19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
Contrary to popular belief, the book of Revelation is not difficult to understand if it is read literally with the major periods of the Rapture, the 7 year Tribulation period, the Second Coming of our Lord, His 1000 year glorious reign, and the coming reuniting of the New Heaven and Earth in the right chronological order. (The possible confusion is the placing of the chronological order of the Seal, Trumpet and Bowl judgments and certain description which is clearly figurative. I believe in the pre-tribulation Rapture and so I see the apparent difficulty in figuring out the chronological order of various judgments is of little consequence to the believer.)
The things that John the Apostle was told to write down in Rev 1:19 by our Lord were :
- “Things that he had seen”
Which were his vision of the Lord and the Lord’s explanation of the symbols surrounding Him in chapter 1.
- “Things that are”
Which were the Lord’s letters to the churches in Asia Minor from chapter 2 to 3.
- “Things that are to take place in the future”
Which were the “Seal” judgments, “Trumpet” judgments and “Bowl” judgments of Israel and the nations during the 7 year Tribulation period, the return of our Lord, the victory over the enemy, the Lord’s glorious 1000 year reign, the reuniting of heaven and earth; and the eternal state in the remaining chapters.
The outline is as follows :
|John’s vision of the Lord and His explanation of the symbols surrounding Him.||Chapter 1|
|The Lord’s letters to the 7 churches in Asia Minor||Chapter 2 – 3|
|The Vision of God’s Throne and Worship in Heaven
The Seven Seal Judgments
Chapter 5 – 6
|Sealing 144,000 Jews of the 12 Tribes of Israel||Chapter 7|
|The Seven Trumpet Judgments||Chapter 8 – 9|
|The Seven Thunders||Chapter 10|
|The Two Witnesses||Chapter 11|
|War in Heaven and Earth||Chapter 12|
|The Beast and the False Prophet||Chapter 13|
|Warnings Of 3 Angels, and Call and Harvest of the Earth by 3 Angels||Chapter 14|
|The Seven Bowl Judgments||Chapter 15 – 16|
|The Judgment of Babylon – the religious, political and financial system of the world||Chapter 17 – 18|
|The Return of our Lord||Chapter 19|
|The Judgment of Unbelievers||Chapter 20|
|The New Heavens and New Earth||Chapter 20 – 21|
|Concluding Blessing and Warning as regards to the Prophecy||Chapter 22|
How is one blessed when he heeds what he reads and hears the words of this prophecy ? Rev 1:3.
L Ralph Rohr, M.D., author of The Revelation of Jesus Christ—Comfort or Confusion, gave some of these reasons why we should read the Book of Revelation and be blessed with hope :
- We should read Revelation, because it is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read and heed what it says. This promise is given seven times throughout the book (Revelation 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14). Seven is the number that signifies complete perfection. God promises His full and perfect blessing to those who study His Revelation of Jesus Christ.
- The entire Bible is about Jesus, but different parts of Scripture reveal Jesus in different ways. In the Old Testament we see Jesus in shadows and prophecy. In the four Gospels we see Jesus in His humiliation in the flesh. In the New Testament epistles we see Jesus as our moral Virtue and Friend interceding for us with the Father. But only in Revelation do we see Jesus as He presently and eternally Is—in all of His glorious reality on the throne of Heaven leading and securing His saints, who are His Bride, the Church (Rev. 4 – 5).
- Revelation is exciting and reassuring. The many horrible and beautiful scenes that John sees explain what is happening in the world today, and comfort the saints in their tribulation. John is told that what he sees is coming SOON, not sometime thousands of years in the future! Thus Revelation reveals history as we saints are living it between the first and second advents (comings) of Jesus into our world. Furthermore, Revelation shows the inevitable outcome of that history, which is victory in Jesus! (Rev 19:6-16)
- Revelation explains suffering and pain. All people experience suffering and pain and death in this fallen world where Satan and his beasts deceive and dominate human governments and religions. True Christians suffer when they tell the story of Jesus and uphold Christ as Savior. But their suffering is as nothing beside their eternal joy and glory (2 Cor 4:17 – 18). Revelation shows that the saints are victorious over every worldly circumstance and are singing a new song on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1-3)
- Revelation transforms our view of death. For true Christians, death is not a bane but a blessing (Rev 14:13; 20:6; Psa 116:15).