the focal point of this virtue? How might you gain strength in your practice of this virtue?

Chapter 8

For understanding

1. 8:1.@What kind of silence does the “silence in heaven” recall? Of what other kind of silence does Jewish tradition speak? What, then, is happening in the context of this background?

2. 8:3.@How do the priests on earth resemble angels in heaven? Who comprise the company of all the saints in heaven? What doctrine is the basis for their intercession?

3. 8:7–11:19.@How do the coming seven trumpet blasts compare with what happened with the preceding seven seals? The following seven bowls? On what scriptural events are the first four trumpet blasts modeled?

4. 8:11.@What is wormwood, and what does it symbolize? What is the connection here with the story in Ex 15:22~25?

For application

1. 8:1.@What is the value of silence for prayer? What is the difference between “dead” silence and a living silence? Which better characterizes your experience of prayer?

2. 8:3~4.@What characteristics make incense a good symbol for prayer? According to the note for v. 3, what kind of prayer is being offered here?

3. 8:6.@For what are trumpets used in the Bible? What kind of response do you think they are intended to evoke?

Chapter 9

For understanding

1. 9:1~12.@What happens when the fifth trumpet sounds? What are the warrior locusts? What restrictions are placed on their activity? What do these limitations suggest? How does this plague compare with the vision of the prophet Joel?

2. 9:1.@Of what is the fallen star a traditional image? To what does the “bottomless pit” correspond? In the cosmology of Israel, who dwelt there? How does Christ control this realm?

3. 9:11.@What do the names Abaddon and Apollyon mean in their original languages? With what is Abaddon associated in the OT?

4. 9:13~21.@What force does the sixth trumpet unbind? How are these beasts different in their destructiveness from the locusts?

For application

1. 9:3~6.@What do locusts normally eat? According to John, whom are they supposed to attack? What would have protected them?

2. 9:7~11.@Although the locusts are ferocious in appearance and are led by “the Destroyer”, what damage are they allowed to do to the followers of the Lamb (see v. 4)? How is this similar to the authority Satan has over the followers of Jesus?

3. 9:15~19.@If “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), how does this killing show divine justice? “Since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), what is the source of our hope that we might enter heaven?

4. 9:20~21.@Why do you think the scale of the killing in the previous verses only hardens the hearts of some people? Based on your experience, how common is this reaction?

Chapter 10

For understanding

1. 10:1–11:14.@What is happening between the sixth and seventh trumpet? What does it set in motion? What does it mean for John?

2. 10:1~11.@What does the angel that John sees look like? What does the angel of the Lord do elsewhere in Scripture? How is the Book of Daniel pertinent? What do the similarities between Dan 10~12 and Rev 10 imply about the timetable of the prophecy?

3. 10:7.@What is happening to the “mystery of God”? Where in the OT is the link between the “mystery” and the messianic “kingdom” forged?

4. 10:9.@Why is John told to take and eat the scroll? Why does the message taste sweet but then turn sour? On what other Scripture passage is the scene modeled?

For application

1. 10:4.@If you had to describe to someone else, such as a spiritual director, what is happening in your spiritual life, how easy or hard would it be for you to do this? Why do you think many mystics have such difficulty discussing the content of their experiences?

2. 10:9@What is your own prophetic role as a baptized Christian? What is the balance between sweetness and suffering in your exercise of this role?

3. 10:10.@In order to exercise a prophetic role, what must you first do, according to the first half of this verse? How would you do that?

4. 10:11.@At whose initiative does the prophet perform his ministry? What is the role of vocation (or calling by the Lord) in what you do?

Chapter 11

For understanding

1. 11:1.@Describe the prophetic action that John is asked to perform. What distinction is he told to make, and what is the significance of this? Explain how different interpreters offer different answers to the question: What did John measure? What is the OT background for this symbolic action?

2. 11:2.@Explain two different ways one might read this verse. What is the meaning of the “forty-two months”? From where in the OT is this figure drawn?

3. Word Study: Witnesses (11:3).@In what four ways is the word “witness” used in the NT and in Christian history? Which of these is the dominant sense in the Book of Revelation?

4. 11:8.@What is the “great city” to which John refers? What are its crimes? What is implied by its comparison to “Sodom” and “Egypt”?

5. 11:15~19.@What happens when the seventh trumpet sounds? What is the twofold biblical backdrop for this event?

For application

1. 11:1.@In colloquial language, what does it mean to “take the measure” of something or someone? By what standard would you take the measure of your spiritual life?

2. 11:3~12.@How would you measure the health of the churches throughout the world that have undergone persecution over the last 75 years or so? What are some examples? Why do you think such churches grow stronger rather than weaker?

3. 11:15.@What are some of the ways in which the expression “kingdom of God” can be understood? How can the existence of this kingdom be at once visible here and now and yet a mystery?

4. 11:19.@What considerations prompted many Church Fathers to link the Ark of the Covenant with Mary? How may the image of the Ark also be applied to the Church? To you yourself?

Chapter 12

For understanding

1. 12:1~6.@What three things does the woman of Rev 12 represent? What is the fourfold biblical background upon which John is drawing in his depiction of this scene?

2. 12:3.@What does the great red dragon represent? What do his horns and his diadems symbolize? For what did this draconic serpent stand in the ancient Near East? What is he called, and how is he pictured?

3. 12:5.@Who is the “male child” that is born? What image connects him with Ps 2? How is this psalm fulfilled in Christ, according to the NT?

4. 12:13~17.@What happens when the devil is slammed down to earth? What does this imagery recall from OT narratives?

For application

1. 12:1.@Read the note for vv. 1~6. Why is the appearance of the woman called a “great sign”? What makes her a sign of Mary? What makes her a sign of the Church?

2. 12:3.@Why is the appearance of the dragon also called a sign? A sign of what?

3. 12:6, 14.@These verses mention the flight of the woman into the wilderness. What is God able to do for his people in the wilderness that is not done anywhere else?

4. 12:17.@Some theologians and spiritual writers speak of “spiritual warfare”. What does the term mean to you? How might events in your life indicate that you are engaged in spiritual warfare? How is the Church at large engaged in it?

Chapter 13

For understanding

1. 13:1~2.@In what ways does the beast from the sea mimic the Lamb and assume the posture of a rival? From what OT vision do the animal features of the beast come? What is different about the way the OT and Revelation use this imagery?

2. 13:3.@What do the seven heads of the beast represent? What are two ways of understanding the healing of the beast’s mortal wound?

3. 13:17.@What choice does the beast force the world to make? What does the note suggest may be the historical background?

4. 13:18.@Of what is the number six hundred and sixty-six probably a cryptogram? Why is the reference to Nero as the beast entirely apt? Where else in the Bible does the number 666 appear, and what is its significance? In light of this, what does the note suggest Solomon may typify?

For application

1. 13:1~2.@Read the note for these verses. What do you think is the “beast” of our day? How does it mimic the role of religious faith?

2. 13:4.@What effects can you see of this “beast” in the world at large? Have you been affected by it? As the verse asks, how can you fight against it?

3. 13:11.@Read the note for this verse. Again, what might this beast be in our time? That is, what in our culture looks innocent but speaks an insidious language that draws its listeners to worship the beast you identified just now?

4. 13:16~17.@Whose “mark” did you receive when you were baptized? Whose sign do you make upon yourself when you pray? How can this mark or sign fight against the authority of the beasts you identified?

Chapter 14

For understanding

1. 14:1.@What does Mount Zion represent here? Of what is the earthly Zion a visible model? In the OT, for what does Zion serve as the focal point? What is its connection with John’s vision? What is the significance of the Lamb’s name and the Father’s name written on the foreheads of those gathered there?

2. 14:4.@What is the literal rendering of “they are chaste”? What two levels of meaning would this expression probably have?

3. 14:8.@Where was Babylon, and for what was it infamous? How does the way the angel speaks of the fall of this city resemble the OT oracles about the fall of Babylon?

4. 14:14~20.@How are the judgments of the righteous and the wicked described? How does the analogy describe what happens to members of both groups? Where else in Scripture do similar scenes of divine judgment appear?

For application

1. 14:4.@Why is chastity such a significant virtue for followers of Jesus? How important is this virtue for you, whether you are married or single?

2. 14:7.@Is God’s judgment something for Christians to be afraid of or to hope for? How do you view the prospect that God will sooner or later judge you?

3. 14:13.@Why are the dead who die in the Lord blessed? What did judgment mean for them? Why is it appropriate to pray for their intercession?

4. 14:14~20.@Why is it appropriate that judgment should begin with the People of God? In the context of the note for these verses, what do the verses themselves indicate may be the outcome of that judgment?

Chapter 15

For understanding

1. 15:2~4.@What does John see and hear as a prelude to judgment? What song is being sung? What was the original song about, and how are the martyrs adapting it?

2. 15:6.@What is the significance of the bright linen? Why do the angels wear golden sashes?

3. 15:7@What are the golden bowls? What idea is reinforced by the use of these bowls to pour out plagues?

4. 15:8.@What is cutting off access to the throne room? What three OT events does it recall?

For application

1. 15:3a.@Why is singing an appropriate response to victory? How does singing sometimes enhance the experience of prayer?

2. 15:3b~4.@If God does not need our praise, why do we praise him? How are these verses a good model for a prayer of praise?

3. 15:6.@What is the main function of an angel? Why would these angels be dressed as Levitical priests? What do angelic and priestly functions have to do with your role as a baptized Christian in the world?

4. 15:8.@What does the term glory mean in ordinary usage? When applied to God? If entering into that glory is your final destiny, why should God hide it from you now?

Chapter 16

For understanding

1. 16:1~21.@How is the emptying of the seven bowls of wrath unlike the cycle of the seven seals and the seven trumpets? On which of the Exodus plagues are five of the seven bowls modeled?

2. 16:12.@Where is the river Euphrates? What is its connection with earlier biblical history?

3. 16:16.@What does the word Armageddon mean? What was its historical location, and how was that location used? What is Revelation ultimately envisioning? What memories of victory and defeat does the plain of Megiddo evoke?

4. 16:21.@What does the final bowl bring upon the wicked Babylon?

For application

1. 16:1~21.@What spiritual response do you make to news of wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters, and economic privation all over the world? What spiritual responsibility do you have for them?

2. 16:5~7.@When is rejoicing at the overthrow of the wicked appropriate for a Christian? How might such rejoicing be inappropriate?

3. 16:8~9.@If you are a parent, how do you encourage your children to repent through the punishments you administer? What do you do if the children refuse to repent?

4. 16:18.@Have you ever experienced an earthquake? Why is an earthquake so terrifying? On a spiritual level, what might an earthquake symbolize for you, and what effects might it have on your relationship with God?

Chapter 17

For understanding

1. Topical Essay:@Who Is Babylon?@How have interpreters identified the “Babylon” of Revelation? What are some of the arguments in favor of the two positions? Is it possible to hold that both are legitimate interpretations?

2. 17:1.@What does the recurring verb seated symbolize in this vision? It points to a relationship between what two historical entities? What is the symbolism of “many waters”? What is the connection with ancient Babylon?

3. 17:9.@The image of seven hills leads many to identify the harlot of Revelation with what ancient city? According to the note, how does an examination of the symbolism open the way for a different interpretation?

4. 17:10.@List some possible interpretations of the “seven kings”. Read literally, who are possible candidates for being the sixth king? Whom do ancient historians normally identify as Rome’s first king?

For application

1. 17:1~6.@Read the note for v. 1. How many meanings can you think of for the verb to sit (or, alternatively, to seat)? Why do you think John places such emphasis on the harlot’s being seated?

2. 17:9.@Read the note for this verse, considering again the harlot’s position. How does it indicate alliance? How does this image apply to the position many of us take with respect to the world?

3. 17:12~14.@Think of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century (e.g., Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, Idi Amin’s Uganda, and others). On what were they seated? How does the “one hour” of authority apply to them? With respect to the saints, what do they all have in common?

Chapter 18

For understanding

1. 18:1~24.@What is happening in these verses? What images in this chapter are taken from the judgment oracles of the Prophets?

2. 18:4.@In what two ways has the call to “come out of her” been interpreted? What NT passages are used to support these different readings? What plagues are being referred to in this verse?

3. 18:9~19.@Who are the representative clients of the harlot? Why are they saddened at her destruction? From where is this subsection of the chapter drawn?

For application

1. 18:4~5.@Because you live in the world and must have dealings with it, what are some of the dangers to faith as you engage in political and economic activities? For example, how seriously do you take the Church’s admonition not to engage in unnecessary work–including commercial activity–on the Lord’s day (see CCC 2185)?

2. 18:9~10. According to the Catechism (CCC 1882, 2239, 2442), what involvement should Catholics have in the political process? What are some of the benefits and dangers of this involvement?

3. 18:11~17a.@Why have recent popes criticized the capitalist system for its outlook on world markets? What is the capitalist view of making a profit? How does this view square with the Christian perspective (see CCC 2426~42)?

4. 18:17b~19.@According to Catholic social teaching, to whom do the material goods of the world belong (see CCC 2402~6, 2437~49)? What is the responsibility of rich nations like ours for the welfare of poorer nations?

Chapter 19

For understanding

1. Word Study: Hallelujah (19:1, 3, 4, 6).@Of what is this word a transliteration? How many times does it appear in the NT? How is it used in the Psalms? What do some scholars maintain is the background of the repeated “Hallelujah” in Rev 19? To what does it build up? What does the word have to do with the celebration of the Christian Eucharist?

2. 19:7~9.@What are these verses describing? How does John envision the Church? How is she dressed? What does the marriage of the bridal city recall in Ezekiel?

3. 19:11~16.@How does Christ appear in these verses? What is his mission? What does the depiction of Christ dressed in a blood-covered robe and treading the winepress of wrath recall? What does the depiction of him as the Word swinging a sharp sword recall?

4. 19:17~21.@Describe what is going on in these verses. What kind of judgment is envisioned? According to the note, what historical happenings may be linked to the condemnation of the “beast” and the “false prophet”? From where does the vision of “the great supper” come?

For application

1. 19:5.@What role does praise of God play in your prayer life? Why is praise commanded here?

2. 19:11~13.@Why is Jesus depicted here as a fierce warrior rather than the Prince of Peace? In spite of the discomfort that many moderns have with military imagery, how might it be appropriate in Catholic spirituality?

3. 19:9.@Who is invited to the “marriage supper of the Lamb”? What is your role in ensuring that the invitation is accepted?

4. 19:15.@Why does a sharp sword come out of Christ’s mouth? What does it symbolize? Why a sword?

Chapter 20

For understanding

1. 20:1~6.@Explain the three main ways that theologians have interpreted the millennium of Rev 20. What has been the most widely held view, historically speaking? What does the note suggest as the OT background for the millennium? What is the Catholic Church’s official position on this question?

2. 20:5.@What are two possible ways of understanding the first and second resurrection in Revelation? What are some other NT passages that lend support to these views?

3. 20:8.@Who are Gog and Magog? From where do these names come? What happens to them?

4. 20:11~15.@What is the Last Judgment? What happens during it? What is the outcome of that day?

For application

1. 20:1~6.@Read the note for these verses. Of the interpretations of the millennium surveyed, which do you think is most likely? Why do you think the Church rejects millenarianism?

2. 20:6.@Assuming the “first death” is physical death, what does the note for this verse say the term “second death” means? What does the Catechism say about it (CCC 1033~37)?

3. 20:10.@Why would a loving God create a place or state of eternal torment? Why does he allow people to go there?

4. 20:13.@On what basis are we judged? What part do motives play in how we are judged?

Chapter 21

For understanding

1. 21:1.@What does it mean to say there will be a “new heaven” and a “new earth”? In what way does this involve a process of regeneration? From where does this imagery come? What does it mean for the sea to cease to exist?

2. 21:2.@What is the new Jerusalem? Why does the new Jerusalem touch down to earth? To what city, described earlier in the book, is the heavenly Jerusalem the antithesis? What suggests this?

3. 21:9~22:5.@With what do these verses deal? From where do the details of this vision come, and what are they? Where else in Scripture are there visions of Jerusalem adorned in this way?

4. 21:16.@What shape does the eternal city have? What may have served as the model for this shape?

For application

1. 21:1.@Read the note for this verse. Based on what you already know about the symbolism of the earth and the sea in Revelation, what might John regard as a new heaven and a new earth? What, for example, does worship have to do with it?

2. 21:3~7.@How does God dwell with men already? What will be the difference between how he dwells with us now and how he will dwell with us in the way described in John’s vision? How might you increase your desire to have God live with you?

3. 21:8.@With what kinds of people does God refuse to dwell? What is it about their behavior (especially habitual behavior) that God finds repugnant?

4. 21:22~25.@What is the source of light for the heavenly city? Since a baptized Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit, what should be the source of his light even in this life? How would you recognize it when you see it?

Chapter 22

For understanding

1. 22:1.@Of what is the “water of life” symbolic? To what does this imagery allude? How is the water an apocalyptic expression of a trinitarian mystery?

2. 22:2.@Other than in the present verse, where did the “tree of life” make an appearance in the Bible? What might its reappearance here be intended to convey?

3. 22:4.@What is the great hope of biblical spirituality? What does tradition call it? To what does it point?

4. 22:10.@What is John commanded not to do? Why is reading John’s message a top priority for his churches? How is this command in contrast to Dan 12:4?

5. 22:18~19.@What warning is given here? What similar warning did Moses give?

For application

1. 22:1~2.@Where does the river of life (the Holy Spirit) flow? To what does it give life? What purpose do the leaves of the tree of life serve? How does all this imagery apply to the Holy Spirit in your life?

2. 22:4.@What does “seeing the face” of someone mean? In this life, Scripture urges us to “seek the face” of God. How might you do that? What should the results of seeking God’s face be?

3. 22:13.@What does this verse suggest about the meaning of life? Regardless of your background, your career, your state in life, or your plans for the future, what does it all come to in the end?

4. 22:17.@A saying in the software industry goes, “If you have a good product, and nobody buys it, raise the price.” Is the Holy Spirit free or priceless? How much will possession of the Holy Spirit cost you?