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site map:  home >  scripture > Revelation > Revelation: Chapter 1

Revelation: Chapter 1 Timelines

The timelines used on this site are intended to aid the reader in understanding the order, extent, and concurrent events that are presented in the many prophetic passages in the Bible.  The reader is encouraged to see the webpage on this site to see the explaination of the timelines used on this site.  The following contains a portion of that webpage.

The timelines used in this website are general in nature and every effort has been made to assure their accurate depiction of the prophetic passages.  However, there are instances where attempting to be precise is unattainable with the tools available and due to the rise of clutter to the charts rather than clarity because of too much detail.  These limitations are noted as they occur within this site.  Since these are generalized timelines, in many cases, intervals of time along the horizontal do not portray equal intervals of time, only the relative occurrence of one event with another.  In all cases, it is incumbent upon the reader to search the scriptures out for him or herself, and evaluate the content of this site or any other source against what the Word of God says.

As with all timelines, the following graphic begins with a very simple horizontal bar. The book of Daniel helps in understanding prophecy in the Bible for many reasons.  First, the Lord revealed to Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar, and to all peoples, His plan for the ages.  Beginning with Daniel 1, Daniel as a young man is carried away with other well-learned and skilled men and women away from Jerusalem to Babylon.  After some years of training, Daniel and his fellow Jews, and friends, completed their training and were matriculated within the Babylonian system of advisors to the king.  God placed them where they would have influence access to spread the knowledge of God and His ways across the gentile nations.  It is speculated that the wise men that journeyed to worship the young Jesus after His birth, were aware of the prophecies because as Magi, they would have been aware of the prophecies that Daniel imparted to that elite group centuries earlier.  Second, Daniel 2 provides tremendous revelations concerning major future kingdoms that did not exist at the time the prophesy was revealed to Daniel by the Lord.  These were and are kingdoms that would follow Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom.  Why were there only four kingdoms identified in this prophesy?  Why was the revealed prophetic timeline truncated?  The introduction of God's plan for the ages began with King Nebuchadnezzar's military conquests against Judah and Jerusalem, and not with Assyria, Egypt, or other great historical kingdoms that had influence and conquests against Israel.  This brings into focus the third great reason why the Book of Daniel is important as a key in understanding prophecy. Though the northern tribes had already been taken captive by the Assyrians much earlier than Nebuchadnezzar's conquest against Judah, the keys to understanding and interpreting prophetic passages in scriptures is tied to the people of Israel, Zechariah 2:8-9, and the land God covenanted to them, Genesis 15:18-21, Jerusalem, Jeremiah 3:17-18, and the temple, 2Chronicles 7:16.  Of course there were other great world dynasties, such as in China, or dynasties on other continents in the world that are not considered in the timeline, since they neither trampled underfoot, nor either controlled or significantly influenced the affairs in Jerusalem.  To elaborate further that Jerusalem as a key in understanding prophecy, it is brought out in the prophetic timeline revealed to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, Daniel 9:21-25, in which the 70 prophetic weeks (490 years, see this discussion in this site on Daniel 9) begins with the order to restore and build Jerusalem, not just the temple.  As shown in Daniel 2:36-38, the era of the Gentiles began with the three military campaigns of King Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, and will end with the return of Jesus Christ to establish His millennial kingdom in Jerusalem, as shown in Revelation 19:11-21 with the Lord's return and in Revelation 20, which is the Lord's reign on earth.  

The following graphic builds upon the basic timeline above, and illustrates critical historical events and prophetic events yet to occur relative to the church age.  At the date of this writing we are still in the church age, and serves as a reference point to much of what is written in this website.  As shown in the Lord's first earthly ministry, He had said that Jerusalem would continue to be trodden down by the Gentiles until their time was fulfilled, which again is the end of the seven years of tribulation, which is Armageddon.  This is the time of the Lord's return for His second advent, but at that time it will not be as a humble servant as the first time, but as King of kings and Lord of lords.  This is shown by the solid red arrow from left to right between the yellow oval with the scriptural reference to Luke 21:20-23, and the quotation of the scripture that appears in the yellow box.  The arrow head indicates the fulfillment of the Gentile age.

To assist with a broad understanding of how the book of Revelation fits within this timeline construct, the following graphic provides four basic timeframes that the book may be divided logically in a sequential order.  Revelation chapters 1-3 cover the first public ministry of Jesus Christ with His disciples, and then the church age, which continues as of this writing.  The church age will end with the rapture of the church when she will meet the Lord in the clouds in the sky.  There is order to the rapture of the church, which is discussed in 1Corinthians 15:51-58 and in 1Thessalonians 4:13-17.   After the resurrection of the dead, those that are alive will have changed bodies that are eternal bodies.  Revelation chapters 4-19 cover the time that cover the seven years of tribulation, ending with the battle of Armageddon, and the Lord's return.  Revelation 20 covers the Lord's millennial reign, and Revelation 21 and Revelation 22 cover eternity future after all sin and unrighteousness have been dealt with permanently.

The following two graphics are an extension of the timelines above, but they have been simplified to remove the time references, and provide a focused view of the events within the New Testament era, from the cross through to eternity future. For Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 the timeline is further stretched to highlight the seven churches and their era, which begins at the day of Pentecost, and ends with the rapture of the church.  To provide a context, the following is a base timeline for Revelation and is explained in the section of this site describing the basic structure of Revelation.  This timeline illustrates some basic sections in the book of Revelation.  

First is the main horizontal bar that changes color from gold to an iron color, which are similar colors as revealed to Daniel by God, in Daniel 2.  The colors on the bar, starting with gold and transitioning to iron (or gray), is only used to draw that distinction to the reader.  However, a precise rendering would show an iron color during the age of the cross, fading to clear with the passing of the Roman empire, then become an iron color spotted with earth tones to represent the reformed Roman empire during the tribulation period and slightly before. The first three colors of gold, represents King Nebuchadnezzar's era, and silver, represents the time of the Medes and Persians, and the brass represents the era of Greece's rule, which have already passed on the pages of time. Based on Daniel, this horizontal bar represents the age of the Gentiles, which will last until the Lord returns, Revelation 19.  At that time He will establish His kingdom on earth, Revelation 20, rule with an iron scepter, Psalms 2:9, and to reign for a 1,000 years, or a millennium, Revelation 20:6, which is represented by the blue arrow.  Thereafter, will be the beginning of future eternity, when those who were justified by their faith in Jesus Christ, will be with Him and in the presence of the Father and Holy Spirit for eternity. The unjust, who rejected the revelation of Jesus Christ by the Father, are cast forever into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15.  This event is shown with a green arrow.

Second, there are the segments along the time of the Gentile age that identify significant events since the Lordís first advent.  From left to right, there is the identification of the church age shown in a red horizontal bar, and some scriptural references.  The church age ends with the rapture of the church, which is indicated by the vertical red arrow.  A span of time is shown following the rapture of the church to the next vertical line, which indicates the beginning of the tribulation.  The tribulation does not begin with the rapture of the church, rather with the signing of the seven year covenant between Israel and the government whom the Antichrist represents, Daniel 9:27.  That event will occur simultaneously with the event in heaven with the Lord, represented as the slain Lamb, as He opens the first seal of seven, to reveal the man with a crown on a white horse, Revelation 6:1-2.  This event is further highlighted with the yellow box at the top of the graph, with some scriptural references.  The seven years of tribulation follows, which is also broken into two 3 1/2 year periods.  The event that dramatically separates the two periods of time is the indwelling of Satan in the Antichrist, Revelation 13.  There is a sudden and catastrophic end to the tribulation period which is Armageddon.

Third, the catastrophic change on earth is shown in the horizontal bar with the abrupt change to a blue arrow labeled Millennium.  The event separating the gentile age with the millennium is vertical line labeled tribulation end, with a yellow box at the bottom of the graphic labeled Armageddon, with some scriptural references.  It is at the time of the battle of Armageddon when the Lord will return to this earth with all of His saints to conquer His enemies and establish His kingdom, Revelation 19.  

Fourth, there is a season of time when Satan is allowed to roam the earth again following the first 1,000 year reign of Christ's eternal reign.  During that time Satan will seduce an innumerable multitude of people alive during the millennial reign of Christ to rebel against Him and His kingdom.  God will end all rebellion with fire, cast Satan into the lake of fire and setup His great white thrown judgment, Revelation 20.  This event will separate the just from the unjust for eternity, Revelation 21 and Revelation 22.  Thereafter, eternity future is shown in the horizontal blue-green arrow.

The next chart is a summary of the words of the Lord to John, instructing him to write the things that he has seen, the things that are, and the things that shall be, Revelation 1:19.  As can be seen below, the church age falls within the category of "the things that are."  The rapture of the church falls under the term used by the Lord, "hereafter" as translated in the King James Version (KJV).  Again, the difference between this chart and the previous one is the expansion of the timeline for the period covering the church age.  This is done for purely chartmanship, and to enable the description of the churches.

Finally, this timeline provides the view of the church age with the list of the seven churches.  There is also the boundary of time illustrated that shows the era of the church age.  The church began with Pentecost, though some take it back earlier to when the Lord was raised from the dead.  The church age will then end with the rapture of the church.  Anyone alive at this great event, the rapture, and are left behind will go through the seven years of tribulation.  The tribulation will be the most horrific time that the world will have ever experienced.  Those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and profess His name during the tribulation will be part of the group that has been termed "the tribulation saints."  At the bottom half of the chart is a horizontal double arrow.  This is to indicate the kingdom of God, which during the church age is spiritual, but with the return of the Lord with all His saints, Revelation 19, His kingdom will be established physically on this earth forever.  It will have no end.

Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014