The Sequence of Revelation
The Sequence of Revelation
The Book of Revelation can be divided into three parts
The first part (Chapter 1) is an introduction. It explains that this Book is largely concerned with the future and was given to John in a vision or a supernatural encounter.
The second part (Chapters 2-3) is a message to the Seven Churches from Christ given to John in a vision.
The third part is a series of visions about what is soon to take place (Chapters 4-22). Theses visions paint a picture of what will happen in the end times before Jesus Returns (Chapters 4-19), the 1000 years that follow (Chapter 20) and then for all eternity (Chapter 21 &22).
It is not just concerned with events on Earth but also events in the Heavenly realms (Heaven and Hell).
Overall, it seems to be in chronological order, dealing with the Great Tribulation first (the Seals, the Trumpets and the Bowls which end with the Day of the Lord (the Second Coming of Christ), then the Millennium and finally the New Heaven, the New Earth and the Lake of Fire which span all Eternity.
It describes what will happen to the Church, the Nations of the World, the Angels, Satan, the Heavens and the Earth and even God Himself.
It is as if John is describing a picture; focusing on one part of it at a time.
Look at the pictures on this page and try to describe them yourself.
It is very difficult to cover everything while preserving the overall sequence. Can you do better than John?
Do the Trumpets follow the Seals or does each Trumpet correspond to (or follow) the repective Seal?
Where do the Bowls come in?
What does God want his people to do?
Does the Church go thru the Tribulation?
Does the Church experience God's Wrath?
Who escapes the Tribulation?
What happens to the Church, the Beast, the False Prophet and the Nations of the Earth?
How are the Saints rewarded and how are the Nations judged?
What happens to those who die before Christ returns?
What happens when Jesus comes again?
Who goes to Heaven?
Who reigns with Christ?
Who is on Earth during the millennium?
Who are the Nations in eternity?
Who becomes the New Jerusalem?
Who goes to the Lake of Fire?
Where is God?
In Chapter 4 of Revelation, John paints a glorious picture of Heaven with the Throne of God surrounded by 24 other thrones. Around the throne were 4 living creatures who continually gave praise and thanks to God while the 24 elders on the thrones worshiped him. Before the Throne were seven Lamps and a Sea of Glass.
In Chapter 5 of Revelation, Jesus, the Lamb or God is found worthy to open the scroll containing the names of those purchased from among men with His Blood. Millions of angels surrounded the throne giving praise to the Lamb saying "Worthy is the Lamb to receive power and wealth, wisdom and strength, glory honor and praise."
In Chapter 6-7, Christ begins to open the Scroll which has seven seals. When he has finished, there is silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev 8:1). As the Seventh seal is about to be opened, John sees an angel seal 144000 Jews. A Great Multitude appear in heaven from every nation, tribe, people and language wearing white robes. They have gone through the Great tribulation and have been redeemed from the Earth.
The saints are redeemed from the earth (harvested / raptured) after the sixth seal (Rev Ch 7). The Bowls of God's wrath are also poured out after the sixth seal (Rev 6:17). The saints are in heaven when this occurs (Rev 15:1-4).
These events must, therefore, be part of the Seventh Seal.
The Trumpets of Revelation (chapters 8-11) signal the commencement of the Judgment on the Earth culminating with the The Kindom of the World becoming the Kindom of Our Lord and of his Christ.
Just as the Harvest was after the Sixth Seal, The day of the Lord occurs after the Sixth Trumpet.
It is unlikely that the rapture occurs before the fifth trumpet (the first woe) as the first woe lasts five months and there is no more than 75 days between the rapture and the seventh trumpet (Daniel Ch 12)
The rapture of the saints is said to be at the Last Trumpet
1Co 15:51-52 says "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
The Seventh Seal, the Seventh Trumpet and the Seventh Bowl correspond to the end of this Age and the beginning of the Millennium.
Included in the Seventh Trumpet are: The Harvest of the Believers, the third woe, the seven Bowls of Gods Wrath on the Nations, the fall of Babylon, the Day of the Lord and the Battle of Armageddon.
The saints are no longer on Earth when the Bowls of God's Wrath are poured out upon the Nations of the Earth (Rev 15:1-4). The Harvest of the Earth occurs in Revelation chapter 14 but the Nations are still on Earth in Chapters 15-19.
The Nations are still on Earth during the Millennium and in Eternity. Who are these people? In Revelation Chapter 15:1-4, a Great Multitude sings praise to God. They have been victorious over the Beast; they did not worship his image or recieve his Mark. They sing "You alone are Holy, All Nations will come and worship before you". Then the Angels begin to pour out God's Wrath.
Christ comes with His army of Redeemed Saints to defeat the Beast and the False Prophet and to Strike Down the Nations (Chapter 19)- at least those who have the mark of the beast. In order to do this, He (Christ) must have redeemed the Saints from the Earth first.
The second coming, therefore, has two aspects. The first is the unpredictable, long awaited coming of the Lord in the Clouds to redeem his Church at a day and an hour known only to God. The second is the much dreaded 'Day of the Lord' when Christ comes with an army of believers to strike down the Nations, the Kings of the Earth, the Beast and the False Prophet bringing to an end The Great Babylon (the Worldly System) in a final battle called 'the Battle of Armageddon'.
The Harvest of the Earth, the Wedding Feast, the Judgment on the Nations and the Day of the Lord occur in quick succession over a short period of time. While it is not clear from Revelation just how long it is between these events, the Book of Daniel (Dan 12:11-12) would suggest that these events span no more than a few months (75 days). On an eternal time scale or from the perspective of the distant past, they seem to occur all at once or instantaneously at the 'Last Trumpet' (1Cor 15:51-2).
click on the parts of the diagram that interest you
The opening of the Seals corresponds to the appearance of the Antichrist (Seal 1) and the war (Seal 2), famine (Seal 3) and death (Seal 4) that follow. The saints that are martyred cry out (Seal 5) and signs appear in the sky (Seal 6). After the rapture of the 144000 and the Harvest of the Great Multitude, the seventh seal is opened and there is silence in heaven for 'half an hour' (Seal 7).
The sounding of the Trumpets corresponds to the Judgment of the Earth. A third of the Earth's foliage is burnt up (Trumpet 1). A third of the Sea turns to blood and a third of it's creatures die (Trumpet 2). A third of the Earth's fresh water becomes bitter (Trumpet 3). A third of the sky is darkened (Trumpet 4). Those who have the mark of the beast are tormented for 5 months (Trumpet 5). A third of mankind is killed by 200 million mounted troups - the rest of mankind does not repent (Trumpet 6). Before the seventh trumpet is sounded, the Angel with the little scroll appears and the story of the two witnesses is told. The Trumpets end with the destruction of the Worldly System and the Beginning of Christ's Eternal Kingdom (Trumpet 7 - the last Trumpet).
According to Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (1Cor 15:51-52), the saints are redeemed from the earth in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. When the Seventh Angel sounds his Trumpet, the Mystery of God is accoumplished (Rev 10:7) and the Kingdom of this World becomes the Kingdom of our Lord (Rev 11:15); the Millennium starts an Jesus reigns for ever and ever. It is time to Judge the dead and reward the prophets, the saints and those who reverence His name. Those who take part in the first ressurection will have no part in the second death (Rev 20:6); they will remain with Christ forever (1Thess 4:17).
The outpouring of the Bowls of God's Wrath on the Nations of the Earth follows the Harvest of the Earth in Revelation Chapter 14. This happens after the sixth seal is opened (see Revelation 6:17) but before the seventh Trumpet is sounded. The Bowls result in complete destruction of the the Worldly system (compared to the Trumpets which destroy only one third of the Earth's foliage, seas, rivers, sky and inhabitants). Painful sores break out on all who have the mark of the beast and worshipped his image(Bowl 1). Every living thing in the sea dies (Bowl 2). Springs and rivers turn to blood (Bowl 3). The Earth's inhabitants are seared with scortching heat (Bowl 4). The Beast's kingdom is plunged into darkness & and men gnaw their tongues in pain (Bowl 5). The spirits of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet go out to gather the kings of the earth for the Great Battle of Armageddon (Bowl 6). The Great Babylon is split into three parts and the cities of the Nations collapse and a voice from the throne cries out "it is done" (Bowl 7).
The Seventh Seal, the Seventh Trumpet and the Seventh Bowl all coincide with the end of this age, the harvest of the believers , the fulfillment of the mystery of God and the destruction of the beast and the nations.
The last three trumpets coincide with the three woes. The Bowls of God's wrath appear to be the last woe.
The Church will have been raptured by the time God pours out the bowls of his Wrath (the third woe). The rapture appears to follow the sixth trumpet and the sixth seal.
Whether or not the first six Seals and the first six Trumpets coincide with (or follow) one another, as shown in the diagram above, is still to be revealed.
Whether the first seal corresponds to the appearance or revelation of the Antichrist, or whether it corresponds to his rebellion also remains a mystery.
Chapter 12 - a women (Israel) and her offspring (the Church) are pursued by a Dragon (Satan). The women was pregnant and gave birth to a son (Christ) who was taken up to heaven and will rule the nations with an iron scepter.
Chapter 13 - the Beast out of the Sea - given authority to make war against the saints for 42 months & the Beast out of the Earth - performing many miraculous signs causing all to worship the first beast and killing those who refuse - nobody can buy or sell without his mark
Chapter 14 - the rapture of the 144000 as firstfruits - warnings not to worship the Beast or accept his mark - followed by the two harvests; first the true Christians and then the false Christians leaving the Nations on Earth to contend with God's wrath.
Chapter 15 - Introducing the Seven angels who have the seven plagues - the bowls of God's wrath & a vision of the saints in heaven standing beside the sea - they were the people who had been victorious over the beast and his image and refused to receive the number of his name.
Chapter 16 - The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath on the Nations
Chapter 17 - The punishment of the Great Prostitute (the false Church) - She had committed adultery with the Kings of the Earth- The women was sitting on scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns - she was drunk with the blood of the saints
Chapter 18 - The fall of Babylon
Chapter 19 - A celebration in heaven - A Great Multitude in heaven rejoice that the wedding of the Lamb has come and the Bride has made herself ready - Fine linen was given to her to wear - Another vision of the armies of heaven lead by the word of God, dressed in fine linen come to strike down the Nations - the kings of the earth along with the beast and the false prophet were defeated.
Chapter 20 - Satan locked up for a thousand years and then thrown into the Lake of Fire. - The Saints reign with Christ for a thousand years - At the end of the thousand years, the dead outside of Christ are raised to be judged at the Great White Throne - if their names were not in the book of life, they were thrown into the Lake of Fire which is the second death
Chapter 21 & 22 - God makes all things new. There is a New Heaven and Earth. The New Jerusalem descends from heaven like a bride adorned for her husband. God lives in the New Jerusalem with man. There is no longer suffering or pain. God is their light. There is no need for a temple because God is there. The river with the water of life flows from the throne in the middle of the city. The Tree of Life stands on each side of the River bearing fruit every month. It's leaves are for the healing of the Nations who walk in the light of the New Jerusalem. The Kings of the Nations are allowed to bring their glory and honor into the city periodically.
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