Most of us are very concerned about the future. We want to know how God is going to deal with what we see right now. What’s going to happen? In this month’s study, we’re going to stand at a high point—as if on a mountain overlook—and get a panoramic view of the entire book of Revelation.
This is a just an overview of what the Bible says will occur—we won’t stop and camp out at any one place—only hit the high spots in the timeline of events in Revelation. [For a detailed, in-depth study, see Dr. Rogers’ 3-volume Revelation CD/DVD series, “The Triumph of the Lamb.”]
Many people shake their heads when they approach the book of Revelation. Even settled Christians find it to be foreboding—obscure, puzzling with its strange-looking creatures, horses, beasts, and disasters.
To be sure, Revelation is mysterious. But all these creatures and symbols represent actual players on the world stage in the future and real forces at work today. The fog on our windshield will begin to clear as we grasp the timeline of Revelation.
The word “revelation” itself tells us God doesn’t want it to be hard to understand.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE WORD “REVELATION”
The Greek word for “revelation” is apocalupsis (apokálypsis). It means an uncovering—an unveiling, just like when a statue or sculpture is unveiled in public for the first time. The artist or dignitary pulls the cord, the covering drops to the floor, and there it is: the figure revealed for all to see. This is what happens in the book of Revelation.
1. Turn in your Bible to the first chapter and first verse, Revelation 1:1. As we read, fill in some key words.
The Revelation of __________ _____________, which God gave unto _________, to _________ unto His servants things which must shortly _______ to _______; and He sent and _____________ it by His angel unto His servant John.
Right here in the first verse, notice some key points.
a. Who is being revealed? ________ ___________.) Also, some “things” must be revealed.
b. The second word in the verse, “revelation,” tells us it’s not meant to be hidden. If something is being revealed, that’s the opposite of mysterious, unclear or puzzling.
c. What other word in v.1 shows we can know what will come to pass?
Who sent this revelation?
Who is He revealing it to? His ___________.
If you are one of these, then He wants to reveal the chief Person (Jesus) and events of Revelation to you.
2. What do you see as the root word of “signify”?
To “signify” means to be a sign of, to imply, to show, to mean, especially by a signal. Some other versions state the verse this way: He sent it and made it known, communicated it, by His angel to His servant John.
The book of Revelation is to show, imply and be a signal for the Lord Jesus Christ and those things which are to come.
3. Note “the things which must ___________ come to pass…” If you’re thinking that God means the events described in Revelation are going to happen soon after the message was given, then the book will really not make sense. The actual word for “shortly” here doesn’t mean these events will necessarily begin to happen quickly but is better translated “speedily”—that when they start to happen, everything will progress rapidly.
4. Who did He give the revelation to, to deliver to His followers?
This is not John the Baptist, who was martyred by Herod decades earlier. This is the Apostle John, one of the 12 disciples. We find out down in verse 9 that John is on the Isle of Patmos, where the Roman government had exiled him. Sounds like a resort. Hardly, It was the “Alcatraz” of that day. John says it was on a Sunday and he was worshipping the Lord when the Lord spoke to him.
Since a message is only as trustworthy as the person who’s transmitting it, let’s take a moment to remember just who the Apostle John was.
He was among the earliest disciples Jesus called. And when He [Jesus] had gone a little farther thence, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
John was part of Jesus’ inner circle of three disciples who were part of things the other nine were not. And He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. Mark 5:37 Mark 1:19
He was one of only three who saw Jesus transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration. He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. Luke 9:28-29, Mark 9:2
John was one of the three who usually sought to go deeper in following the Lord. And as He [Jesus] sat upon the Mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately… Mark 13:3
When it came time for Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples, He asked Peter and John to make the arrangements. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat… Luke 22:8
At the last Supper, all the disciples wanted to know was, “Who’s the one who would betray Jesus?” Peter got John to do the asking, knowing John was the disciple Jesus was closest to. John 13:20
As Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, He took Peter, James and John with Him further in the Garden to keep watch. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John…Mark 14:33
At the Cross, John was the only disciple present, and Jesus gave John the charge to look after His mother, Mary, on His behalf.
On Resurrection morning, Peter and John were the first men at the tomb—and John got there first. John 20:2
After the resurrection, when Jesus appeared on the shores of Galilee, it was John who recognized Him first, even before Peter. John 21:7
And in the book of Acts, John was right there alongside Peter in healings and in speaking boldly, in the formative days of the Jerusalem church. Acts 3:11, Acts 4:13 Acts 4:19 Acts 8:14
So it comes as no surprise that John was the one the Lord Jesus tapped to share with all believers, down through the centuries, Christ in His resplendent glory as King of kings—the Lord of lords who will rule over these end-time events at the climax of history.
The canvas has been painted. From the beginning of time, God had His plan in place for creation, and He knew how it would all end—what would happen to the devil, the angels who fell, His beautiful creation—and those who are His own—those who received His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
5. Reading any one of the 66 books of the Bible will be a blessing to you, but Revelation is unique in one regard.
Continue to verse 3: Blessed is he that _____________ and they that ________ the words of this prophecy and ________ those things which are written therein for the time is at hand.
Revelation is the only book in the Bible where God promises a special blessing to those who study it.
6. In verses 4-5, there’s a “To” and a “From.”
a. Who is the letter of Revelation written to?
b. In v. 4, John says the letter is from himself, and from ___________________, ______________________, and from ___________________________.
Many scholars believe “the 7 spirits” in this verse simply refers to the Holy Spirit in all His perfection, since the number 7 is associated with perfection (and also fulfilment and completion). So the message is from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, given through John—the human instrument they chose to convey it.
7. Now compare v. 7 here in the first chapter…
Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.
…with Matthew 24:29-30, written 3 decades earlier. The Lord Jesus is speaking: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
What are the similarities in both these passages?
What God began in Genesis finds its climax in Revelation.
In Genesis, you find the creation of the heavens and the earth.
In Revelation, you find the creation of new heavens and a new earth.
In Genesis you have the first Adam and his bride, Eve.
In Revelation you have the last Adam and his bride, the church.
In Genesis you find paradise lost. In Revelation, paradise is regained.
In Genesis, man is driven from the Tree of Life.
In Revelation, man is invited back to the Tree of Life.
In Genesis, you have the record of the first death.
In Revelation we read there will be no more death.
Genesis is the beginning of heartache, sorrow and woe.
Revelation concludes with a time where the former things are passed away,
neither shall there be any more pain.
Revelation is the golden clasp that holds all 66 books ofthe Bible together.
No wonder there is a special blessing for those who put forth the effort to study it.
Now, wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a golden key that would unlock that clasp?
We do. It’s hanging near the front door down in verse 19.
8.. Turn to verse 19.
"Write the things which ______ ______ ______ and the things which _____ and the things which ________ ___ _______________."
Here it is—the key. This is God’s outline for the book. It has three divisions, and this will help us understand what follows. John’s commission is to write three things.
The Things John Saw Right Then
The Things Which Are
The Things that Shall Be Hereafter.
With that outline in hand, things will begin to fall into place.
Division 1—“Those Things You See” Chapter 1
Division 1 is Revelation Chapter 1 and is the shortest division of the book. John has a vision of the exalted Christ, the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:12-16). He wrote what he saw:
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man…
A CLOSER LOOK AT “SON OF MAN”
Let’s pause right here. The Lord Jesus, who is God, took upon Himself the form of man (see Philippians 2) and in His resurrection and ascension to Heaven has taken his humanity there. He is forevermore now a “Son of Man.” Jesus, the Son of God, spoke of himself as the Son of Man. It was his own favorite term for himself. We just saw Him use it in Matthew 24.
13 …clothed with a garment down to the foot…
This was the garment of a priest and a judge, and Jesus is both. In last month’s online study, remember, we looked at why Jesus is our High Priest—and why we all need one. Continuing…
14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
9. Now, in response, what was John’s reaction? (v. 17)_________________________ ______________________________________. This is remarkable, because as we saw earlier, this same John was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He shared life with Jesus for 3 years. Yet when he sees Jesus in all His glory, John drops to the floor, fully overcome with the majesty of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ
A CLOSER LOOK AT JOHN’S REACTION TO JESUS
There’s an explanation for this. There are two sides to the nature of Jesus.
He came the first time as the Lamb of God. He's coming the next time as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
He came the first time as a Savior. He's coming the second time as a Judge.
He came the first time despised and rejected of men, he's coming the next time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
When Jesus was being crucified, He was mocked, spit upon, beaten, humiliated. The Bible tells us some women were standing there weeping, and Jesus said to them, “Don't weep for me, weep for yourselves. This is your hour. My hour has not yet come.” Today is man's hour. Jesus’ hour is coming.
It will be a day when our Lord steps out of glory, displayed not as the carpenter of Galilee, not as the peasant prophet, not as the meek and mild, gentle Jesus—even though He is, full of infinite love. The book of Revelation gives another picture of the Lord Jesus Christ—His hair white like wool because of His holiness; His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet like burning brass (brass is a symbol of judgment). He is going forth to judge, His voice like many waters, no arguing, no talking back. You might as well try to argue with the ocean as to argue with this our Lord in His glory.
Division 2—“Those Things Which Are” Revelation Chapters 2-3
This 2nd division in our outline is another very short one. We can cover it quickly. What was happening as John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos? The Church age had begun.
10. In chapters 2 and 3, Jesus gives John a direct personal message to seven literal churches in Asia Minor, but they represent every church from Pentecost to the present. As you scroll through chapters 2 and 3, identify these churches. Do you see one that reminds you of yours?
______________ left her first love, the Lord Jesus. ____________ suffered great persecution. Many believers are in areas where the church suffers terribly every day. _____________ let ungodliness idol worship and worldliness corrupt it from the inside out. _____________ taught heresy they’d allowed to creep in. _________ seemed to have everything—lots of programs—but they were spiritually dead. __________________ was graced by love for one another.
Lastly, _______________ a lukewarm church, too good to be bad, too bad to be good, made the Lord sick. Jesus would rather have you out and out against Him, than lukewarm, on the fence. G. Campbell Morgan said, and I've never forgotten it: “Lukewarmness is the worst form of blasphemy.”
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 speak to the churches from the first century throughout the Church Age, which is the age we are in today as this study is being written. Having been a pastor for over four decades, I’ve seen there’s not a church problem that’s not addressed in the messages to these seven churches.
Division 3—“Those Things which Shall Be Hereafter” Revelation Chapters 4-22
This is just an overview, so we will tick them off very briefly. Revelation 4:1 is the first event in Division 3. With it, the Church Age ends.
The RaptureRevelation 4:1
11.Turn to Revelation 4. Instantly, as 3:22 ends, 4:1 begins.
1 After this I looked, and, behold, a _______ was opened in ______________: and the first voice which I heard was, as it were of a _____________ talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And __________________ I was in the spirit: and, behold, a ___________ was set in ______________, and one sat on the throne.
Note that one moment John is present on earth, dealing with earthly matters (Rev. 3:22) and the very next moment, Rev. 4:1, he’s seeing _________________, and he’s there with the saints.
a. Several key things to note here: “After this…” After what? After the Holy Spirit has ended His message to the churches in the Church Age.
b. Beyond Revelation 3:22, the Church does not appear again on earth. Until this point, all we’ve heard in chapters 2 through 3 is “church, church, church” — then nothing more about the church. You don't find the church mentioned anymore because the church age has ended!
c. Right away (v.1), John hears what? _______________________ It is likely the same thing heard in 1 Corinthians 15:52 as the Lord brings His church up.
12. This is too important to skip over. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last ____________: for the _________________ shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
a. What will happen to those who are already dead?
b. What happens to those of us still alive?
13. Turn to First Thessalonians 4:16. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with the voice of an archangel and the __________ of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Mathew 24:36-44 describes it further, if you would like to review it.
When Revelation 4:1 says, “Come up hither,” this is our gathering together unto the Lord. It may happen at any moment. Not one more prophecy awaits fulfillment before this can take place.
At the trumpet sound, the Lord Jesus is going to come. It may be tonight, tomorrow morning, 50 years from now, but Jesus is going to call for His own, and we’ll be going.
14. Some teach that the Church is going to go through part if not all of the Tribulation. No. He has not appointed His beloved Bride to wrath.
Turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
9 For God hath not appointed us to ____________, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ
The Tribulation is that terrible time when God pours out His wrath on a world that has rejected His every offer of salvation. God never pours out his wrath upon his children. God will chastise his children—we're the objects of his chastisement—but never His wrath. God's wrath is only for the unsaved. Revelation 9:6 tells us that “In those days shall men seek death and not find it and shall desire to die and death shall flee from them.” What a terrible seven years this is going to be.
This concludes the first event. Remember, we’re just hitting the high points.
15. Turn forward to Revelation 6:17.
For the great day of His ____________ is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The Church is taken out; the salt and the light are gone. The Holy Spirit stands aside; the anti‑Christ, rises to power. If Jesus’ first coming does not save you, His last coming will certainly condemn you. What a weeping and wailing when the lost are told of their fate. They will cry for the rocks and the mountains, they will pray but their prayer is too late. Pestilence, famine, war, terror, regimentation, the reign of the anti‑Christ, the beast, will be here. Demons will come out of the bottomless pit and infest the earth. All the horrible nightmares this world has ever known will be rolled into one as hell will have a holiday, especially in the last 3½ years, known as “The Great Tribulation.”
How will this event end? The next event:
The Battle of Armageddon.
16. Turn toRevelation 16:16-17 and 19:11
Anti‑Christ will gather the world’s armies under the power of Satan, in his final surge against God's ancient people, the Jews, and Heaven responds.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. 17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, “____ ____ _____.”
The Second Coming of Christ—with His church
17. Forward to Revelation chapter19. The Lord will destroy the AntiChrist. The Lord Jesus Christ has already come for his church (Revelation 4:1—the Rapture). Now He's coming with His church and Heaven's army. At just the last moment, the Lord Jesus, who spoke them into existence, will speak them into oblivion with just a word from His mouth.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called ______________ and ________, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.
Who is this? _______________________________
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. [You will never, friend, fathom God] 13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The _________ of _______.
14 And the _____________ which were in _____________ followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The Lord is going to destroy the AntiChrist and his armies with a word from His mouth.
The armies in heaven are the saints—us. We’ve been caught up, made like the Lord Jesus Christ, clothed in white linen. Now, he does not come for us, we come with him. We've been away for seven years while the flames of the tribulation have seared across this earth.
Then at the Battle of Armageddon, mortal man and mighty God meet in conflict, and this battle is won with a word.
The Millennium (And Satan is Bound)
18. See Revelation 20:1-6
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him___ _____________ ________.... 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they [the believer in Christ] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall __________ with ______ a __________________ years.
Jesus Christ will literally reign here upon this earth. He would not have taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven” if it would not be answered. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
We shall be priests of God and reign with him a thousand years (v.6), during which “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as waters that cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14), and “men shall leave their swords and their plowshares, their spears and the pruning hooks, and nations shall not lift up sword against nation.” Isaiah 2:4
Final Battle, Satan’s End, The Final Judgment
19. Now see Revelation 20:7-15
Satan makes one last attempt to overthrow God. What is the end result of Satan’s rebellion?______________________________________________________________ Then comes the final judgment. Every unsaved man, woman, boy and girl will stand before God to be judged.
Eternal Heaven or Eternal Hell,New Heaven, New Earth
20. Turn to Revelation 21:1 and read to 22:21, the end of this blessed book.
a. A new Heaven and new earth arrives, for the first Heaven and the first earth were __________ _______ (21:1).
There will be a category of overcomers and a category of those who will suffer in a place the Bible calls hell.
Those “overcomers” shall be His people, and God Himself shall be _______ them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (21:3-4).
b. There are several reasons why God the Father will have to wipe away all tears from their eyes. Note this verse says (1) God will wipe away all tears, and (2) there will be no more crying or sorrow.
What two reasons can you think of that God will need to wipe away our tears?
This is our panoramic overview of prophecy—the whole book of Revelation in a snapshot. But be sure you read Revelation 21 and 22. It will take only a minute. Then rest upon and be encouraged by what awaits you and every other believer—joy unspeakable and full of glory.
For a full study of Revelation, please call 1-800-274-5683 and request either the CD or DVD version of Adrian Rogers’ complete 3-volume study of the book of Revelation. And be sure to listen online at oneplace.com or through our website to this message “A Panorama of Prophecy,” available beginning March 7 and 8.
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