The Order of the Book of Revelation

Last Updated: 04/29/2023 13:44    | Print This Page | |

There is a definite flow in Revelation from beginning to end, but like with the Bible as a whole, there are places where it jumps back and forward in time. This study is a quick overview of what Revelation covers and in what order. The Bible flows from Genesis to Revelation. Genesis being the beginning and Revelation focusing on the end. The books in between cover history through Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, etc.

While the Bible flows from beginning of history to end of it, there are many prophecies that jump us through time. The Book of Revelation works kind of the same way, only focused more on the time from the beginning of the New Testament church, quickly jumping to the time of the end before Christ’s return and through to eternity.

Revelation 1: The Introduction & The Seven Churches

In the introduction, a blessing is given to the reader who hears the prophecy and to keepG5083 those things contained in Revelation. Yeshua is also introduced as John, writing from the isle of Patmos, is taken in the spirit to see these visions of what is to come in the last days.

Revelation 2,3: The Letters to the Churches

Chuck Missler did a study on these letters to the seven churches and I agree with him that they represent different church “ages” from Acts to today. That study is here.

Understand the great tribulation according to scripture first.

Revelation 4: A Glimpse of Heaven

Notice unlike the future view of the same throne room in heaven of Revelation 7, there is no multitude here now. This chapter is used by pre-tribulation harpazo proponents as a reasoning for timing the harpazo before the seals. They apply the “come up here” as a call to the bride of Christ at the harpazo rather than just what the scripture is saying, John was called up to view what we see written for us about what he saw. We see these same 4 beasts, 24 elders, seven spirits of God, and the throne room in Revelation 7, only then there are multitudes beyond counting standing there.

Revelation 5: The Scroll with Seven Seals

I go into this in more detail here. This chapter introduces the idea that there is a scroll sealed with seven seals that not just anyone can open. The only one worthy to break the seals and open the scroll is the Lamb of God who was slain, Yeshua. As we see in the future chapters, it is only once the seals are broken that the scroll is then opened and the judgements of God are unleashed on the earth. There follow 7 trumpets, 7 thunders and 7 bowls/vials that bring greater and greater devastation to the world faster and faster over time, like contractions during delivery.

Revelation 6: Christ Begins to Open the Seals up to the Sixth Seal

The first four seals that are opened are picturing what is commonly known as the four horsement of the apocalypse. At the breaking of each seal, John is told to "come and see" and is shown a white, red, black and green/yellowish pale horse. Each of these speak of conquering, war, famine and death.

The fifth seal gives a vision of those dead in Christ under the altar who are told to wait a little while longer before God’s justice is delivered on the earth. It should be noted that this also fits with the idea that God’s wrath has not yet begun as it is the just reward for the earth for their murder. It also makes it clear that the murder of God’s people is still underway at this time as they are told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

Finally we see the sixth seal opened, which produces a very distinctive sign in the heavens that both Old and New Testament prophets have written about. These prophets clearly tie this sun, moon and star event to a time just before the Day of the Lord. Joel 2:30-31 was referenced by Peter’s sermon on Petecost in Acts 2:14-36. Just before Yeshua died, He told His disciples at the Olivet discourse the signs of His coming and the end of the age. These same signs of the sixth seal, Matthew 24:29-31, would be coming immediately after the unparalleled time of great tribulation. Matthew 24:15-28

Matthew 24:29-31
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 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. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

I believe the harpazo happens sometime at the sixth seal and the result is in Revelation 7 where we see the multitudes in heaven worshipping God. I hold a Pre-wrath view of the gathering of the elect for many reasons, but one is this description by Christ Himself that shows the signs of the sixth seal coinciding with His coming and gathering the elect. Joel places the Day of the Lord just after this event, which is the beginning of God’s wrath and we are promised escape from God’s wrath, which is coming on the earth so the only way to escape is to be removed from the earth prior to it. Luke 21:29-36 | 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Revelation 7: The 144,000 Sealed and a Great Multitude Standing in Heaven that Came out of Great Tribulation

Notice there is a dual-view of events in this chapter. In Revelation 7:1-8, we have the firstfruits of the redeemed from the earth, the 144,000 Jews who remain on the Earth during the great tribulation with Israel in the wilderness. They are given the seal of God on their foreheads and that is the only protection against the demon locusts at the fifth trumpet. Remember Christ is the firstfruits of them that slept and He was resurrected long before we are. So too, the 144,000 firstfruits from the earth that go through the great tribulation as a witness among the nation of Israel in the wilderness. I personally believe from Revelation 14’s description of them (Revelation 14:1-7) that they are all Jewish boys coming of age and very devoted to God. They are the firstfruits of those from the earth that went through the whole great tribulation after the harpazo of the bride.

Then, Revelation 7:9-17 focuses on those multitudes in heaven, the caught up bride. It says they are identified as “they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This doesn’t mean that the great tribulation is over, just that these are those who came out of it. It then ends stating their place in eternity as the wife of Christ, dwelling with Him and He dwelling among them. This does not mean those who are resurrected later and are part of the resurrection of the just will not be in heaven. They just won’t be the bride of Christ. This is apparent when we see later in Revelation 19 that the marriage of the Lamb is done before Christ returns in glory at Armageddon.

Understanding the great tribulation is Satan’s wrath on God’s people (It began at the abomination of desolation Matthew 24:15-22) and is split into two focuses, we know the first 30 days are the time of Jacob’s trouble. Revelation 12:7-16 The remainder of the time is focused world-wide, Revelation 12:17, but initially it is on those in Judea. I believe these that came out of great tribulation are the caught away bride of Christ consisting of both Jew and Gentile. This passage doesn’t specify if they’re caught away before or after the sixth seal, but I believe it happens in conjunction with Israel being taken into the wilderness, Revelation 12:14, and the sealing of the 144,000. I further believe this chapter is tied in with Revelation 14 in seeing the reaping from Him on the cloud.

We’re told in Romans 10:18-21, quoting Moses from Deuteronomy 32:20-21, and Romans 11:11 that through the fall of Israel in rejecting their Messiah, the Gospel and salvation was given to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy. At the triumphal entry Yeshua blinded Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles. It is interesting in this chapter that we see God dealing with both national Israel on the earth and the bride of Christ in heaven at this same time around the signs of the sixth seal.

The 144,000 of the 12 tribes of Israel have to be sealed before God’s wrath can be poured out because it’s the only protection from it during this time.

The multitude in heaven came out of great tribulation, placing this depiction logically and in agreement with the rest of scripture, after the time of Jacob’s trouble yet before the wrath of God.

I believe for those of Israel that flee to the mountains and are protected in the wilderness for the remainder of the antichrist’s rule, this time will be a time of mourning and jealousy for the nation of Israel left behind. They will be refined through this time of fire to come out of the wilderness when Christ comes to take the kingdoms after His wrath is poured out and will live in the Messianic kingdom.

Revelation 8: The First Four Trumpets and the Beginning of God’s Wrath

This is the introduction to the Chronological Nature of the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls. There are some who believe that the first seal, trumpet and bowl/vial are actually talking about the same event as are the second, third and so on. Recalling that there are technically no chapter separations in the Bible, the chapter starts with the seventh seal, which is just 1/2 hour of silence in heaven. We then see in Revelation 8:2 that the seven angels aren’t even given their seven trumpets until after the seventh seal. I believe God wrote it like this to verify that the seals, trumpets, and bowls are sequential in nature.

The first four trumpets are blown, and unlike the seals before them that seem to mark an allowance for things on the earth to happen, there is a clear distinction that the trumpets begin the wrath of God through natural and supernatural events that cause immense destruction on the earth from hail and fire mixed with blood burning 1/3 of the trees and all the green grass to what appears to be a massive astroid strike on the earth killing 1/3 of the sea creatures and destroying 1/3 of the ships. For more detail go here.

Revelation 9: Continues the Trumpets with the Last Three Woe Judgments

This is where Apollyon appears from the bottomless pit and the angels in the Euphrates are loosed to kill 1/3 of men.

Revelation 10: The Seven Thunders

We don’t know the details of and an interesting phrase that places the seventh trumpet occurring over a period of days (plural). I believe within the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the seven bowls are poured out in quick succession and at the end, the seventh trumpet stops and Christ returns in glory with His wife (us) to take the kingdoms. In this way, the kingdoms of the world are the Lords at the seventh trumpet.

Revelation 11: The Third Temple, Two Witnesses & The Seventh Trumpet

Revelation 11 begins by jumping back in time. There it discusses the details of the rebuilt temple that will stand without the outer court next to the dome of the rock. This must be done before the abomination of desolation and therefore before any trumpets are blown.

The two witnesses are also introduced. They prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. They are described as two olive trees and two candlesticks standing before the God of the Earth. Anyone who tries to kill them is devoured by fire from their mouths. They have the power to prevent rain, turn water to blood, and smite the earth with plagues as often as they wish. It is my belief that their appearance will be tied to the rebuilding of the third temple.

They are killed by the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit and the location of their testimony is Jerusalem. There are two beasts from scripture that ascend from the bottomless pit:

Revelation 9:1-11 speaks of Apollyon at the fifth trumpet being released with his hordes of demon locusts and is called the king of the locusts and angel of the bottomless pit. This is the second woe.

Revelation 17 further defines the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 among others. This is the beast that the woman is riding.

Verse 8 defines this beast as having been, but is not, yet he will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition.

Verses 9-11 then talk about the seven heads of the beast where five are fallen, one is, and one is yet to come to continue for a short space of time. This seventh beast is also the eighth and goes into perdition.

I believe these are two different subjects being discussed because the verse 8 beast is not there, yet the 6th head of the beast from verse 8 is there. I believe the heads represent the major kings over the beast, which is the spirit behind it.

Apollo is a Greek/Roman god who was the archer-god of medicine and healing, light (2 Corinthians 11:14), truth, archery and also a bringer of death-dealing plague. I believe this was one of the fallen angels behind the the kingdoms through history represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream interpreted by Daniel and also in Daniel 7.

So given this information, I believe that it is Apollyon that kills the two witnesses at the fifth trumpet when he is loosed from the bottomless pit. This is the first woe as stated in Revelation 9:12, “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

To further that Revelation 11:14 states, “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” This is immediately after introducing the two witnesses in Revelation 11:1-13.

So we know the two witnesses are killed and resurrected sometime between the fifth and seventh trumpets being blown. The following chart represents in red the timeframe I believe the two witnesses will be holding their testimony.

It is my belief that they will first deliver their testimony to the Jews before the abomination of desolation. I believe the timing of the introduction of the third temple prior to introducing the two witnesses is a hint to the order of events and that the two witnesses first appear to the Jews at the rebuilt temple to proclaim the Gospel to those Jews who will hear.

Then at the abomination of desolation, all the Jews will be killed or run to the mountains except these two. They will remain in Jerusalem until after the fifth trumpet, when Apollyon will ascend from the bottomless pit and kill them both. Since the torment of the demon locusts of the fifth trumpet last for five months (150 days), this offsets the beginning point of the two witnesses from any other 3½ year period mentioned in scripture.

The bodies of these two witnesses are left in the streets and parties are held. This clearly shows that the children of disobedience have taken over Jerusalem, it is being trampled for 42 months as prophesied. After 3½ days they are resurrected and caught up to heaven before everyone’s eyes. There follows an earthquake and 1/10 of the city falls and 7,000 men are killed. The rest are afraid and give glory to God. This is all part of the second woe.

Revelation 11:15-19 ends with the sounding of the seventh trumpet and voices in heaven declare that the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Remember that this trumpet blast lasts for days. Revelation 10:6-7 This is the third woe and I believe it contains all seven of the last plagues, the seven bowls. The following chart shows the succession I believe scripture dictates.

Revelation 12: Overview of History Focused on the Relationship Between Satan, Israel, and Yeshua

This chapter does not follow a chronological pattern with its surrounding chapters. It jumps through time covering identities and an overall view of timing regarding the subjects of the chapter.

We see Israel introduced as the woman via the symbol interpretation taken from Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9-11 She then gives birth to the man-child who is caught up to God. This covers the time from Christ’s birth to His ascension. It then jumps forward to the war in heaven, in which Lucifer is cast out of heaven permanently. (He is currently up there accusing us before the throne) He realizes his time is short and that’s when the abomination of desolation happens as he goes after the woman, Israel.

This chapter further defines the great tribulation as being split into two focuses, first the Jews in Judea and the reason Christ warned those in Judea to run to the mountains at the abomination of desolation, Revelation 12:7-16, then the remnant of Israel not protected in the wilderness and those holding the testimony of Christ. Revelation 12:17

Revelation 13: The Beast & False Prophet

This chapter isn’t chronologically placed either, it’s just giving us more detail about the characters of this time period. Click the links for more information on the details of the beast and the details of the false prophet. This comes together more in the study of the revived Roman Empire.

Revelation 14: The Time of Revelation 7, the 144,000 & the Harpazo

This chapter jumps back to a time just before the wrath of God as we will see. In this way, it is also outside of the chronological path through the seals, trumpets and bowls, yet tied to the time around the sixth seal by implication of the events taking place and further to Revelation 7, between the sixth seal and first trumpet, the beginning of God’s wrath.

Revelation 14:1-5 is specifically focused on the identity of the 144,000, which is what Revelation 7:1-8 was also focused on.

Revelation 14:6,7 is an angel with the everlasting gospel to preach to the whole earth stating that the hour of his judgment is come and to worship Him that made the heavens, earth, sea, and fountains of waters.

Revelation 14:8 another angel stating Babylon is fallen. This could be a prophetic statement or it could place this at the end of the antichrist’s reign when Babylon is destroyed in one day. Revelation 18 Because we were just told by the previous angel that the hour of judgment is come and Babylon is destroyed at the end in one day after the judgments are over, I lean toward a prophetic statement or warning.

Revelation 14:9-13 is a third angel following the first two warning everyone not to take the mark of the beast because anyone that does will drink of the wrath of God. It is made clear this is a choice to separate yourself from God eternally if you take the mark. It is followed by an instruction that the “patience” of the saints is keeping the Commandments of God and faith in Yeshua. A voice then follows from heaven blessing those who die in Christ from this point on. This is a big indicator for me that these passages in Revelation 14 are actually occurring back in the Revelation 7 timeframe. That is when the harpazo takes place and additionally that would also be the point when the mark of the beast began being implemented.

Harvest from the earth

Revelation 14:14-20 further supports the above belief that places the events of Revelation 14 at the same timeframe of Revelation 7 when we see the sickle harvest where one sits upon a cloud that is like the Son of man with a golden crown and sharp sickle. Another angel comes out of the temple to let him know it is time to reap. I find this particularly interesting because only the Father knows the day or hour of Christ’s coming. Matthew 24:36-39 | Matthew 24:50-51 | Mark 13:32-37 | Matthew 25:1-13 | Luke 12:41-48 These scriptures also tie this timing to the sudden destruction of the day of the Lord or the day of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 speaks of our gathering to Christ on the day of Christ and around the timing of the abomination of desolation.

So an angel coming out of the temple where the Father dwells to tell this one that looks like the Son of man to reap because the harvest is ready seems to fit very well to the gathering of the bride of Christ to Himself, who is on a cloud, to meet Him in the air. John 14:1-3

A second angel having a sharp sickle, who has the power over fire, is prompted by a call from an angel in the temple to gather the clusters of the vine of the earth because the grapes are fully ripe. I find it interesting that God’s wrath came once by water (flood) and will come at the end by fire. “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” This sounds a lot to me like the beginning of the wrath of God after the gathering of the harvest. This removes us before the wrath of God as well. We are not gathered and cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God, we are reaped from the earth by one who looks like the Son of man on a cloud.

This whole chapter seems to me to jump back to the timeframe of the 144,000 and the harpazo of the bride back in Revelation 7. It gives further insight to the coming judgment and the order of gathering, first of the bride of Christ from the earth at the harpazo, then to cast the rest into the time of the wrath of God beginning the 1,000 year day of the Lord. 2 Peter 3:8-10 | Psalm 90:4

Revelation 15: The Final Seven Plagues Which Fill Up the Wrath of God

So God’s wrath wasn’t over at the trumpets, and now we focus back on the timeline of events for the seals, trumpets and bowls, the seven last plagues.

Revelation 16: Pouring Out of the Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath

This chapter is all seven bowls being poured out. I believe this supports the idea that these are poured out in quick succession at the end during the third woe, the seventh trumpet. Neither the seals or the trumpets were all contained in one chapter and neither were written in such a quick succinct way.

Revelation 17: The Judgment of Babylon & the Whore on Many Waters

Here symbols are interpreted for us as to who these characters are.

Revelation 18: Details the Destruction of Babylon

This is the last event before Christ’s return in glory at Armageddon in the next chapter. It is placed after the wrath of God is poured out and before Christ’s return.

Revelation 19: The Marriage of the Lamb & Christ’s Return in Glory

It should be noted that the marriage of the Lamb takes place before the wife, arrayed in fine linen white and clean, is seen following Christ in that same attire on white horses. This indicates that we must be caught away prior to that time in order to attend the marriage of the Lamb. This is not the same as the marriage supper of the Lamb which will be on the earth after Christ returns in glory where He will present His wife. This mirrors ancient Jewish wedding customs. Upon Christ’s return, He destroys the beast and false prophet (this marks the end of the beasts 42 month reign starting at the abomination of desolation. Revelation 13:5) Christ then destroys the gathered armies at Armageddon.

Revelation 20: The Sealing of Satan in the Bottomless Pit After Christ’s Return

It is after that we see the first resurrection. This is the resurrection of the just, which happens several times through history. You can read the linked study for the Biblical proof of this and why this isn’t the harpazo. We also see a quick jump over the millennium implied because of Satan’s release and then the great white throne judgment.

Revelation 21 & 22: The New Heavens and New Earth

This is where we get a little glimpse of the glory we will live in for eternity and New Jerusalem, our home. It’s the conclusion and description of some of the things we will see.

As you can see, overall there is a flow from beginning to end covering the history from Acts until the new heavens and the new earth with a couple chapters covering more detail or spans of time. The flow is definitely from beginning to end just like it is over the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. For a great verse-by-verse study of Revelation, check out Chuck Missler’s review of the book of Revelation.