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OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION by Irvin Baxter
Revelation 1-3: Revelation 1:7 reveals the entire theme of the Book of Revelation, the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him…” Chapters 2 and 3 contain special messages written to the seven churches of Asia. After John was released from exile, he became the overseer of these churches and was able to personally deliver the messages from God to them.
Revelation 4-5: We get a glimpse of heaven and see the worship of the One “who sits on the throne.” The cry goes out, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” No one in all of heaven and earth was found worthy to open the scroll until the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, stood in the midst of the throne.
Revelation 6: In chapter 6 the Lamb loosed the seals, revealing the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the souls under the altar and the heavens departing like a scroll.
Revelation 7: Chapter seven describes the sealing of the 144,000 to protect them from the calamities to come. The later part of the chapter describes those that have come out of great tribulation. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).
Revelation 8-11: Five of the first six trumpets reveal great catastrophes upon the nations, but the people still do not repent. The sounding of the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:15 signals the time when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of Jesus Christ. This includes the Battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. The Bible states that at this time men will finally repent and give glory to God. This seventh trumpet is the “last trump” referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:52.
Revelation 12: This chapter describes a woman with twelve stars about her head. The woman is depicted in the throes of childbirth. The dragon, Satan, stands before the woman to devour the child as soon as he is born. The woman is Israel, and the twelve stars symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel. The child is Jesus. Herod the Great did attempt to kill Jesus just as soon as He was born; however, he failed. The narrative of Revelation 12 then jumps 2,000 years. Satan wages war against the forces of God in heaven but is defeated. Satan is cast out of heaven with his angels and confined to the earth. The dragon then wages war against Israel, but Israel is protected by the wings of a great eagle. A beast rises from the sea, a confederation of world empires led by the Antichrist. Another beast comes out of the earth, appearing as a lamb, but speaking like the devil. This second beast, the False Prophet, deceives the people of the earth influencing them to worship the Antichrist.
Revelation 13: This chapter depicts the Antichrist and his one-world government. It also describes the Antichrist’s religious partner, the False Prophet. In the latter part of the chapter, the economic system of the endtime, called the “mark of the beast” is described.
Revelation 14: The 144,000 of Revelation 14 are redeemed, undefiled, blameless and protected by God. Revelation 14:8 announces that Babylon the Great has fallen because it made all the world commit spiritual adultery. Chapter 14 tells of the reaping of the harvest of the earth—the rapture of the church. Then there is another harvest, the “reaping of the vine of the earth,” to be thrown into the winepress of the wrath of God. This speaks of the Battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 15: Revelation 15 introduces the seven angels having the seven last plagues. It states that in these plagues “is filled up the wrath of God.”
Revelation 16: This chapter records the pouring out of the final seven plagues (the vials). Verses 12-16 record the preparations for the Battle of Armageddon. The seventh vial is the same as the sixth and seventh seal and the seventh trumpet.
Revelation 17-18: Revelation 16:16-19 introduces Armageddon and the judgment of the false religious system called Mystery Babylon. God so hates false religion that He spends chapters 17 and 18 on the judgment “the great whore.” God always uses a woman to symbolize a church. He uses a virgin to symbolize His true church, and a harlot to symbolize the false compromised church of the endtime.
Revelation 19: After spending two chapters on the judgment against the false church, God proceeds to describe His marriage to the true church. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” After the marriage, Jesus proceeds to the earth to fight the Battle of Armageddon and to set up His kingdom.
Revelation 20: After Armageddon, Satan is bound for the next 1,000 years. After the thousand-year period has ended, Satan will be released to deceive the nations again. Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire, to be tormented forever. The books are opened for the final judgment, and all are judged according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:12) Those whose names are not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire, where Satan and his angels are in eternal torment. The only way to get your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life is to be born again, as depicted in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Revelation 21: John states that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. He is told that the New Jerusalem is the bride, the Lamb’s wife. The New Jerusalem is then described in great detail.
Revelation 22: This final chapter of Revelation summarizes the goal of the entire book. It describes the river of life and the tree of life that will be in the New Jerusalem. It also states that those who hear the sayings of the book of Revelation will be blessed. A dual warning is given. If any person adds to the things written in the book of Revelation, God will add to that person the plagues that are written in the book. If anyone takes away from the book of Revelation, God will take away his name from the book of life. Finally, in this concluding chapter, God emphasizes the central message of the book by saying three times, “Behold, I come quickly.”
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.:)
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