The Book of Revelation:

A Tale of Three Cities?

Once you read past the letters to the churches in chapters two and three, the real action of the Revelation begins.  John is taken into Heaven by the Spirit and views the rest of the Revelation from this vantage point.  Several times he is told to concentrate on certain cities.  There are three times within the book where these cities are identified very clearly, not by their earthly names, but by something he is told about them.  From these very clear statements we can draw some solid conclusions about those cities.  The three cities are (click on the city name for a brief note concerning each):

Jerusalem — the seat of Judaism ("...the great city...where also our Lord was crucified...." Rev. 11:8 ).

Rome — the seat of the Roman Power and all it stood for ("...that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth" Rev. 17:18)

The Heavenly Jerusalem — the citizens of which are being persecuted, oppressed and killed by the first two cities.  But this is ultimately the triumphant city.  ("...And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God...." Rev. 21:10)

These statements are some of the clearest in the entire book of the Revelation.  From this premise, a clear general outline can be drawn from the book. 

The key to understanding any part of Scripture, particularly the prophets, and especially this book of the Revelation, is to develop a few definite reference points to help us keep our bearings. Anyone attempting to walk across a great jungle for instance is greatly aided if he can see some definite reference points before he begins, such as a mountain, or a tall tree. If there are such reference points, the one crossing the jungle can tell where he is as he catches sight of these landmarks from time to time and can keep his bearings so that his path to the other side is kept as straight as possible. The same is true as we approach the prophecies of the Bible. If we can find some points to train our eyes upon, and know when we have gotten to those points, and where we are in relation to them, we can less easily get lost in the maze of details around us.


This study lays out a "skeleton" of FACTS from the book of the Revelation which, once noted and remembered, form a simple and logical framework over which the "flesh and skin" of the Revelation will take shape. These facts consist of key terms, places, points of transition, and characters in the book of Revelation which, once grasped, make it possible to understand the Revelation in a startlingly simple and logical manner.

Therefore, the main focus of this study will be to identify these:

 Key terms used in the book

 Key places within the book

 Key transition points

 Key characters

Before going on, let me make clear some things this study does not attempt to do...

Things this study does NOT do:

  1. It does not attempt to answer every question that may be asked about the book.
  2. It does not attempt to identify EVERY creature and event within Revelation.
  3. It does not deal in depth with the letters to the seven churches in Asia in chapters 2 and 3.
  4. It does not deal in depth with the Judgment scene of chapter 20:11-22:21

Now, if you're ready to begin, we'll start with the key terms used in the book...just click the right arrow below.


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