“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).
What Is the Book of Revelation About?
The book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. (See Revelation 1:1.) At His first coming, His glory was veiled. Now, Revelation shows Christ coming as the sovereign “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (See Revelation 19:16.)
“…To show His servants—things which must shortly take place.” (See Revelation 1:1.) Servant is translated from the Greek douloi, meaning “bondslave”—a slave who was set free, but willingly went back to his master. Are you a bondslave to Jesus Christ? If not, you cannot understand Revelation.
“Blessed is he who reads…” (Revelation 1:3a) The blessing from understanding Bible prophecy is that you understand history, and can make sense of your suffering.
“…For the time is near” (Revelation 1:3b). Was John wrong 2,000 years ago? No—the time is always at hand. It may not be immediate, but it is always imminent. (See 1 Peter 4:7, 1 John 2:18.) The Last Days began when Christ ascended.
An Outline of the Book of Revelation
The Apostle John was exiled on the island of Patmos for preaching Christ’s gospel. There, God gave him this commission: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (Revelation 1:19).
“The things you have seen” — Revelation 1
John saw the glorified Christ. “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14).
“The things which are” — Revelation 2-3
The seven churches mentioned represent all churches until the second coming of Christ. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (See Revelation 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22.)
“The things which will take place after this” — Revelation 4-22
Event #1: The Rapture of the Church
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Event #2: Tribulation
Then the Antichrist, the beast, will come. (See Revelation 13:1-2.) You will not be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. (See Revelation 13:16-17.) People will say to the mountains, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” (Revelation 6:15-16). Jesus is the merciful Lamb, but He is also the God of wrath and justice.
Event #3: Armageddon
Demons will draw the kings of the earth together to battle, “to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16b). It will look as if Israel will finally be destroyed.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet…These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:11,20).
Event #4: The Glorification of Christ
“Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4b).
Event #5: The Final Judgement
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened…And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12a,15).
Event #6: Eternity
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:7-8).
This is the last prayer in the Bible: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20, emphasis added).