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Revelation Overview


Chapter summaries for the book of Revelation.


  • Revelation 1 presents Christ as the ruler over the kings of the earth, the savior, the head of the church, the resurrected God-Man, the judge over the church, and the authority over death and Hades (residence of dead people).
  • Revelation 2 and 3 are Christ’s messages to seven historical churches.  These churches had the same characteristics and problems that churches have had since that time.  The solutions are also the same.
    • Ephesus, 2:1-7:  They were orthodox, creedal, and active, but had lost their zest or enthusiasm for relationship with the Lord and the Christian life.  Christ commanded them to recall their earlier spiritual enthusiasm and to recapture their love for Christ through confession of sin, faith dependence and loyalty to Christ.
    • Smyrna, 2:8-11:  Satan tried to get them preoccupied with themselves, other people, and things so that they would become unfaithful to Christ.  Christ commanded them to not fear (occupation with world system, suffering, and Satan) and to remain faithful to Him (faith application of Bible doctrine, especially occupation with Christ).
    • Pergamum, 2:12-17:  They tried to live in both the plan of God and the world system at the same time with the result that they compromised the plan of God, were a stumbling block, and committed idolatry and immorality.  Christ commanded them to confess their sin and replace occupation with details of life with genuine faith dependence and loyalty to Christ. 
    • Thyatira, 2:18-29:  They were weak in doctrine, active in Christian service, and tolerated a self-proclaimed prophetess so that many believers compromised the Christian way of life with the current-day social and religious practices.  Christ commanded those involved to repent (change their viewpoint, intent, and will).  Those not involved were to take great care to maintain their advance in the Christian life.
    • Sardis, 3:1-6:  They were unfaithful to the grace deposit (salvation and the plan of God for believers) so that they lived out of fellowship with the Lord (Christian-life death) and produced only human good.  Christ commanded them to remember God’s grace deposit to them and to practice it, beginning with the recovery of fellowship, and then reestablish the production of divine good according to God’s plan.
    • Philadelphia, 3:7-13:  They understood God’s power and their human weakness, they applied the Word of God, and they remained faithful to Christ, with the result that they faithfully identified with Christ and carried out God’s opportunities for ministry even when under pressure.
    • Laodicea, 3:14-22:  They were occupied with themselves and things so that they had no experiential fellowship with Christ and as a result forgot their spiritual wealth, had doctrinal blindness, and lacked experiential sanctification.  Christ commanded them to ask and take from Him spiritual wealth and divine good production, Christian-life sanctification, and knowledge of His Word.  He wanted them to begin these necessary changes by opening the door to Christian-life fellowship with Him through confession of their sin to God the Father and genuine faith dependence and loyalty to Himself.
  • Revelation 4 leaves the churches and the church age and presents a time of judgment upon the earth which follows the church age (the Tribulation).  The Tribulation is described in chapters 4-19.  Revelation 4 introduces God the Father on His throne and the special-duty angels who are glorifying the Father. 
  • Revelation 5 presents God the Son, who is the Lamb of God, killed to pay for the sins of the world.  The Son is qualified to judge for God the Father.  The angels sing songs of praise to the Lamb.
  • Revelation 6-7 discusses the Tribulation period from the standpoint of six of the seven sequential seal judgments.  The judgments are presented without specific details.  The first seal introduces a military conqueror, the second introduces a man who promotes world war and violence, the third introduces famine, the fourth introduces widespread death, the fifth introduces Christian martyrs in heaven, the sixth introduces great disturbances such as earthquakes and changes in the heavens, and the seventh seal (Chapter 8) introduces the trumpet judgments.  Chapter 7 makes a parenthetical statement before the seventh seal is opened that 144,000 Jews have been protected from these judgments.  They will serve God during the Tribulation.
  • Revelation 8 and 9 discuss six of the seven trumpet judgments.  They emerge from the seventh seal.  The first trumpet introduces destruction of a third of the vegetation, the second introduces destruction of a third of the sea along with marine life and ships, the third trumpet introduces the contamination of a third of the fresh water supply, and the fourth introduces the darkening of a third of the sun, moon, and stars.  The fifth trumpet introduces the locust army which will torment unbelievers for five months.  The sixth introduces the 200 million strong army gathered by the Euphrates angels to kill a third of mankind.
  • Revelation 10 is an interlude after the sixth trumpet.  Before the sequence of trumpets and them bowl judgments are resumed, an angel appears with a book that contains God’s Tribulation judgments.  John is to eat this book.  By eating the book John is identified with the prophetic ministry.  The angels then command him to prophecy about people, nations, tongues, and kings—the participants on earth during the seals, trumpets, and bowl judgments of the Tribulation.  These prophecies are the emphasis of the rest of the book.
  • Revelation 11 has two parts.  First, God’s two witnesses appear.  They preach for three and one-half years.  Their ministry probably covers the middle portion of the Tribulation.  Second, the seventh trumpet announces the second advent of Christ.  Both sections of chapter 11emphasize the principle that grace is offered before judgment comes.
  • Revelation 12 and 13 discuss seven more participants in the Tribulation scenario. 
    • The Woman, Israel.
    • The Dragon, Satan.
    • The Man-child, Christ.
    • Michael and the angel.
    • Israel, the remnant seed of the woman.
    • The Beast out of the sea, who is the world dictator.
    • The Beast out of the earth, who is the false prophet and religious leader.
  • Revelation 14 shows Christ, at His second coming, standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000 Jewish believers who served during the Tribulation.  John is also shown three angels.  The first announces the eternal gospel, the second announces judgment on Babylon, and the third angel announces judgment of those who worshipped the Beast-dictator.  Finally, John sees the conclusion of the Armageddon campaign.
  • Revelation 15 shows Tribulation martyrs in heaven.  Though the Beast killed them, they are in heaven with the Lord, never again to be harmed by the Beast-dictator.  This chapter also announces the bowl judgments.  They are the judgments that come from the seventh trumpet judgment.  There are seven angels, and each pours a bowl of God’s wrath upon the earth.
  • Revelation 16 discusses these seven bowl judgments that occur close to the second coming of Christ to the earth.  They are violent and dramatic.  The first bowl judgment puts sores on those with the Beast-dictator’s mark, the second turns the sea into blood, the third turns fresh water into blood, the fourth causes the sun’s heat to scorch mankind, the fifth brings physical darkness upon the Beast-dictator’s kingdom, the sixth dries up the Euphrates so the kings of the east can march to Armageddon, and the seventh bowl judgment destroys the great cities of the Tribulation.
  • Revelation 17 interrupts the bowl judgment sequence so that an angel can expand on one aspect of the judgments, the judgment of religious internationalism, which is Satan’s religious system.  This religious system is centered in the rebuilt city of ancient Babylon or another city having ancient Babylon’s characteristics—Rome.
  • Revelation 18 continues the digression in order to describe the destruction of political and economic internationalism, also apparently centered in either Babylon or Rome.
  • Revelation 19 draws the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments together at the second advent of Christ.  Christ returns to complete the judgment of the seventh trumpet and the seven bowls.  Christ destroys the evil leaders and puts a stop to the evil historical trends at the final battle of the Armageddon war—the colossal war in which the armies of the world finally converge in northern Palestine on the Plain of Esdraelon that stretches southeast from Mount Megiddo (Hebrew—Har Megiddo).
  • Revelation 20 is the record of another vision.  This vision shows what will happen after the conclusion of the Armageddon campaign.  Satan will be confined, Tribulation saints will be resurrected, and Christ and his saints will reign for 1000 years.  Satan will them be released for one last rebellion against God.  He will utterly fail.  Satan, the Beast-dictator, the False Prophet, and unbelievers will be judged, then cast into the Lake of Fire.  The judgment of unbelievers will occur at the Great White Throne Judgment where God will demonstrate that their names were not in the book of life because they would not believe in Jesus Christ as savior.
  • Revelation 21 and 22 picture the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem.  Eternity has begun.  Believers will be forever with the Lord.
  • Revelation Chapter Titles 
    • Jesus Christ Presented
    • Seven Churches
    • Seven Churches (Continued)
    • Father on Throne Worshipped
    • Lamb Takes Scroll
    • Seals 1-6
    • 144,000 Sealed
    • Seal 7, Trumpets 1-4
    • Trumpets 5-6
    • Strong Angel, Thunder Book
    • Two Witnesses, Trumpet 7
    • Woman, Child, Dragon
    • Dragon, Two Beasts
    • Lamb on Zion, Six Angels
    • Seven Angels, Bowls
    • Seven Bowl Judgments
    • Harlot, First Beast
    • Judgment of Baby6lon
    • Living Word on White Horse
    • Millennial Reign
    • New Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem
    • Eternal Life

Last Update

Friday, May 22, 2015