Revelation: Chapters 2 and 3 Timelines


The vision in Revelation 1 reveals the Lord’s nature, and Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 reveal how the Lord relates to each church through His nature. The seven candle sticks represent the character and challenges faced by each church type from the day of of the Lord's resurrection, John 20:21, to the snatching away (rapture) of the New Testament church, then on in time through the tribulation until the Lord's return to sit on His throne in His glory, Matthew 25:31. All of the seven churches are contemporary with one another at the writing of these letters, that John received and passed on to the churches. These Jewish churches existed at the time of John, and will be reconstituted after the snatching away (rapture) of the New Testament church. Their close proximity geographically in the early church age and before the beginning of the tribulation represents the close-knit properties of the churches. The Lord is speaking to several layers in the church, the church as a whole throughout its time, to each individual church congregation, and to each believer and non-believer within a church congregation.

The next chart is a summary of what the Lord said 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 Jewish churches in the church age, and the tribulation churches fall within the category of "the things that are." After the discussion of the churches, the focus shifts to the throne room of God, using the term, "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.

In addition, the following table that summarizes all that the Lord said to the seven churches, reveals a pattern of how He chooses to relate to His churches, what He likes, what He condemns, and what He wants His churches to change to be conformed to Him and His ways.

The 2nd the 3rd Chapters of Revelation are prophetic in that they provide the information these tribulation churches need in preparation for the tribulation they will live through. There are other prophecies in the Old Testament that have yet to be fulfilled that have no direct connection to any of the events outlined in the book of Revelation. The following chart provides a glimpse of those other prophetic events and when they might have their fulfillment. The top yellow area deals with events concerning the saints in heaven, starting with the "day of the Lord" for the New Testament church. Below the yellow box is a box that transitions from a rose color to blue, signifying the time period after the snatching away (rapture) of the New Testament church, when there will likely be a time gap until the beginning of the tribulation. As indicated in the text at the bottom of that rose-to-blue box, these five prophetic events appear to be independent of each other. One event listed in order with the other events, is not actually dependent on any of the other events happening first. However, the order of the listing on this chart is not capricious, but is put in an order that is thought may happen. They may be fulfilled before the snatching away (rapture) of the New Testament church, or afterwards. There is just not enough information revealed that can definitively say what the order will be or when the prophetic fulfillment will occur. But the red vertical line depicting the beginning of the tribulation is used to separate the unfulfilled prophetic events from those written of in the Book of Revelation.