Chapter 1:1: In this one verse, John identifies:
a. The SOURCE of the Revelation — God, the Father, Who gave it to Jesus Christ.
b. The REASON for the Revelation — to show unto God's servants the "things which must shortly come to pass."
The majority of the Revelation deals with events that were to take place within a short space of time from John's receiving it. Some of the things were already going on; the beast of Revelation 13:1ff had already been, and was not at the time the Revelation was given, but he was to arise again.
Also, the birth of the Manchild of Revelation 12:5 had already taken place, that is, Christ had been born already, and had been received back into heaven. This was the central portion of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ which John says was the cause for his being on the island of Patmos where he received the Revelation.
It should be noted, too, that the persecution had already begun, believers were being killed, and more were going to taste death for their faith (Rev. 2:10).
c. The METHOD by which it was communicated — Christ sent an angel to signify, that is, to show by signs and visions, these things which must shortly come to pass.
d. The RECIPIENT of the Revelation — John, the apostle.
Letters to the churches
View of God's judgments upon the earth, John's view from heaven:
Chapters 4-5: The One worthy to release the judgments, Christ Jesus, the Lamb
Chapter 6: The "positioning of the troops" and "opening salvo" of judgments upon the earth, first 6 seals:
6:1-8: The four horsemen receive their orders and are released upon the earth to ready for their part in the work of executing God's judgments upon the earth.
6:9-11: The reason for the releasing of these judgments, the avenging of the blood of those slain for the word of God (some of whom had just recently been killed, i.e., Stephen, James, etc.).
6:12-17: The 6th seal, a devastating taste of judgments shortly to come.
Pause between seals 6 and 7
Chapter 7: The pause between 6th and 7th seal judgments to identify God's servants, Jews and Gentiles:
7:1-3: Command to hold back the destruction until all God's servants on earth had been identified.
7:4-8: The 12,000 of each tribe of Israel (not literal) indicates the completeness of the job; every servant of God among the Jews has been identified.
7:9-17: The numberless multitude of every nation and tongue indicates the completeness of the job of identifying all the servants of God, Jew and Gentile. The encouragement here is that those who endure the tribulation of those things which were to shortly come to pass would enjoy heaven with God and the Lamb.
They were identified in order to be recognized during the coming judgments upon the earth.
There was to be a difference made between them and those who were not sealed as God's own (see verse 3 and 9:4).
7th seal introduces the 7 trumpets, the next phase of God's judgments
Chapter 8: The 7th seal introduces the next phase of judgments, the 7 trumpets, first 4 are sounded.
8:1-5: The 7th seal broken, the pause again in heaven, and preparation is made for the next phase of judgments. It is easy to assume that the prayers of the saints which came before God included a call for justice much as was requested by the saints who had been killed for the word of God (6:9-11); God is about to answer.
8:6-12: First 4 trumpets are sounded, general judgments upon the world.
8:13: It is announced that the following 3 judgments are going to be particularly devastating.
Chapter 9: Trumpets 5 and 6 are sounded as the first two of the remaining 3 strong judgments are released upon the earth.
Pause between trumpets 6 and 7
Chapter 10: To give the little book of prophecy (the Revelation itself) to John so he could give one last warning to earth's inhabitants, especially to Jerusalem.
Chapter 11:1-13: The final measuring of the temple on earth before its destruction, and the work of the two witnesses, all in the city "where also our Lord was crucified" (verse 8) — Jerusalem!
Chapter 11:14-19: The 7th trumpet sounds, the kingdoms of this world are claimed for God and
His Christ...and the temple in heaven is opened (appropriate since the temple on earth was shortly going to be destroyed!).
The woman, God's servants, especially the Jews by whom Christ came. She is left on earth to endure the persecution (this explains to the servants of God what is going on, and why). 1 Peter 1:6, 7; 4:12-14
The Manchild, Christ, Who was taken back up into heaven.
The dragon, Satan (v. 9), determined to kill the Manchild. Failing that, he was cast out of heaven with his angels, down to the earth where he sets about in earnest to persecute the woman and her children (the church).
The beast from the sea, the Roman power. (13:1-10, 17-18)
He was given the power of the dragon, Satan. And Satan manipulated him for his own purposes.
One of his heads was wounded to death but came back; this is the same as the beast who "was, and is not" of Rev. 17:8 and 11, indicating a time either during or shortly after the reign of Nero. Nero himself, however, is not the beast, although he stands as a member of it.
Neither is any one single Caesar the beast alone, but the beast here represents the power of the evil empire of Rome and all it represented.
The beast from the sea was to be worshipped by everyone, except those who were the servants of God (v. 8). To worship the beast was to worship the dragon, Satan, who gave the beast such power!
The degree of awe with which this beast is viewed is mirrored in the two questions, "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" These questions are about to be answered; the Lamb is much greater than the beast and the dragon, and He will prevail over them and destroy them both!
This is the same beast as that beast upon which the harlot of Revelation 17 rode. In other words, he was the power behind the city of Rome, represented in Revelation 17 as the harlot, identified as "that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:18).
The beast is not the city itself, but the power behind the city.
He is also the same beast that is later taken and cast into the lake of fire just before Satan is bound in Revelation 19.
The beast from the earth, the "false prophet" of Rev. 19:20. (13:11-17)
He had two horns like a lamb.
But he spoke like a dragon. What better description of the power that would try to convince all to worship the beast from the sea (the Roman power) than one who would look like a lamb, an innocent follower even of Christ, but would speak like a dragon, and "deceive, if it were possible, even the very elect?"
Chapter 14: The Lamb and His army, standing upon Mount Zion, the war begins in earnest.
The Lamb is the answer to the question of 13:4; "Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" Christ and His spiritual army are about to begin the conquering in earnest.
Three proclamations are made:
1. Fear God and worship Him for His judgment has come.
2. Babylon has fallen.
3. Anyone who worships the beast (see 13:1ff) will be tormented.
The city outside of which the winepress was trodden is Jerusalem, and the blood figuratively ran to the horse's bridle, there was so much carnage.
A reading of the events surrounding the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in the works of Josephus will show that there was great carnage and blood during the siege and capture of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD70.
The seven angels with the seven last plagues in vials appear and Jerusalem is finished off.
Chapter 15: Preparation is made for yet another phase of judgments against the earth and the beginning of the assault on the throne of the beast.
(There is a connection between the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and the Temple in Heaven being occupied by the power and glory of God. This type of thing occurs only twice otherwise in Scripture and refers to God's announcement that He has made a particular place His place of "presence" with mankind to the exclusion of all other places.)
Chapter 16: The judgments of the "vial angels" are released on the earth and Jerusalem is finished off.
John is taken from his view of the destruction of one "Babylon" to be shown the other "Babylon the Great", the city of Rome, and her destruction.
Chapter 17: THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT CHAPTER FOR DETERMINING THE TIME OF THE WRITING OF THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION. Note carefully that John has been taken to another vantage point, to see the judgment of another city, the city who then ruled over the kings of the earth (17:18) which can only be Rome.
The Harlot, the city of Rome (verse 18) and all the pagan idolatry supported by her (the mother of harlots, she is called in verse 5, referring to this aspect of Rome). This harlot is identified as the city which "reigns over the kings of the earth," which at the time of the Revelation could have referred to no other city than Rome itself.
Notice, though, that she rides upon the beast, that is the power which had been raised and was being operated by Satan (chapter 13). The beast upon which the harlot rides is the same as the beast of chapter 12; again, this is the Roman imperial power headed by the emperor but manipulated by the dragon, Satan (13:1-10).
Here the beast is described as the one who "was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit," may refer to the fact that he had been active (Nero's time of persecution), was not then active (because of the turmoil in Rome at the time; Nero was in trouble and would soon commit suicide, thus the head wound unto death referred to in 13:3).
Had seven heads which represented the seven mountains upon which the woman, Rome, sat. Rome is renowned for the fact that it was situated upon seven hills. Verse 9.
There were also seven kings represented here. This is the most precise indication of the time of the writing of the book of Revelation. The angel tells John specifically that five of these seven kings had already fallen as of the time the angel was speaking to John. One of the seven was then in power ("and one is..."), and yet another had not come to power yet, but would gain power and retain it for a short time. Verse 10.
The first man in history to assume and keep the powers of a king in Rome was Julius Caesar (47-44 B.C.) He must be considered the first of these seven kings; he had long ago been assassinated when John receives the Revelation. He had fallen.
He was succeeded by Augustus Caesar (27 B.C. to AD 14) who had also died (fallen) as of the time of the Revelation. Augustus is the second of those five who had fallen.
He was in turn succeeded by Tiberius (AD 14-37) who had also "fallen," or died. Tiberius is the third of the five who had fallen as of the time of the communication of the Revelation to John.
Next in line of the Roman kings was Caligula (AD 37-41); he, too, had passed from the scene and is the fourth of the five kings who had fallen.
The fifth of these kings who had already passed from the scene at the time the angel is speaking to John in Revelation 17:10 is Claudius Caesar (AD 41-54).
These five kings are briefly referred to with the phrase "five are fallen."
Claudius was followed by Nero (AD 54-68) who is the sixth in the line of Roman emperors; the five before him had fallen by death and Nero is the sixth, the one who was in power at the time of the writing of the book of the Revelation. He is simply referred to as the one who "is."
This single verse fixes the date of the writing of the book of the Revelation in the reign of Nero Caesar who was emperor of Rome from AD 54 to 68. This was at least two years before the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in AD 70!
These first seven kings are not the same as the ten kings represented by the ten horns upon the beast. Verse 12.
The beast that was, and is not, and yet is, speaks powerfully of that persecuting power of the Roman emperors against the saints, Christians. Remember that these judgments are not only the fulfilling of the prophecies of God, they are also in response to the prayers of the saints for vengeance against their persecutors. The saints had already long endured the persecution from Jews, and had probably only recently tasted the bitterness of the Roman persecution under Nero. (It is recorded that Nero seized Christians, daubed them with pitch and set them ablaze to be used as lights for his nighttime revelry.)
The ten horns (kings) that were to follow the seven would voluntarily give their power to the beast and hate the harlot. It is one of the most bizarre facts of history that many of the Roman Emperors despised Rome itself, some of them setting foot in the city only when absolutely necessary. Even the Emperors would lend their hand in the destruction of the harlot, "that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."
It is sufficient for our purposes here to point out, once again, that this is the city of Rome. Rome is NOT the beast; Rome is riding upon the beast, the godless power which made her existence possible. The beast, remember, is the pawn of Satan, from whom the beast gains its powers.
Chapter 18: The finality of the fall of that city.
Chapter 19: Heaven rejoices in the destruction of the destroyer of the saints and exults in the victory of the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.
The final conflict against the beast and the false prophet ends with both being cast into the lake of fire. The beast ceases to exist on earth; the false prophet ceases his treachery, and now only Satan and his minions remain to be dealt with.
Satan bound, the saints reign with Christ for "a thousand years" then the final conflict.
The purpose of the binding of Satan was that he should not deceive the nations any longer until he was to be released again for that purpose.
During that period in which Satan's direct influence is taken from the earth, the saints are said to reign with Christ. Notice again that the passage does NOT say that Christ will be on earth during this time.
At the end of the "thousand years" (again, a relative term) Satan is to be loosed again and go out for the final conflict. This results in Satan himself being cast into the lake of fire where have preceded him the beast and the false prophet.
The great Judgment Scene: And all who are not found written in the Book of Life are also cast into the lake of fire, the "second death."
This concludes the "thousand year" period and the things of the "little while" of Satan's final effort. It also concludes the existence of time, earth, the heavens and all temporal things.
This final Judgment brings us to the view of the Heavenly Jerusalem (the third of the three cities which are the main focus of the prophecies of the book of Revelation).
Chapters 21 and 22 concern themselves with a description of this triumphant city and her place with God in heaven for all eternity.
This site written and designed by Roger Lindsey, email.
© Copyright 1999-2015 by Roger Lindsey