The Chronology of Revelation

Revelation is not a chronological book from beginning to end.  There are three major somewhat chronological sections from chapter 4 to chapter 18, all describing the same events from different perspectives.

The first section spans from chapter 4 to chapter 11.  Here John is caught up into the Temple of God.  He sees the throne of God, the 24 elders, the Lamb of God slain, the seals being opened, the multitude worshiping, and the angels with trumpets standing before God to signal His wrath and judgment.  This section concludes with the kingdoms of the earth becoming the kingdoms of Christ depicted also in chapter 19.  Chapter ten, however, breaks from chronology and reveals for us the conclusion of Daniels vision of Christ descending to the earth, and also John is commanded to prophecy again, this time from an earthly perspective, which begins in chapter 12.

The second section spans from chapter 12 to chapter 16.  Here John sees the dragon waiting to devour the Christ as soon as He was born, Christ ascending into heaven, Satan being cast out of heaven because Christ is triumphant, and the wickedness of Satan’s war with those who hold the testimony of Christ; the church.  Here the glorious appearing is depicted symbolically as Christ reaping the harvest and an angel reaping the grapes of wrath.  He also sees the bowls of God’s judgment; seven angels standing outside the temple pouring out God’s wrath as signaled (I presume) by the trumpets blown by the angels standing before God.  This section concludes the same as the first.

The third section spans chapter 17 to 18.  These chapters give details concerning the trials and tribulations of the church not detailed in the two previous sections.  It also details the wrath of God upon Mystery Babylon and depicts Christ’s glorious appearing as an angel coming down from heaven lighting the earth with His glory (18:1)


5 Responses to The Chronology of Revelation

  1. Chronology of Prophetic Events –

    Trumpet events follow Seal events followed by Plague events.

    Note that the appearance of the Lord with power and majesty (1 Thess.5:2, Acts 2:20-21, Luke 21:25-37, Isa.13:6-8, Isa.13:9-11, Jer.30:7, Joel 2:31-32, Rev.6:12-17) is a (sixth) SEAL event, not to be confused with the seventh TRUMPET ascension (1 Thess.4:16-17), a separate event.

    Note that at the seventh, and final, SEAL (Rev.8:1), seven TRUMPETS are given (Rev.8:2) and seven angels PREPARE themselves to sound (Rev.8:6). The TRUMPET events cannot occur until the trumpets are given at the seventh, and final, SEAL event.

    Note that those who have gained the victory over the beast (Rev.15:2) are in heaven when the Plagues are given and poured out (Rev.15:1, Rev.15:6-8, Rev.16:1). The seventh TRUMPET ascension has taken place (1 Thess.4:16-17). The Plagues cannot be poured out until after they have been given.

    Pat – Bible Prophecy on the Web

  2. onefold says:

    The seventh seal is when the wrath of God is poured out. The church will not be on earth during that time. The sixth seal is the glorious appearing of Christ. When He appears, the resurrection of the just and the catching up of believers will occur. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet Christ will reign on earth.

    “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Rev. 11:15)

    “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’” Rev. 16:17)

    “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” (Rev. 15:2)

    “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Rev. 7:10)

  3. Lazarusvr says:

    i am gonna show this to my friend, guy

  4. I agree with Patricia, as far as she went. Any theory that needs to rearrange John’s God given chronology, is immediately suspect, and will be proven wrong. John wrote these events in the exact order that they will take place, with a few minor exceptions. Between the 6th and 7th seal, John closed the curtains, and went to an intermission, so to speak, to rearrange the set. Why? Because the sealing of the 144,000 and the huge crowd without number absolutely has to occur before the 7th seal! Why is this? Because the 7th seal “marks” the opening of the 70th week of Daniel, and the day of the Lord. The sealing MUST be accomplished before the week starts. And the rapture of the church MUST occur before the 70th week. It is the 70th week of Daniel, not the 70th week of the church.

    Next, John goes into his “midpoint intermission” between the 6th and 7th trumpets. The reason is the same: there are events that MUST take place before the abmination event that will take place at the 7th trumpet: for example, the two witnesses must show up. The 7th trupet marks the exact midpoint. We see the woman fleeing (12:6) just a few verses later. Why is she fleeing into the wilderness? She is following what Jesus said: when you see the abomination, RUN! Next, John introduces the beast. Why? Because few will know he is a beast, until the abomination. It is there that he will be revealed as to how evil he really is.

    John finally closes the intermission, and gets back to real-time events in chapter 15, where we see the angels with the vials. They cannot be poured out, until the beast has his mark set up. The vials and accompanying plagues will work to shorten the effective time the beast will be removing heads from all those that refuese the mark. Finally, John gets to the 7th vial, which marks the end of the 70th week. The terrible time of tribulation is over, and Jesus will soon light up the dark sky. Right on time, in chapter 19, John shows us Jesus on the white horse, returning to earth. Therefore, all the events, with minor exceptions, are written in the exact order that they will take place.


  5. onefold says:

    If the chronology is exactly as John wrote it, then the battle of Magog will take place after the millennium. Most Dispensationalists do not believe that.

    Revelation 12 speaks of Christ’s ascension into heaven followed by war in heaven resulting in Satan’s expulsion and the proclamation that he can no longer accuse God’s people. Why; because Christ was triumphant over the grave, and put away sin for all who believe. Since Christ gave His life at the cross, what does the devil have to accuse? We are under grace not Law. For reasons beyond my grasp, Dispensationalists believe this event is yet to be fulfilled.

    And what about the temple? Wasn’t the temple in Jerusalem a model of the true temple in heaven? Pre-trib theology asserts that Christ cannot enter the Holy of Holies until the “third” temple is built, but Christ did enter the Holy of Holies at the cross. He did it in the true temple of God, not the one built with hands, but the true temple in heaven wherein He entered as our High Priest by His own blood – the only blood worthy of forgiveness. (Heb. 9)

    If our perspective of end times theology is not grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then our perspective is not sure. Revelation is fascinating, but also easily manipulated by the imaginations of some who think they have all the answers. I implore anyone who wishes to study this fascinating and important book of the Bible, do so through the lens of the Gospel, not the imaginations of men.

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