The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Chronology
Before we study the trees, it sometimes helps to fly over the forest.
Scene 1: Patmos, A.D. 95. John is caught up in the Spirit and shown a vision of the second coming of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1). John is then visited by the glorified Christ, who gives John personalized messages for the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3).
Scene 2: Heaven, A.D. 95. John is invited to the throne room of heaven, where he’s taken back in time to A.D. 30 and shown God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, 24 redeemed humans, and four mighty cherubim (Rev. 4). John weeps when no one is found worthy to open a seven-sealed scroll, representing the ownership of humanity (Rev. 5). Given birth by a woman, Christ defeats Satan in a “war in heaven” (see Rev. 12:7), enters the throne room, and takes the scroll (Rev. 5), and unleashes the Holy Spirit on earth at Pentecost (John 7:39; Acts 2). Cast out of heaven, Satan sets his sights on the woman and her offspring: those who obey God’s commandments and testify of Jesus (Rev. 12:17).
Scene 3: Earth, A.D. 30 to the last days. Christ opens the seven seals: a mixed history of Christianity from A.D. 30 to the Second Coming (Rev. 6-7). A blasphemous “beast out of the sea” steals worship from Christ and is empowered by a deceptive “beast out of the earth” (see Rev. 13). Meanwhile, with the trumpet warnings of judgment (Rev. 8-9), Christ calls the world to turn to Him. An angel hands John a little scroll and tells him to “prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings” (Rev. 10:11).
Those who accepted Christ are not judged by their works; their names are written in the book of life.
Scene 4: Earth’s last days. In response to the beasts from the sea and earth, Christ sends three angels with three end-time messages: (1) worship God, (2) Babylon has fallen, (3) remain faithful (Rev. 14). In contrast to the woman in the desert (Rev. 12:4-6), John is shown a scarlet woman and is “greatly astonished" (Rev. 17:6). The name on her forehead says it all: “Babylon the Great.” Christ calls His people to “come out of her” (Rev. 18:4).
Scene 5: Earth’s last hours. The seventh angel sounds his trumpet (Rev. 11:15), God’s temple is opened (verse 19), and God unleashes the seven final plagues, which, like Egypt’s plagues, harm only unbelievers (Rev. 15-16).
Scene 6: Heaven. God’s people celebrate the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19), while Satan is bound for 1,000 years on earth (Rev. 20). At the great white throne, books are opened. Those who didn’t accept Christ are judged by their works. Those who accepted Christ are not judged by their works; their names are written in the book of life (Rev. 20).
Scene 7: The new earth. God and His people return to the earth made new (Rev. 21-22). The New Jerusalem is 1,400 miles long, wide, and high: a perfect cube, like the Most Holy Place. Those who wash their robes “have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14). “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon’ ” (verse 20).
Andy Nash (email@example.com) is an author and professor. He leads study tours to Israel every summer.