*Just a heads up – I have a word doc attached with this info that may be easier to read at the bottom of the post*
The book of Revelation reveals the glory of Jesus (Rev 1:1) and His plan to transition the earth to the age to come. He will not do this without the deep involvement of His people (the Church, His Bride).
This is our story and it is worth making the effort to understand it. Revelation isn’t hard to understand; it was written for uneducated peasants. But, it does require time and study to grasp what is written in the book.
The main theme of Revelation is Jesus’ return to earth to rule all the nations, but evil governments will resist this. His end-time battle plan is to physically destroy all the evil governments on earth by releasing His judgments on them during the Tribulation (Rev 6-19). The judgments in Revelation aren’t released on the Church; they are released through the Church on the kingdom of the Antichrist.
The main reason that people do not read the book of Revelation is that they have a wrong paradigm of both the book and the Tribulation and do not understand its structure and symbols.
Two points often overlooked: first, Jesus does not go away with us but comes to stay. There is no such thing as the end of the world. Second, the heavenly and earthly realms come together (Eph. 1:10). The natural realm is not suspended but enhanced by the power of the resurrection.
With that background in mind, let’s take a look into Revelation.
The structure of Revelation consists of 4 parts:
- John’s Calling to prophesy about the end times (Rev. 1);
- Jesus gives 7 Letters to the 7 Churches (Rev 2-3);
- Jesus takes the Scroll (Rev 4-5);
- The Battle Plan of Jesus (Rev 6-22).
Part 4, the Battle Plan, includes the Great Tribulation judgments against the Antichrist. The judgments occur in 21 events – the 7 seals, trumpets, and bowls. There are 5 Chronological Sections that unfold in sequential order and 5 Angelic (or parenthetical) Sections to help us understand that section.
See the below attached Word document for a breakdown of those sections.
Finally, the symbols. There are 7 main symbols in the book of Revelation. Here they are and what they mean:
- Dragon – Symbolic of satan;
- 1st Beast – Symbolic of the Antichrist;
- Another beast – Symbolic of the False Prophet and called ‘another beast’ just once;
- 7 Heads – 7 Empires from history that persecuted Israel: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the revived-Roman Empire;
- 10 Horns – Represents a 10-nation confederation that serves the Antichrist;
- Harlot Babylon – A worldwide, demonically inspired religious and economic system based in the re-built city of Babylon which is near present-day Baghdad, Iraq;
- Woman with Male Child (Jesus) – Symbolic of the faithful remnant of Israel throughout history.
How do we know the meaning of the symbols? Because they are explained in the book! 😉
Well, there you have it. The outline and main symbols of the book of Revelation.
*Disclosure: I am still figuring this stuff out myself! Much of it still overwhelms me and I have many questions of my own.
But, I do not want to be caught ‘without oil’ as Jesus put in his parable in Matthew 25:1-13. Revelation is a book of the Bible – it was not written so that only scholars or those with Ph.D’s can understand and interpret it; the Bible was mostly written for those who couldn’t read. Hence, all of the pictures.
What would be easier for you to remember: An apple or an ugly beast coming from the sea with 10 horns and 7 heads? The latter, of course, and there you have your reasoning for all the weird pictures in the book.
Hopefully, this simple outline will assist you in your studies as it has aided me. I have attached a Word document here in case you would like to print this information out.