Interpretations: The Basic Structure of the Book of Revelation
The timelines used on this site are intended to aid the reader in understanding the order and extent of Biblical prophecies in context with other concurrent prophetic events that are presented throughout the Bible. These timelines are general in nature and every effort has been made to assure their accurate depiction of the prophetic passages. However, there are instances when attempting to be precise is unattainable with the drawing tools that are available, and precision is sacrificed to avoid clutter on the charts in favor of ataining clarity and general understanding of the events being described. These limitations are noted as they occur within this site. These are generalized timelines, so 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 themselves, and evaluate the content of this site or any other source against what the Word of God says.
The next graphic provides a simplistic breakdown of the book of Revelation. The timeline begins with the cross, when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and died for our sins according to scripture, was buried, and rose from the dead according to scripture, 1Corinthians 15:1-4. This is the singular event that divides the two testaments, the old and the new,. The beginning of the church age is illustrated by the red arrow on the graphic beginning with Pentecost and ending with the rapture of the church. The next main section of the timeline covers the seven years of tribulation, followed the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, then eternity future.
The following base timeline illustrates these basic sections. 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 2:36-45. The colors on the bar, starting with gold and transitioning to iron, is used to draw a attention to the transition between the changes in Gentile kingdoms to the reader. However, a precise rendering of this transition would show an iron color during the age of the cross, fade to clear with the passing of the Roman empire, than become an iron color spotted with earth tones to represent the reformed, weakened, Roman empire, Daniel 2:40-43, prior to and during the tribulation period. This was not shown exactly only because of the limitations of the software package used to create the graphic and for the need to not sacrifice clarity in the timelines for the sake of precision. The first three colors of King Nebuchadnezzar's image were gold (representing King Nebuchadnezzar's era), silver (representing the time of the Medes and Persians), and brass (representing the era of Greece's rule). All three of these kingdoms have already passed. Based on Daniel, this horizontal bar represents the age of the gentiles, which will last until the Lord returns, Luke 21:20-24, Revelation 19:1-21. At that time He will establish His kingdom on earth, to rule with an iron scepter, and to reign for 1,000 years, or a millennium, 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, which rejected the revelation of Jesus Christ by the Father, are cast forever into the lake of fire. This event is shown with a green arrow.
Second, there are segments of time that represent the Gentile age. From left to right, there is the identification of the church age shown in a red horizontal bar, with 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 black 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 where the Lord, represented as the slain lamb who then opens the first of seven seals. The opening of the first seal reveals 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, and is broken into two 3 ½ year time periods. The dramatic separation of the two periods of time is a result of the indwelling of Satan in the Antichrist, Revelation 13:1-18. Finally, 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. Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the multi-metallic image shows that represents the gentile age is shattered into dust by a stone that is cut without hands and the gentile eara is never remembered again, Daniel 2:34-35, Daniel 2:44-45. The battle of Armageddon occurs when the Lord will return to this earth with all of His saints to conquer His enemies and establish His kingdom, Revelation 19:1-21.
Fourth, there is a season of time when Satan is allowed to roam the earth again following the millennial reign of Christ. During that time, he will seduce an innumerable multitude to rebel against Christ. God will end all rebellion, cast Satan into the lake of fire and setup His great white thrown judgment, Revelation 20:11-14. This event will separate the just from the unjust for eternity. Afterward, the remaining two chapters in the book of Revelation describe some aspects of eternity future is shown in the horizontal blue-green arrow, Revelation 21:1-27 and Revelation 22:1-21.
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 in a sequential order. In light of this site’s view of prophetic plan for Israel, and the mystery program the Lord revealed to Paul, how to divide the book of Revelation, specifically the first three chapters, has been revised. Unlike the past versions of this site, it is now taught that Revelation chapters 1-3 are addressed directly to the churches that will quickly spring up in the world, following the snatching away of the church to meet the Lord in the clouds and be with Him for evermore. Nevertheless, all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, 2Timothy 3:16. Therefore, Revelation 1-3 is still applicable to the church today, to the Body-of-Christ since the book of Revelation was revealed to John.
As a result, the yellow rectangle in the graphic below, is dark yellow over the new churches that will appear after the rapture, and light yellow over the early church age until the rapture. The order of the rapture of the church, which is discussed in 1Corinthians 15:51-58 and in 1Thessalonians 4:13-17 and in various sections on this site that describe the rapture and resurrection of those in Christ.
Revelation chapters 4-19 describe the seven years of tribulation, and ending with the battle of Armageddon when the Lord returns to the earth. Revelation 20:1-15 represents the Lord's millennial reign, and Revelation 21:1-27 and Revelation 22:1-21 cover eternity future after all sin and unrighteousness have been judged.