The Book of Revelation Broken Into Large Chunks
To Enhance Our Understanding
The Book of Revelation is a very difficult book to understand. It details important events throughout history and at the very end of the age. If we break in down into great sections or “chunks”, we can more readily comprehend what is happening. Although all the details cannot be learned this way, the major emphases of the book will be known to all. Knowledge and understanding of these major emphases will better enable us to understand the details.
Breaking it into large chunks is more that a mere overview. It provides insight into what the entire book is about. An overview is simply an enhanced outline. This chunky manner of presenting the Revelation is more in-depth than an overview.
I. The first chunk of Revelation consists of Chapters 1-3. They are devoted to an introduction by John, Jesus Christ shown among the churches, and the letters to the churches. Jesus standing among the churches reveals to us that He is with us and has been through history. His letters to the seven churches reveal His will in the varying circumstances of the churches. These seven churches represent the church down though the ages. One can find examples of each of the seven churches in the world at any given period right up to the present. For details read the Book or see the Revelation Segments beginning with Segment 1.
II. Chapters 4 through 7 make up the next chunk. These chapters are dedicated to introducing the Throne in Heaven, which is seen throughout the entire book, the scroll with the seven seals, and the Lamb slain. The scroll represents the Title Deed To Creation. Everything that happens throughout history from God’s point of view is recorded in that scroll. The only one who is worthy to open the seals on the scroll is Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As He opens each seal, there is a decided event or events connected with each one.
The first four seals reveal the four horsemen who represent the calamities of history: Satan’s power, war, famine, pestilence, death, and hell. The fifth seal speaks to those who were killed because of their witness for Christ. The sixth seal is a synopsis of the Day of the LORD. It crystallizes the events that are described in chapters 13-19 (which outline the tribulation of the Dragon against the church, see Revelation 12:17) into a few sentences. It also tells about those who are to be sealed (the 144,000) for their obedience and faithfulness to God.
History since the fall of man is one long epoch of the rejection of God. Since Adam and Eve wanted to become like God, every generation attempts to do the same thing. Nimrod, and the people he represented tried to unite the world against God when he built the tower of Babel. His idea was that men should build a high tower so that men could exalt themselves above God and make a name for themselves. Together they thought they would have the strength to become as God. God rejected this notion and He confused their language and scattered the people. This is the opposite of what Nimrod wanted.
Well, over the millennia man has come full circle. We are currently poised at the edge of another one-world government. Our language barriers have been steadily broken down. The world has grown closer because of jet air travel, the space program, satellite broadcasts, and instantaneous live TV pictures from anywhere in the world. We are rejecting God in ever increasing doses. We have even begun to accuse God of evil. The remnant of God’s people will always be around, but the vast majority of the world have rejected God. When Israel rejected God, He was long-suffering and gave them ample chances to turn from their wickedness and back to Him. But eventually he brought calamity to them. He did this through various methods. He used the weather, earthquakes, famine, pestilence, the armies of other kingdoms, etc.
Israel is a microcosm of the entire world. Through Israel God provided an example of how things would be in the world. When Israel, who were God’s Chosen, rejected Him, He reacted and brought affliction to them. He even had them exiled out of their land. Since they are an example to the world, God will bring the same affliction upon the world. He has used various means (listed above) to do so throughout history. The seven trumpets are records of what He has already done and what he will do as we get nearer and nearer the end of the age. The Bible speaks of a great apostasy at the end of the age. It is because of this apostasy that His judgments upon the earth will become more and more severe. The trumpets represent God’s judgment but they are not the Great Tribulation, which is the pouring out of the vial judgments in Revelation 16. They match up with the things prophesied by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21). When the seventh seal is opened, the trumpets of God begin to sound. But not until after the prayers of the saints are lifted up before the throne of God.
III. The next chunk involves chapters 8 – 11, which display the events that happen as the trumpets sound. These are great and cataclysmic events. These events are God’s wrath being poured out on the world. The world rejects God so he pours His wrath out on the world, much like He did upon Israel for their disobedience. These events do not represent the great tribulation where God’s wrath is poured out upon the beast, the false prophet, and the image of the beast. These represent God’s wrath upon the world because of its rejection of God. These events usher in the reign of antichrist.
The first four trumpets are sounded after God hears all the prayers of the saints throughout the ages. The trumpets represent various miseries over the years. With them are seen the gradual degradation of the ecology of the earth. The fifth and sixth trumpets are two of three woes to come upon the earth in the future. The fifth trumpet shows Satan’s fall from heaven and his demonic army. This demonic army has not the power to kill, but only to torment. The sixth trumpet tells us about the great 200,000,000 strong army commanded by the four fallen angels out of the Euphrates. These horsemen have the power to kill. But even after these two woes, men still reject God. The seventh trumpet sounds ushering in the Kingdom of God. There are many events that occur when the seventh trumpet sounds, including the gathering of the Saints to Christ. Chapters 11-19 outline these events. See a list of the events. Note that these events are illustrated systematically and in increasing detail by John, but not chronologically.
IV. Chapters 12-14 are a chunk that deals with various events concerned with the final kingdom of the world. In chapter 12, we are shown a woman clothed with the sun, standing on the moon with a crown of twelve stars on her head. She represents God’s chosen people. At first we see her as Israel. Then in verse 17 we are told of the remnant of her seed. This represents the church. So the woman and her seed are God’s chosen people, Israel and the church. In the same chapter we are also introduced to the Dragon, who is Satan. He chased after the woman throughout history. Job tells us that he roams to and fro in the earth walking up and down in it seeking whom he may devour; this happened throughout history. Here Satan may still enter Heaven. Later he is cast down to the earth.
It is after the three woes and the sounding of the seventh trumpet that the Dragon begins to build his global end-time empire. There is war in Heaven and Micahel casts Satan down to the earth. The end-time empire, which is the Beast out of the sea of nations, arises. The False Prophet arises (the Beast out of the earth) and makes an image of the Dragon and forces all to worship it. It is obvious that this kingdom has its headquarters in Jerusalem (because of the measuring of the Sanctuary but not the precincts, which belong to Satan). In the beginning of this empire (in Chapter 11) the Two Witnesses prophesy, angering the world. This seems to congeal the Dragon’s power and gives him the impetus to make his seven year covenant with the world for peace, which begins the Dragon’s kingdom. This kingdom is called Babylon and the Harlot in chapters 17 and 18. It stands upon seven hills misleading many into interpreting this as Rome. But Jerusalem also sits upon seven hills. It is during this time that the Dragon persecutes God’s people. This is his tribulation against them.
Then the Lamb and the 144,000 are seen standing on Mt. Zion. They are singing a new song. After the New Song has been sung, an angel preaches the gospel to the world, giving the people a final chance to repent before the wrath of God begins. Another angel heralds the fall of Babylon. This is explained in more detail in chapters 17 and 18. A third angel proclaims damnation to those who worshipped the beast and his image and had his mark. Then the harvest of the earth commences. Those who are God’s people are harvested by Christ. Those who are not are harvested by the angel with the sickle. They are harvested like clusters of grapes and they are cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
V. Another chunk, chapters 15 and 16, outlines the seven vials of God’s wrath. This begins with a pageant in heaven of the saints singing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb Then the seven vials of God’s wrath are poured out upon the earth. These represent the Great Tribulation of God. The first six vials are poured out upon the earth. Note that there are close similarities between these and the seals and trumpets. When the sixth vial is poured upon the earth, the Devil gathers the kings of the earth together to fight against God at Armageddon. The seventh vial is the final vial. It provides the final events of the wrath of God. These are great calamities. The age then comes to an ignoble end. Then the wrath of God is finished. John briefly mentions the wrath of God here and its end, but he goes into great detail about this event in chapter 19.
VI. Chapters 17 and 18 give us a closer look at the final kingdom of Satan and its destruction. This chunk is a parenthetical section of Revelation because it reviews previously mentioned events but it adds much more detail.
Chapter seventeen gives us details not previously revealed about the Beast out of the sea. She is called the Great Whore in 17:1. She sits on many waters. This signifies that she came out of all the peoples of the world (17:18). She is now fully identified as MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
The angel explained the sight. The beast upon which she rides, that is, the beast that gives her power is the false prophet or the antichrist. He is also the Dragon who will go into the abyss and remain there for 1000 years. The seven heads represent the seven hills of the city upon which the Whore sits. This is not Rome, but Jerusalem. It also sits upon seven hills. We know it is in Jerusalem because these events take place around the temple. The seven heads are also seven kings, six who have ruled in the past and Satan who makes two appearances, one before being locked in the abyss and one after. The eighth king is the false prophet or antichrist (Daniel refers to him as the Prince that will come). The ten horns are ten lesser kings who, though they hate being subservient to the Beast, will fight with her against the Lamb. But they will turn on her after her defeat by the Lamb
The angel cries “Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen!” He tells of her intimate association with the nations and how they followed her into ruin. Babylon is the first Beast that arose out of the sea in chapter 13. It is the one-world end-time government of the Dragon who is Satan. Another voice is heard that tells the angel to give her back a double portion of the evil she brought to the world. After her destruction we are told how the world mourns and for her and desires her. They reject God when they do this. In the end, Babylon, the end-time kingdom of Satan, will disappear forever.
VII. This chunk deals with the end of the Great Tribulation, that is the seventh vial, and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. These events are outlined in chapter 19. The two are interrelated. Chapter 19 opens with a doxology to the LORD and His Christ because of the destruction of the great whore, Babylon. Then the wife of the Lamb, that is the church, is prepared for her wedding to the Groom. She is arrayed in fine linen representing the righteous acts of the saints. An invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb is issued.
The wedding happens. The Lamb is seen in Heaven sitting on a White Horse. His description is glorious. With him are his armies dressed in fine white linen also saddled upon white horses. These armies are the wife of the Lamb, the glorified church. An angel standing in the sun shouts to the birds of heaven to gather together for the great supper of God. This is the invitation to the marriage supper. The armies gathered at Armageddon are destroyed by the sword from the mouth of the Lamb. He destroys them with the Word of His mouth. The Beast and the False Prophet are cast into the lake of fire. The birds of heaven feast on the slain armies of the Dragon. This is the marriage feast of the Lamb.
VIII. The next chunk details the 1000 year reign of Christ. This is described in chapter 20. Satan is bound in the abyss. The saved reign with Christ. Those martyred for Christ are resurrected and they reign with Him. This is the First Resurrection. After the 1000 years, Satan is released and he goes out and deceives the nations one last time. He brings an innumerable army and surrounds God’s people at Jerusalem. Fire comes down from Heaven and consumes them. The Devil is cast into the lake of fire. After that comes the Great White Throne judgment where the dead are judged for their works. Those not found in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire.
IX. This final chunk deals with the New Jerusalem and the Eternity. In chapter 21, the old heaven and earth (this earth age) pass away. The new (or renewed) heaven and earth appear and there is no sea. The New Jerusalem descends to the new earth. This is when God comes to earth to live among His people. John then describes the New Jerusalem in detail. This includes the gates, walls, streets, and its appointments. There is no temple for God now dwells among men. The light comes from the Father and the Son so the moon and sun are not needed. He describes the river of the Water of Life and the Tree of Life. No evil will be allowed there and all of God’s people will have His mark and will live forever.
John finished the Book with an admonishment not to seal up the book for the time of its fulfillment is near. The angel instructing him told him to write that no one is to change the words of the book, for fear of eternal punishment. The angel told him that as the time for the fulfillment of the prophecy approaches, the evil of men will wax worse and worse. There is no better proof that this book is true, for the prophecy that men will become worse and worse is fulfilled. This information is available in a Quick Reference Format.
Revelation 22:20 “He which testifieth these things saith,Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”