Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Overview of the Book of Revelation

Several weeks ago I wrote about my plan to read through Revelation in a year. Now about six weeks into it, I am behind by several days so I am doing two verses a day for a bit to catch up.

At the end of that post, I mentioned Revelation is not as hard and complicated as some people try to make it. Let me clarify why I say that.

First, God gave us this book to communicate what is going to happen. He wants us to be prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually for these hard times ahead. He did not obfuscate the material because he wants it to be clear for those who will need it.

Second, with this in mind, I think it is important to read it as history that has simply not happened yet. It is not all symbolic. It is not all allegorical. The text itself explains the few symbols that do exist. Everything else is simple narrative.

The main theme of the book is Jesus return to rule the earth. Evil governments will resist and Jesus will destroy them. Believers will have sin and Jesus will purify and ready them to rule and reign with Him. It is easier to understand the terrible things that happen when viewed through the lens of destroying evil and purifying the Bride. Just as gold is refined by fire to remove impurities and reveal the pure metal, so too will humanity be put through hard times to reveal what is in individuals' hearts, whether evil or love.

Here is a brief outline for the book:[1]

  1. Chapter 1: John's calling
  2. Chapters 2-3: Letters to the seven churches
  3. Chapters 4-5: Jesus takes the scroll
  4. Chapters 6-22: Jesus battle plan
    1. Chapters 6-7: Seal judgments
    2. Chapters 8-11: Trumpet judgments
    3. Chapters 12-14: Second coming procession
    4. Chapters 15-18: Bowl judgments
    5. Chapters 19-22: Triumphal entry

Each of these last five sections follows a two-part pattern. There is description of significant events on earth. The narration is then paused and a parenthetical explanation is given. The storyline resumes, flowing into the next section.

I hope this road map helps put things in context as you read this wonderful book that is so essential to our spiritual growth.

1. This is extracted from a several page outline written by Mike Bickle.