The book of Revelation was dictated by God, through Jesus Christ, by sending an angel to John, who wrote it down and sent the completed book to seven churches. See 1:1 & 4. In this outline, we will take to heart the words "...Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (4:1).
Note: Throughout the Bible, and especially throughout the book of Revelation, similar events and similar sequences of events happen over an over again. Some of our surroundings and technology may have changed. But human nature has not changed a great deal over the last six thousand years! As a result, humans often react in similar ways today as they did thousands of years ago when confronted with similar situations.
We will look at the book of Revelation (especially the words in chapters 6 through 19) as events happening during the transition to a new era. If (when) we see the events of chapter 6 happen in relatively rapid succession, it is time...
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Revelation is full of symbols that are usually related to other parts of the Bible. These symbols may have specific meaning to specific groups of people, in specific places, at specific periods of time. The symbols may also have different meanings depending upon time, place and knowledge of the reader. Since the book of Revelation is based on the rest of the Bible, it is important to have read the rest of the Bible -- both the Old and New Testaments.
Theologians interpret the Book of Revelation in a number of different ways. Some theologians view the book of Revelation as outlining the whole course of history. And there is a great deal of evidence to support such a theory!
Other theologians view the book of Revelation as having only spiritual significance - the events, etc. outlined in the book are used only to get the book past the jailers who were holding the author. They theorize that the readers would know the meaning of the various symbols and understand the message - which is applicable to all times and all places. The jailers, having a different background, would not understand the symbols and view it as just the ramblings of a prisoner who had gone out of his mind.
When viewed as a transition to a new era, visualize the book of Revelation as nearly an hour long documentary that God showed John. Approximately 12 minutes were spent setting the stage prior to chapter 6. Then each seal was opened with a loud voice and visual glimpses of what was happening on earth at the time; with nearly three-quarters of a minute spent on each seal. Then about a half hour was spent showing John what was happening in heaven; some of which John reveals in chapters 7, 10, 14, etc. (some, perhaps most, was sealed 10:4). Followed by approximately 10 minutes of visuals showing events on earth accompanied by trumpet blasts, plagues, bowls, etc. along with quick glimpses of what is going on in heaven at the same time. The documentary ends with the vision of a New Jerusalem (a new city of peace) in chapters 21 and 22! Jesus left in a cloud (Acts 1:11) and will return with flashes of lightning in the clouds--visible to everyone (Matthew 24:27, 30 and Revelation 1:7). Note Acts 2:17++. Be careful...