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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Revelation - INTRODUCTION

(Return to Framework Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation Introduction Overview

    

INTRODUCTION

 

Why Read Revelation?

 

Without doubt Revelation is one of the more difficult books of the Bible to read and understand and from the outset we must agree that we will probably disagree with some commentators; the truth is that we will only know exactly how God is going to work it all out, once we enter eternity and He shows us.

 

Having said that, not to put you off reading it, may we give a personal testimony. Many years ago we had the privilege of leading a children's mission for a number of years each summer in Wales. One year, part way through the two weeks, a young boy, somewhere between ten and twelve I believe, came to Christ. Next morning he turned up and started to ask me a number of questions about the book of Revelation. It turned out and became quite clear that, after having made his commitment the day before, he went home, found the family Bible and read Revelation from end to end before going to bed. Several years later I also had the privilege of leading a Bible Study group for younger teenage boys. We went through Revelation, doing verse by verse study, and they loved it!

 

It is a book that starts with several chapters of personal prophecies to seven churches in Asia Minor, then a couple of chapters revealing the throne room of heaven where the Son of God is given a scroll that rolls out end time history, and then the rest of the book reveals that history from various perspectives. The most important thing to note, perhaps, is that it is the Son of God who oversees this rolling out of this part of history. It does not name names beyond those of spiritual entities but it does show how in the last days God will bring increasingly severe judgments (rather on the same style as He brought judgments on Pharaoh in the book of Exodus), on an increasingly rebellious world, while preserving believers. In the closing chapter, the promise is given, “ Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

 

So yes it is prophecy, and yes it does employ a great deal of figurative language, and it is difficult sometimes to determine whether words should be taken literally or figuratively. However, rather than seeking to be dogmatic in our understanding (and subsequently divisive from others who interpret it differently), we simply present it in the ‘Frameworks' form and offer the notes as our understanding and hope they make it more readable to the new reader. If you reach different conclusions, no problem as long as they do not divert from the complete text.

 

We include the following Overview Framework as our approach to understanding this particular book:

 

CONTENTS

 

PART ONE: Words to the Churches of Asia Minor

 

Revelation 1 : Prologue-Introduction

- John's call and vision of Jesus

Revelation 2 : The first four churches

- Jesus' words to these churches of Asia Minor

Revelation 3 : The latter three churches

- Jesus' words to these churches of Asia Minor

     

PART TWO: Revelation of the throne room and the Lamb
 
Revelation 4 : The Throne Room of Heaven
- the revelation of the throne room and of God
Revelation 5 : The Lamb of God
- the revelation of the Son of God before the throne

  

PART THREE: The Judgments of God: First viewpoint

(‘Wave 1' - Judgments revealed in increasing detail & severity PLUS background revelations in heaven)

   

[Note: In each case where we have suggested ‘the End' it is the end before the second coming of Christ, NOT the end of all things. It is this recognition that causes us to suggest that each ‘set' of chapters is like a wave on the seashore of an incoming tide, adding more to the same revelation of the end using a different perspective. Because there is a distinct progression in chapters 6 to 11 we have lumped them together as the ‘First Viewpoint' whereas the pairs of chapters that follow chapter 12 each come with very different perspectives. We hope this approach will help making reading easier to understand.]

   

Revelation 6 : The Seals Opened

- six seals of the scroll of the end times broken and opened – judgments outlined

Revelation 7 : The Martyrs & Survivors

- Interlude: cries for justice

 

Revelation 8 : A seal and Four Trumpet calls

- silence preceding four judgments on the earth itself – earth judgments

Revelation 9 : Judgments of Torture & Death

- two trumpet calls heralding tormenting and death of unbelievers – people judgments

 

Revelation 10 : The Prophetic Scroll

- Interlude: confirming John's role of prophesying these things

Revelation 11 : The Two Witnesses & The Seventh Trumpet

- the record of activities on earth continues
- this chapter reveals that the truth from heaven is revealed and rejected
- the last Trumpet appears to be ultimate judgment and heralds the End .

 

PART FOUR: Big-Picture Overview up to the Present

   

Revelation 12 : The Woman and the Dragon
- Overview chapter: recaps on what has happened in the past
- the Son of God came in the context of Israel to bring salvation, and returned to heaven; Satan fell to earth to reveal the hearts of the earth's population by his activities

     

PART FIVE: The Judgments of God: Second viewpoint:

(‘Wave 2' – the enemy revealed before the harvesting of the earth)

 

Revelation 13 : Activities of the Enemy on the Earth

- continuing activities on earth: Satan and two beasts run amok

Revelation 14 : A Heavenly Overview

- another ‘interlude/concluding chapter' predominantly about warnings and then the twofold harvesting of the earth, i.e. the End

 

PART SIX: The Judgments of God: Third viewpoint:

(‘Wave 3' – the judgments of God seen as plagues)

 

Revelation 15 : A Heavenly Overview

- here we are shown seven angels coming with seven plagues

Revelation 16 : The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath

- now we see what these ‘plagues' are, the last one appearing to wind up everything, i.e. the End

 

PART SEVEN: The Judgments of God: Fourth Viewpoint:

(‘Wave 4' – the rise and fall of the enemy seen as ‘Babylon' and the Second Coming of Christ)

 

Revelation 17 : Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast

- introductions to these enemy activities

Revelation 18 : The Fall of Babylon

- the destruction of this ungodly and righteous activity on the earth

Revelation 19 : Praise in Heaven and the Return of the King

- rejoicing over the downfall of Babylon and seeing the coming of the Son of God, i.e. the End

 

PART EIGHT: After the Second Coming: Final Judgment and the New World of Eternity

 

Revelation 20 : Thousand Year Peace & the Final Judgment

- a period free from Satan's activity, his release & his judgment and then the Final Judgment

Revelation 21 : New Heaven, Earth & Jerusalem

- Creation remade

Revelation 22 : Conclusions

- Eternity in the New City of God