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Book of Revelation; Confused Theologians 

Revelation 1:19 NASB

19 Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.

Perhaps no other book in all the Bible is more feared, least understood and misused by the theologians. We are warned in Chapter 22:18-19 not to mishandle the prophecy of the book, but unfortunately some do not heed that warning and write and teach it based on their opinions rather than from careful exegesis. 

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. (NIV). 

This warning is not to be taken lightly because it involves being eternally damned to the Lake of Fire - the meaning of taking away that person's share in the Tree of Life and the Holy City, which is the New Jerusalem - the home of the saints throughout eternity. 

Isaiah says this about how important the Word of God is (All of it):

Isaiah 66:2b  NIV

Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, 
 and who tremble at my word.

How many Christian's including the devout Spirit-filled ones, actually have so much respect for the Word of God that they tremble at it for fear of misusing or mishandling it.  The Hebrew meaning of tremble means to buckle at the knees. 

One of the principal reasons the Book of Revelation is difficult to understand apart from the symbolism (it is written in code language and Holy Spirit revelation is mandatory to understanding it) is that many have been taught by the theologians (primarily the traditional dispensationalists [pretribers] it is written in chronological order, that is, the first part of the book (chapters 1-3) deal with the Churches or the Church Age to be followed immediately in Chapter 4 by the rapture of the Church to heaven and the ensuing activity around the throne (chapters 4-5); then also immediately follows in chapters 6-18 the three judgments of the Great Tribulation - the Seals, the Trumpets, and the Bowls each one following the other in succession, meaning all 7 Seals must be completed before the 7 Trumpets begin and then they must be completed before the 7 Bowls can commence.  The last section, Chapters 19-22 deals with the coming of the Lord at Armageddon; the rewarding of the overcoming saints; the judgment upon the Beast, False Prophet and Satan and all who take the Mark of the Beast; the judgment of the Harlot and Mystery Babylon; the Great White Throne Judgment and last the eternal state - the New Jerusalem coming down upon the new earth. According to the dispensationalists, the final chapters, 19-22 also are in chronological order and immediately follow the events of chapter 18. 

They base this on the alleged outline in Revelation 1:19 above. However that Scripture though truly an outline does not imply or teach a chronological order of Revelation which is easily proved. What John was saying is that he saw what was going on with the Churches throughout the expanse of Christendom and especially the end-time. Then he saw a time of great tribulation lasting 3 1/2 years (the judgments of Revelation only deal with last half of the tribulation period, not the entire 7 years - we know this from the terminology - a time, times and half a time, 42 months and 1260 days). See Revelation 1
1:2-3; 12:6,14;  13:5. 

There is a phrase in the book of Revelation that few pay attention to and it is - "after these things" which is seen in chapters 4:1; 7:1, 7:9; 9:12; 15:5; 18:1; 19:1 and 20:3. John's reality was the first Century A.D. and the world at that time. However, he was transported in the Spirit to see things in the distance future - things he did not understand, but wrote them down in First Century terminology.  When he used the phrase - After these things, he was telling us what he was seeing and writing down was more snapshots of the end-time rather than a chronological account.  In essence, he said, I saw these things, then afterward I saw other things. If this is kept in mind as one reads and studies the Book of Revelation, the book would make a lot more sense.

If I may use a crude illustration to explain John's dilemma, an example from WWII may help our understanding. There were many fronts to WWII including the European and Pacific campaigns and within those major fronts many more sub-fronts. Historians and photographers were writing and taking pictures of the war that gave us an overall picture of the conflict however piece-meal. They were actually giving us snapshots of the war based upon their locale. Some were writing and photographing the war with the Japanese in the Pacific realm while others were recording the war in Europe against Hitler and the Nazi's. They were all true accounts, but not necessarily a chronological account of the great conflict. Nevertheless, their accounts taken in total provided an accurate account of what took place.  The Book of Revelation is the much like that. John saw many things, but not in a chronological order and he wrote them down for our benefit.  

Earlier I said I can prove Revelation is not written in chronological order. For example the 6th Seal is the time of the posttrib Day of the Lord, so if the book is a chronological sequence, then nothing should follow after the 6th Seal (6:12-17) and Chapter 7 is post great tribulation for the martyrs have come out of the great tribulation and are before the throne of God in heaven. 

When the 7th Seal is opened, the 7 Trumpets began to sound, which are events of the Great Tribulation, yet the 6th Seal indicates the Trumpets have already occurred and the Day of the Lord has arrived evidenced by cosmic darkness - things I cover in great detail in my DOTL book (See also Matthew 24:29-31 where Jesus' return is accompanied by the same cosmic darkness).  When the 7th Trumpet sounds, the Mystery plan of God is finished, yet there are 7 more judgments to commence upon the earth - the Bowls of wrath in which the full wrath of God is poured out upon mankind. 

Then in Chapters 11-15 (the interlude chapters) meaning they do not advance the narrative, but give added details of things taking place within the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls. In Chapter 16, the narrative picks up again and the seven angels pour out the Bowls of wrath upon Satan's kingdom and throne as well as those who took the Mark of the Beast  and worshiped the Beast - the devil and the Antichrist.  The Bowls have to do with the posttrib Day of the Lord for that is the time of the great wrath of God to which believers are not appointed. See I Thessalonians 5:9. 

Finally Chapters 17 and 18 give the revelation of Mystery Babylon and its destruction in one day and one hour. During this time is when the ten-horned New World Order destroys the Harlot religion and give their power to the devil and the Antichrist who have claimed Deity of the earth and the heavens. This is the abomination that makes desolate for it is a total usurpation of the throne of God, which He is not going to allow. Jesus roars out of heaven with great power and glory; the devil is captured and put in chains in the bottomless pit for 1000 years; the Antichrist and False Prophet are cast ALIVE into the Lake of Fire along with all who took the Mark of the Beast. Soon thereafter, Jesus returns physically with the posttrib resurrected/raptured saints to the earth to set up His glorious kingdom and thousand-year reign. 

This is a summary of the Book of Revelation and if you will keep this in mind (that it is not written in chronological order) when reading and studying it, you will not be confused about the narrative of the text and its several side streets or interruptions. 

May the Holy Spirit give you insight into this marvelous book which I have read and studied for 46 years and each time I do I tremble!  

Allen 

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Addendum To Daily Bread Article on the Book of Revelation

One thing I forgot to mention is the reason traditional dispensationalists (pretrib) teach the Book of Revelation is written in chronological order is to protect their doctrine of the Pretrib Rapture, for if Revelation is not written in chronological order, but rather provides snapshots of the major events taking place within the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls, then their theory fails the test of Sola Scriptura - a phrase I use in my Day of the Lord book in which I refute every tenet of Pretribulationism as bogus and misleading. 

If anyone cares to read the history of how the pretrib doctrine was introduced to the Christian Church in the 18th Century, it is not difficult to see how Satan has used it to deceive the saints so they will not be prepared for what is coming upon the world and the end-time Church.  Seventeen centuries of Church history knew nothing about a pretrib rapture - a careful reading of the Church fathers proves they did not believe in it and did not teach it. 

The Apostles Paul, Peter, John, James and the gospel writers - Matthew, Mark and Luke did not write about a pretrib rapture even though the Pretrib theologians "force it" into their writings. The Book of Revelation does not teach a pretrib rapture such as Revelation 4:1 and 3:10. If you want to read a meaty rebuttal of pretribulationism, then you should read my book, The Day of the Lord, The Key To Understanding End-Time Prophecy - A Critical Examination of Pretribulationism.

Unfortunately, my publisher, Tate Publishing, went out of business in April 2017 so the book is out of print. However, I have about 30 or 40 copies leftover from book signing events.  If you would like a copy, make a $20.00 donation to the BWV using the donation button on this website and I will mail you a copy and pay the shipping costs. The book will be mailed the day the donation is made. 

It is not an easy read such as a novel, but requires serious and thoughtful study with your Bible in hand.  However, there is a lot of meat in it and if you take the time to read the whole book from cover to cover without skipping around and reading favorite chapters, you will not be deceived by all the end-time prophecy teachings, particularly the internet which has an abundance of date-setters and extra-biblical prophecy buffs. 

One such prediction expert has everything figured out down to the very day and almost hour for the signs of the coming tribulation (September 22/23, 2017) and the beginning (first day) of the seven-year tribulation - October 5, 2017. He also says he knows the exact day of the mid-point and the committing of the abomination of desolation, the very day of the ending of the tribulation and the very day of the beginning and ending of the posttrib Day of Lord, which he believes last a full solar year - 365 days. Last, he has figured out the very day the Lord Jesus sets his feet back on planet earth to establish His Kingdom. The reason I did not give his dates for these events is that if he is wrong about the beginning of the tribulation on October 5, 2017 then all of his other predictions will be bogus as well. 

My personal opinion is that he will join many other false prophets that set precise dates against the clear words of Jesus that no one can know the EXACT time of His return. However, when the tribulation actually begins then we will know for sure when the mid-point abomination of desolation will occur as well as the time the tribulation ends. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:29 the posttrib Day of the Lord would begin IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION. The real rapture of the saints occurs at the very beginning of the DOTL - right before the Bowls of Wrath begin to be poured out upon the unbelievers and Satan's kingdom. Date setters would do well to wait until the tribulation begins to make predictions of things to come within that period.