Understanding Revelation


IAUA End Time Ministry

Preparing for the End of Time

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  • Detailed Examination

    The book of Revelation is filled with nothing but prophecies. These prophecies are the most detailed in the entire Bible. Understanding these prophecies is the most difficult task a student of the Bible will face. Revelation provides encouragement and a blessing to those who put forth the effort.

    3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
    Revelation 1:3

    A 19th century detailed study of Revelation can be found in the book Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith. I will describe only slightly the details already covered by this book.

    Prophetic Timeline

    This is a description of my personal understandings. First is an outline of Revelation broken into sections. Transitions in the text signifying chronological discontinuity (time shifts) are marked with an asterisk. Second is an overview of the sections. Third is a detailed discussion of selected verses by chapter.

  • Outline

    1. Introduction

      Seven Churches

    2. The Loveless Church - Ephesus
      The Persecuted Church - Smyrna
      The Compromising Church - Pergamos
      The Corrupt Church - Thyatira
    3. The Dead Church - Sardis
      The Faithful Church - Philadelphia
      The Lukewarm Church - Laodiceans

      Seven Seals

    4. * The Throne Room of Heaven
    5. The Lamb Takes the Scroll
    6. First Seal: White horse - The Conqueror
      Second Seal: Red horse - Conflict on Earth
      Third Seal: Black horse - Scarcity on Earth
      Fourth Seal: Pale horse - Widespread Death on Earth
      Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs
      Sixth Seal: Cosmic Disturbances
    7. * The 144,000 Sealed of Israel
      * A Great Multitude

      Seven Trumpets

    8. * Seventh Seal: Prelude to the Seven Trumpets
      First Trumpet: Hail and fire - Vegetation Struck
      Second Trumpet: Asteroid - The Seas Struck
      Third Trumpet: Asteroid - The Waters Struck
      Fourth Trumpet: The Heavens Struck
    9. Fifth Trumpet: The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit
      Sixth Trumpet: The Angels from the Euphrates
    10. * The Mighty Angel with the Little Book
    11. * The Two Witnesses
      * Seventh Trumpet: The Kingdom Proclaimed

      The Great Beasts

    12. * The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon
      Satan Thrown Out of Heaven
      The Woman Persecuted
    13. * The Beast from the Sea
      The Beast from the Earth
    14. * The 144,000
      The Proclamations of Three Angels
      Two Harvests

      Seven Plagues

    15. * Prelude to the Plagues
    16. First Plague: Loathsome Sores
      Second Plague: The Sea Turns to Blood
      Third Plague: The Waters Turn to Blood
      Fourth Plague: Men Are Scorched
      Fifth Plague: Darkness and Pain
      Sixth Plague: Euphrates Dried Up
      Seventh Plague: Hail of Stones

      Judgement and Redemption

    17. * The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast
    18. * The Fall of Babylon the Great
    19. * The Marriage of the Lamb
      Christ on a White Horse
    20. Satan Bound 1000 Years
      The Saints Reign with Christ 1000 Years
      The Great White Throne Judgment
    21. All Things Made New
      The New Jerusalem
    22. The River of Life
      The Saviour Is Coming Quickly

    Overview and Applications

    The application of these prophecies is probably multi-faceted. There is a primary application and there may be secondary applications which are equally valid. My observation is that the patterns of God and history often repeat.

    Seven Churches

    There are at least three applications of the seven churches. The literal application applies to the specific churches named existing at that time in Asia.The historical application applies periods of history to each of the seven churches in order. The concurrent application applies one of the seven churches to individual churches.
    Literal Application
    The literal application does not make a lot of sense because Revelation is highly symbolic. There also would be no prophetic or end time signifiance to the messages.
    Historical Application
    The seven churches has been described as the religious history of the Christian era. The historical application describes the general condition of the mainstream churches of each time period. The church of Ephesus is the post-apostolic church of John's time. The church of Laodicea is the last church at the end of time. This view is heavily emphasized by Uriah Smith.
    Concurrent Application
    The concurrent application indicates a value of all the messages to our current time. Every church and individual finds personal application of these individual messages at times.

    Seven Seals

    The seals are the unfolding of specific time periods. There is a historical application and an eschatological application.
    Historical Application
    The seven seals has been described as the social history of the Christian era. The historical application covers the entire period from Christ to the end of time. This view is heavily emphasized by Uriah Smith.
    Eschatological Application
    The eschatological application covers only the time of the end starting in 1798. These periods have some chronological sequencing but are highly overlapping. They may even be considered additive and accumulative to the end of time.
    1. The conqueror is the word of God breaking forth in tremendous advancements of truth after the great darkness.
    2. The sword represents the great wars that have occurred.
    3. The scales represent the rise of merchandising and the shortages, caused by greed, for those who do not participate in the modern market.
    4. Death has increased from war, famine, and diseases.
    5. The blood of the martyrs calls for final judgement.
    6. Cosmic disturbances, "Acts of God", are increasing.
    7. The beginning of the final events.

    Seven Trumpets

    The trumpets are specific warnings of the judgement of God which has already begun and will soon end. There is a historical application and an eschatological application.
    Historical Application
    The seven trumpets has been described as the military history of the Christian era. The historical application is a repeat of the entire period from Christ to the end of time. This view is heavily emphasized by Uriah Smith.
    Eschatological Application
    The eschatological application is events that begin with the judgement of God on the church and lead to the final judgement of the world. These will occur in swift succession barely separated by a day or two at most.
    1. A hail of fiery meteorites destroys the vegetation of the earth.
    2. A meteor lands in the sea.
    3. Meteors land on the earth destroying water sources.
    4. Heavenly events from the passing of a large comet.
    5. Locusts that sting like scorpions but do not kill.
    6. War? spreading from the Euphrates.
    7. Lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

    Seven Plagues

    This is widely recognized as an eschatological application that follows the final judgement of the world and ends with the Lord's return. These will occur in swift succession barely separated by a day at most. There is an uncanny parallelism to the seven trumpets and the seven plagues. It is possible that these are the same thing.
    1. Loathsome sores.
    2. The sea turns to blood.
    3. All water sources turn to blood.
    4. Solar flare passes over the earth.
    5. Darkness from the final approach of the comet.
    6. Euphrates dried up.
    7. Lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

    Detailed Examination

    I will provide some details of my prophetic understanding where they may be helpful.

    Chapter 6

    Verse 12 - 13
    The opening of the sixth seal is of particular interest because it has either recently occurred or will soon occur.
    12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
    13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
    Revelation 6:12-13
    The historical application points to the Lisbon earthquake 1755-11-01, Dark Day May 19, 1780, Stars fell November 13, 1833. These events are likely to repeat at the end of the sixth seal.
    Verse 14 - 15
    The events at the end of the sixth seal have clearly not happened.
    14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
    15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
    Revelation 6:14-15
    The full meaning of verse 14 is difficult to imagine. Verse 15 is very clear when you understand that a great comet is discovered on a collision course with earth. Governments will assume that the only way to survive is to hide underground where there is some chance of survival. This is similar to the plans to survive a nuclear war.

    It is possible that nuclear missiles will be fired at the comet in an attempt to either turn it away from earth or break it into smaller pieces with less final impact. This will result in incredible nuclear fallout on the earth. Those in the caves and bunkers are already prepared for that.

    Chapter 7

    Verses 1-8
    The end of the sixth seal is the sealing of the 144,000. These are the redeemed from the judgment of the church. This may occur on Pentecost just before the full effects of the time of trouble as shown in verse 3. The exact number is possibly symbolic but still indicates that it will be a small portion of those in the church.
    Verses 9-17

    The chapter in verse nine jumps ahead to heaven to show that there will be a great multitude saved from the world by the final sealing on the Day of Atonement. Verse 14 makes it clear that they came through the great tribulation. This identifies them separately from the rest of the saved of the earth.

    Chapter 8

    This chapter returns to the events on earth after the sealing of the 144,000. The opening of the seventh seal, possibly on the Day of Pentecost will be accompanied by tremendous events.
    5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
    Revelation 8:5
    The fire from the altar speaks to me of the full force of the latter rain. At Pentecost tongues of fire descended on the disciples. Cross reference this with the coal from the altar of Isaiah 6:6.

    Chapter 9

    Chapter 10

    Chapter 11

    Chapter 12

    Chapter 13

    The beast from the sea and the beast from the earth.

    Chapter 14

    Chapter 15

    Chapter 16

    Chapter 17

    This important chapter contains some valuable clues to the transitions of kingdoms and powers. Verse 3 show a major transition in time from chapter 16.
    3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
    Revelation 17:3
    The symbol of the wilderness is given a general identification in Revelation 12:6,14.
    6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

    14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
    Revelation 12:6,14

    This is confirmed with the continued description of the papal power from verse 3 through verse 7.
    4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
    6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
    7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
    Revelation 17:4-7

    Verse 8 tells us about important changes that will occur in the state of the papal power.

    8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
    Revelation 17:8
    The papal power "was" for 1260 years. the papal power "was not" with the deadly wound in 1798. Atheism which began about 1789 with the French Revolution ascended and began to dominate especially in communism. The wound was healed, the power returned, and grew strong beginning with the fall of communism (atheism) in 1989. The papal power "was", "is not", and "yet is". Verse 9 repeats the identity of papal Rome, the city on seven hills.
    9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
    Revelation 17:9

    Verses ten and eleven give a description of the repeats for the last two of the eight kingdoms of prophecy.

    10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
    11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
    Revelation 17:10-11
    This complicated narrative leads to the following list. The first four kingdoms are single unified kingdoms with wide world dominance. Political control is primary with religious power mingled in a secondary relationship. The last four kingdoms have political power among various pieces. Religious power is primary mingled with political control. Do not be misled. Atheism is a religion which rejects God but has Satan as its hidden God.
    1. Babylon
    2. Medo-Persia
    3. Greece
    4. Pagan Rome
    5. Papal Rome 538 - 1798
    6. Atheism 1789 - 1989
    7. Image to the beast (aided by Papal Rome) 1989 - ?
    8. Papal Rome
    Verses 12 through 18 describe ten kings without a kingdom. These represent the countries of the European Union. These shall unite with the papacy for one hour (two weeks). After working against the people of God they shall turn on the papacy.

    Chapter 18

    Chapter 19

    Chapter 20

    Chapter 21

    Chapter 22

    Next: Prophetic Timeline

    Revised 2005-05-18