The last book of the Bible is full of intriguing symbols and mysterious characters. Knowing who the actors are helps us understand the plot.
The book of Revelation, written more than 1,900 years ago in a foreign land, with symbolic language that depends on knowledge of the prophetic literature that went before, can seem mysterious and concealed. But the following brief plot summary and cast of characters can begin to reveal its meaning. It's a book that has great significance for your life today!
Revelation plot summary
The Lamb (Jesus Christ) fulfills His promise to return to the earth and free the deceived and enslaved human race from its hidden ruler, the dragon (Satan) and his coconspirators, especially the Beast and False Prophet.
The battle plan unfolds in a series of seven-part events. First, seven sections of a scroll or book that had been sealed shut are opened, section by section. The first four seals open to reveal four horsemen, earlier interpreted by Christ: white horse = false religion; red horse = war; black horse = famine; pale horse = widespread death through disease epidemics and natural disasters. These events have been occurring for many years but intensify at the time of the end of man's rule. The fifth seal is martyrdom and the Great Tribulation, which begins 3 1/2 years before Christ's return. The sixth seal opens to reveal heavenly signs, signaling the beginning of the Day of the Lord, "the great day of His wrath" (Revelation:6:17), which seems to be the last year of the 3 1/2 -year period.
The seventh seal includes seven plagues announced by seven angels with trumpets. The seventh trumpet includes seven last plagues and Christ's triumphant return to banish Satan and save the world from total destruction.
That's a whirlwind tour, but one person summarized the message for God's people in even fewer words: "I've read the end of the book, and we win!"
For more information about the mysterious symbols and events revealed in the book of Revelation, download or request a free copy of The Book of Revelation Unveiled. Other helpful booklets include You Can Understand Bible Prophecy and Are We Living in the Time of the End? VT
The Cast of Character s in Revelation
CHARACTER -- The Lamb (5:8-13)
A.K.A. -- Jesus Christ (1:1), Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End (1:8), Son of Man (1:12-16), Lion of the tribe of Judah, Root of David (5:5), Bridegroom (19:7-9), King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:16)
IDENTITY -- Jesus Christ
CHARACTER -- The Seven Churches (chapters 2 and 3)
A.K.A. -- The Lamb's wife (19:7), kings and priests (1:6), overcomers (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21), saints (8:3-4), the woman who fled to the wilderness (12:6)
IDENTITY --The Church of God (Acts:20:28; 1 Corinthians:10:32)
CHARACTER -- 144,000 (7:3-8)
A.K.A. -- 144,000 Israelites, sealed by God and protected during the Day of the Lord
IDENTITY -- 12,000 Christians of each of the 12 tribes of Israel
CHARACTER -- Great Multitude (7:9)
A.K.A. -- “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation” (7:14)
IDENTITY -- People converted during the Great Tribulation
CHARACTER -- Two Witnesses (11:3-6)
A.K.A. -- The two olive trees and the two lampstands (11:4; allusion to Zechariah:4:3, 14), God's servants who will prophesy and perform miracles for 3 1⁄2 years in Jerusalem
IDENTITY -- Two servants of God whose identities are not known at present
CHARACTER -- Four Horsemen (6:1-8)
A.K.A. -- The beginning of sorrows (Matthew:24:4-8): white horse = false religion; red = war; black = famine; pale = plagues
IDENTITY -- False religion, war, famine and death by disease and disaster
CHARACTER -- Seven Angels Who Blow the Seven Trumpets (chapters 8 and 9; 11:15)
A.K.A. -- Angels given the job of bringing plagues as punishment during the Day of the Lord; the first four blow on the earth, trees, seas, rivers and sun, moon and stars, while the fifth (destruction caused by the European Beast power), sixth (army of 200 million that kills a third of mankind) and seventh (seven last plagues) are called the three woes (8:13; 9:12)
IDENTITY -- Seven angels
CHARACTER -- The Dragon (12:3)
A.K.A. -- That serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (12:9); accuser of the brethren (12:10)
IDENTITY -- Satan the devil
CHARACTER -- The Beast (13:4)
A.K.A. -- The Beast from the sea with seven heads and 10 horns (13:1) [combination of the empires pictured by the beasts of Daniel 7 with leopard, bear and lion], the king of the North (Daniel:11:40-45)
IDENTITY -- Leader of a group of 10 national rulers; resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe
CHARACTER -- The False Prophet (16:13)
A.K.A. -- Great harlot who rides the Beast (17:1); another beast with two horns like a lamb who spoke like a dragon (13:11), working miracles, exercising the authority of the first Beast; Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth (17:5); man of sin, the lawless one (2 Thessalonians:2:3-4, 8-10)
IDENTITY -- Leader of a great false religion based in Rome
CHARACTER -- 200 Million-Man Army (9:16)
A.K.A. -- Army that crosses the Euphrates River to attack the Beast power; news from the east and the north that troubles the king of the North (Daniel:11:44)
IDENTITY -- Eurasian army that comes against the European Beast
*A.K.A (also known as)