Revelation – Overview of the Book

The secret of the book of Revelation is contained in it’s very first verse.  The book is given to show his servants “the things which must shortly come to pass” – a prophecy of the future – and it was “signified”, or put in sign by Christ’s angel.  This means that it is a book of symbols describing the continuous history of the world from the time of John to the return of Christ and past.  Some understandings of Revelation (like the preterist and futurist understandings created by Rome and it’s daughter churches) leave a 1,500 year time gap in the middle of the prophecy (a time period in which the Papacy was identified by Martin Luther as the AntiChrist of John, and conveniently skipping a period in which the Church was responsible for the deaths of over 6o million people during the Protestant reformation and Spanish Inquisition).  The Christadelphians only believe in the continuous historical understanding of the book of Revelation.

A graphic representing the telescoping structure of the book of Revelation

Sybolic representation of the layers of Revelation as a telescope

“The things that thou hast seen” John 2:19 – Looking back to the past

Chapter #1 – Section A

  • Establishes what the book is (A prophecy of the future “Things which must shortly come to pass”
  • How it should be understood – It is a book of signs and symbols (verse 1 – “signified it” or “put in sign” in the greek
  • Revelation is a book of symbols and cannot be taken literally

Chapter #1 – Section B  – Shows Christ in his glory

“The things which are” John 2:19 – The present time of John

Chapters #2 & 3

Messages to the ecclesias (ecclesia is the original greek word which means “Called out ones” – The word indicates a group of believers- not a building or an organization) – Letters to the ecclesia is also prophetic, showing the decline of the ecclesia from faithfulness to lukewarmness

  • Ephesus – Lacking love
  • Syrna – Poor but rich as far as Christ is concerned
  • Pergamos – the fighting ecclesia
  • Thyatira – The endangered ecclesia
  • Sardis – The dead ecclesia
  • Philidelphia – the beloved ecclesia
  • Laodecia – Lukewarm ecclesia – has all the woutward appearance of vigor, but is dead to the eyes of Christ

“The things which shall be hereafter – The future prophecies of Revelation start here

Chapter #4 The prophecy starts – The things which must be hereafter

  • Looking forward to the glory of the kingdom – Christ and the saints

Chapter #5 The victory of the Lamb who is worthy to open the scroll in which the prophecies are written

Chapter #6 AD 96 – 324 – History of the Roman empire from the time of John to Constantine’s triumph of apostate Christianity over Pagan Roman Power

Six seals, or epochs of history

Chapter #7 The sealing of the servants of God (by being faithful under persecution they are sealed – Sealing indicates God’s recognition and reward)

Chapter #8 Seventh seal opens, with in which is seven woe trumpets

  • Invasion of the Barbarians on the Western Roman Power
  • Collapse and fall of the Western Roman Empire

Chapter #9 – Invasion of the Moslems on the Eastern Roman Empire

  • Fall of the Eastern Roman Empire (Fall of Constantinople)

Chapter #10 – Vision of the victorious Christ and the Saints

  • Hereafter continued – Revelation now backs up to give more details on the events listed above

Chapter #11 – Persecution, death and resurrection of the witnesses (Pseudo Christians fighting against religious and political tyranny) – provides opening and protection for true believers.

  • Sounding of the Seventh trumpet – The nations of the world pass to the control of Christ in his kingdom

Chapter #12 Birth and victory of Constantine over paganism

Chapter #13 – The rise and power of the beast of the sea (Rome) and the beast of the earth (Constantinople)

Chapter #14 – The trimph of the redeemed (those who do not have the mark of the beast)

  • Proclamation of the mid-heaven gospel (surrender to Christ or be destroyed)
  • The nations are crushed by the wrath of God

Chapter #15 – Vision of the redeemed

  • The vials of wrath
  • Smoke fills the temple

Chapter #16 – Holy Roman empire is brought to an end by Napoleon (Both Papal and Emperor of Austria – Emporer of the Holy Roman Empire)

  • Pope imprisioned until Napolean beat five years later
  • Turkish power destroyed (The drying of the Euphrates)
  • Frogs like spirits – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
  • Constantinople conquered in 1453 – preparing Russia to conquer Turkey in the latter days (the days we live in).

6. Armageddon – Hebrew tongue, not greek – look for Hebrew interpretation – Actual definition is “Heap of sheaves” and refers to the valley of Jehoshophat not Meggido

  • Christ’s conquest of the nations

Chapter #17 – Better describes the Anti-Christ power mentioned in the last chapter (The great whore represents the beasts Rome and the Catholic Church in general – Which killed over 65 million people during the Protestant reformation

Chapter #18 – Violent destruction of Rome, stylized as Babylon and the great whore by Christ

Chapter #19 – The marriage of the Lamb

  • The conquest of the nations

Chapter #20 – The opposer bound for 1000 years (the papcy and the frog like spirits of democracy and humanism)

  • The opposer released.  The final rebellion – All flesh not judged worthy of eternal life is destroyed
  • The second judgement, the destruction of the wicked.

Chapter #21 – New Jerusalem

  • God is all, and in all – Sinful flesh no longer exists to contend with God

Please note this section is only an introduction to an overview of the book of Revelation, and in no way consists of the study God requires of us to understand this book.  To study the book of revelation, read Eureka or the Green book Apocalypse Epitomized.  Many other books contain grave error.  Use these books mentioned.

About the author

Webmaster for several Arkansas companies.
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