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In that very hour there was a great earthquake,

and one tenth

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of the city

collapsed and 7,000 men were killed

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in the earthquake,

and those who remained became terrified and gave glory to GOD.


In that very hour there was a great demonstration of God’s power through nature, and a very limited part of the dwelling of those who seek power and advancement collapsed and it seemed like everyone was killed by this

demonstration of power,

and those who survived became terrified and gave glory to THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS.



This is the only use of one tenth in Revelation. All the fractions in Revelation seem to point toward a limiting of something, usually a limiting of God’s punishment in order to show His mercy and allow for repentance. In this case extraordinary mercy is being shown.


First it states that this demonstration of power caused only a small portion of the city to collapse, thus showing God’s great mercy. 7,000 being killed seems to imply that “everyone was killed,” yet the next phrase says some survived. What gives? We must remember that this is symbolism and symbolism is intended to convey an impression, it should not be taken literally or analyzed logically. This verse is communicating that God’s punishment and judgment will be both limited and complete at the same time, God will simultaneously show Himself to be merciful and holding a holy standard which cannot be violated without consequence. Rather than being a nonsensical and confusing statement, the imagery converts it into a beautiful picture of the balance of these characteristics of God. Symbolism can communicate what other forms of writing cannot.