Revelation - Lesson 5

By Stafford North

Bowls, The Prostitute, And The King of Kings

Revelation 16-19

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can identify the main symbols in Revelation and explain its basic story.


  1. Post for students to see any pictures you want to use of the events in this lesson. As a separate document, there is a picture of what happens as each bowl is poured out which you can post or copy for each student.
  2. If you choose to use them, have ready your visuals-overhead projector and transparencies, PowerPoint, or chalkboard.
  3. Have enough of the Story of Revelation Worksheets ready for those who do not have one.
  4. Have copies of Test 4 for students as they enter class. It is provided at the end of this lesson.
  5. Have pens/pencils ready for use.
  6. All students should have access to a Bible.


The story has now reached a climax. Satan has used the beast (Roman Empire) and the second beast or false prophet (Cult of Emperor Worship) to try to destroy the church by persecution. This time of intense persecution, symbolized in Revelation is 1260 days or 42 months, has now passed and millions of Christians have been killed. Yet the church remains strong because of the faithfulness of the martyrs. Now the time has come for God to keep His promise. Now he will destroy the persecutor.

Lesson Plan for Conducting Class

Introduction: (about 10 minutes)

  1. Make the test available to students as they enter if you wish.
  2. Call the roll, welcome visitors, and make any necessary announcements.
  3. Songs (as desired)
    1. Victory in Jesus-this lesson shows the victory. Remember the martyrs who won the victory over the beast in Revelation 15.
    2. The Church's One Foundation (would be good to sing near the end of the class)
    3. The Battle Belongs to the Lord
  4. Prayer thanking God for His power over His enemies and oursand asking Him to help us be faithful in times of trial.
  5. Give answers to Test No. 4. No. 1-b) The plan of God. No. 2-d) FourNo. 3-b) using the Roman Empire as a persecuting force. No. 4-d) The cult of the worship of Roman emperors. No. 5-b) 90 to 300 AD. No. 6-c) Babylon. No. 7-a) They were victorious
  6. Ask students to get their Story of Revelation Worksheets ready.

Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)

  1. (Set the stage for this lesson by a brief review. Ask such questions as the following.) Q: Who are the main characters in the play we are seeing take place in Revelation and who do they represent? (Lamb-Christ; Dragon-Satan; 1st Beast-Roman Empire; 2nd Beast-Cult of Emperor Worship; Woman-Plan of God.) Q: What is the main storyline of the play? (Satan wants to destroy the church by persecuting it out of existence using the Roman Empire and the Cult of Emperor Worship as his agents. Christ is calling on Christians to "be faithful unto death." God has promised to bring Roman Empire down to defeat when He decides the time is right.
  2. Open your Bibles to Revelation 16. Visual: Bowls Angels coming from temple. Q: As chapter 16 begins, who comes onto the stage and what will they do? (Seven angels come with seven bowls filled with the wrath oGod and they will pour them on the earth.) As eacangel pours out his bowl, some plague will take place on earth. Notice carefully against whom these plagues are to be directed because this will help us understand this part of the story. Fill in the blanks on your Story of Revelation Worksheet as we move through the lesson.
  3. Visual: Bowls Being Poured Out. Bowls Poured Out (If you show the picture, connect it with how the scriptures describe the each plague for any similarities and differences with the Bible text. You might note that in Rev. 13:17-18 say that the followers of the beast will have a mark which will be the number of the beast-666. While we cannot know for sure what this means, the "good guys" have the mark of God while the "bad guys" have the number of the beast.) Q: On what is the first bowl poured out and who is hurt by the plague? (On the earth and those who have the sores are those who have the mark of the beast and who have worshiped his image.)Q: On what is the second bowl poured out and what happens? (On the sea and it turns to blood and everything in it dies.) Q: On what is the third bowl poured and who is harmed? (On the rivers and those hurt are those who "have shed the blood of your saints and prophets.") Q: On what is the fourth bowl poured out and what happens as a result? (On the sun and it burns people who curse God and do not repent and glorify Him.) Q: So, on what locations are the first four bowls poured? (land, sea, rivers, sky-sun) Q: With what event earlier in the book does this connect? (First four trumpets.) Q: What is the main difference? (The trumpets hurt only 1/3; this is total.) Q: What meaning should we get from that? (Trumpets brought partial destruction to warn; bowls bring total destruction to end.) Q: What type of destruction do these four bowls suggest? (Natural disasters of land, sea, rivers, and sky.) Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires, volcanic eruptions, and others will play a role in the total destruction of Rome. Q: Who is hurt by the bowls? (Those who have persecuted Christians and who have worshipped the beast and who curse God.) Act II D 1. Total destruction by natural disasters.
  4. Q: On what is the fifth bowl poured out and what does it do? (The throne of the beast and it makes it dark.) Again we see that the plagues are directed against the beast and his followers. This plague suggests that from the leadership of the nation (its throne) will come darkness. When the leadership of a nation is corrupt and immoral, obviously the nation will suffer. D 2. Thus, Revelation predicts that one of the reasons for the coming fall of the persecuting Rome will be its own internal decay. Any history of Rome will confirm that this came true.
  5. Q: Where does the sixth angel pour his bowl and what happens? (On the Euphrates River to dry it up so that kings and their armies can come to attack.) The sixth trumpet brought 200 million soldiers. This would suggest something even more severe because that was partial destruction and this destruction is final. D 3. So Revelation predicts that incursions from beyond its borders (symbolized by its eastern boundary, the Euphrates), will be a major factor in its fall. In actuality, it was indeed outside attacks from such groups as the Goths, Visigoths, Huns, and Vandals that brought the final fall of Rome about 475 AD.
  6. Q: What do the bowls suggest will be the major factors God will use to bring down the persecutor, the Roman Empire? (natural disasters, internal decay, outside attacks) These were the same factors that God would use to warn under the symbols of the trumpets.
  7. Now comes the interlude between the sixth and seventh bowl.Get this visual picture in your mind: a dragon, a seven-headed beast, and a second beast with two horns like a lamb send frogs out of their mouths as messengers to gather the kings of the world to do battle at a place called Armageddon. First, we must recognize that the passage is highly symbolic. Q: Who are the dragon, beast, and second beast? (Satan, Roman Empire, Cult of Emperor Worship) Q: What would you expect their response to the plagues to be? (Resist. They do not want the Empire to fall.) So they wish to mount a counter offensive. They will rally their side to fight against God's forces of destruction. Thus, they send a message to the vassal kings of the Roman Empire to fight. Their resistance is symbolized by the expression that they will gather at "Armageddon." This is a reference to a place in Israel where many important Old Testament battles were fought and, thus, is a way to say that one is going to make a "last-ditch" effort to fight. Thus, Revelation says, God is going to pour out six plagues to defeat the Roman Empire and its followers. D 4. They will not, however, go down without a fight. They will resist.
  8. Then comes the seventh angel who pours his bowl into the air. A voice from heaven says, "It is done." Thus, the efforts to resist will not change the final outcome. God will do as he promised. D 5. So with this cry, God says He will bring final destruction to the Roman Empire. At this point, the basic story of the Book of Revelation is complete. (1) The church has been persecuted and the martyrs ask how long until God brings down the persecutor. (2) God replies that it will be a while because still more will be martyred before the persecution ends. (3) God first warns the persecutor but the he starts a more intense period of persecution led by the Roman Empire and the Cult of Emperor Worship. (4) After this persecution has run its course, God brings down the persecutor through natural disasters, the Empire's own corruption, and by a series of attacks from outsiders.
  9. In chapter 17, Christ introduces a new character-a prostitute. Visual: Prostitute. Prostitute Q: What descriptions are given of her? (a city-17:18; leads the world in immorality-17:2; she sits on the beast with seven heads-17:3; she is richly clothed-17:4; she leads in heavy persecution of the church-17:6. D 6. Q: Who is the prostitute? (City of Rome) In chapter 18, the description othe prostitute continues only now the figure of a woman is largely dropped and she is described as a city and those living there are in deep sorrow because she is being destroyed. Q: In 19:2, what is said to happen to the prostitute? (God judges her and avenges the blood of His servants.) Q: To what earlier verses may this be compared? (6:9-11 where the martyrs cry for God to judge and avenge their blood.) These two passages, 6:9-11 and 19:2 make very good bookends for the story of Revelation.
  10. In 19:11 one comes riding on a white horse. Visual: Christ on White Horse. White Horse Q: How is he described and who would fit these descriptions? (eyes are a flame of fire; robe dipped iblood; called the Word of God; from His mouth comes a two-edged sword; name is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This, of course, is Christ.) Q: Who comes to fight against Christ? (The beast and the kings of the earth) Visual: Beasts Falling. Beasts Falling Q: What happens to the beast and false prophet? (Thrown into Lake of Fire.) D 7. So the two beasts, representing the Roman Empire and the Cult of Emperor Worship are destroyed forever. This is the same dseen at the end of chapter 16 but more detail has been given in chapters 17, 18, and 19. The main storyline obook of Revelation is now complete.

Application: (4 minutes)

  1. Q: What do we learn about God from this story? (He is powerful, He is active in human affairs, He cares for His people, He can make an apparent defeat into a victory.)
  2. Q: What do we learn about our behavior from this story? (Be willing to sacrifice and even to be a martyr if necessary; Christ and His people will over Satan and, if we are to have a part in this victory, we must be faithful.)
  3. Q: What are some ways we should act to show that Christ and His side will win?

Assignment: (1 minute)

  1. Complete any missing items on your Story of Revelation Worksheet.
  2. Study the worksheet in preparation for the quiz over chapters 16-19 at the next class meeting.
  3. Read Revelation 20 in preparation for the next class meeting.


  1. Test 5 at the beginning of the next class period.


(To be given at the beginning of Lesson 5)

Download test over Lesson 4 below.

Download Worksheets

Back to Revelation

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.