Book of Revelation map as drawn by Clarence Larkin in 1910

Written by John, the book of Revelation is often difficult to interpret, comprehend, and place in context with the rest of the Bible.  Here is a detailed overview, in outline form, of the events that are witnessed by John and recorded in the book of Revelation.

  1. A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE CONFLICT (1:9-11:19)
    1. PROLOGUE, GREETINGS, and PURPOSE (1:1-8)
    2. VISION OF CHRIST AMONG THE LAMPSTANDS (1:9-20)
      1. John hears loud voice like a trumpet, “Write what you see”
      2. John sees seven golden lampstands surrounding “son of man”
      3. Son of man holding seven stars in right hand (representing the angels of the seven churches) with a double-edged sword coming out of his mouth
      4. Man says, “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last.”
    3. LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES (2:1-3:22)
      1. The church at Ephesus (2:1-7)
        1. You cannot tolerate wicked people
        2. You have persevered and endured hardship and have not grown weary
        3. But you have forsaken the love you had at first
      2. The church at Smyrna (2:8-11)
        1. I know your afflictions and your poverty
        2. I know those that say they are Jews but are a synagogue of Satan
        3. The devil will put some of you in prison
      3. The church at Pergamos (2:12-17)
        1. You live where Satan has his throne yet you remain true to my name
        2. There are some of you who hold to the teaching of Balaam
        3. You have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans
      4. The church at Thyatira (2:18-29)
        1. You are doing more than you did at first
        2. You tolerate the woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophet
        3. I will not impose any other burden on you
      5. The church at Sardis (3:1-6)
        1. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief in the night
        2. You have some in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes (to spread my word)
      6. The church at Philadelphia (3:7-13)
        1. I know your deeds
        2. I know you have little strength but have not denied my name
        3. I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world
        4. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown
      7. The church at Laodicea (3:14-22)
        1. Because you are neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth
        2. Be earnest and repent
    4. THE THRONE SCENE (4:1-5:11)
      1. God on the throne (4:1-11)
        1. Throne in heaven with someone sitting on it
          1. Has appearance of jasper and ruby
          2. Rainbow shines like an emerald around the throne
        2. Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones in which were seated 24 elders dressed in white with gold crowns on their heads
        3. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder
        4. In front of throne are seven lamps (the seven spirits of God) and a sea of glass
        5. Around the throne are four living creatures
          1. Creatures covered with eyes front and back
            1. One with face like a lion
            2. One with face like an ox
            3. One with face like a man
            4. One with face like an eagle
          2. Each had six wings also covered with eyes top and bottom.
      2. The Lamb worthy to open the seven-sealed scroll (5:1-14)
        1. Lamb sitting on throne, looking as if he had been slain
        2. Circled by four living creatures and the 24 elders
        3. Has seven horns and seven eyes (seven spirits of God)
        4. Holds in hand a scroll with writing on both sides
        5. Angel asks, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”
        6. John hears the voice of many angels chanting
    5. THE OPENING OF THE SEVEN SEALS (6:1-8:1)
      1. First six seals are opened (6:1-17)
        1. First seal: The white horse and its rider (6:1-2)
          1. White horse rider holds a bow, given a crown, rides out as a conqueror
        2. Second seal: The red horse and its rider (6:3-4)
          1. Red horse rider is given a large sword and the power to take peace from the earth and make people kill each other
        3. Third seal: The black horse and its rider (6:5-6)
          1. Black horse rider holds a pair of scales
          2. John hears voice saying “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages”
        4. Fourth seal: The pale horse and its rider(s) (6:7-8)
          1. Pale horse rider named Death
          2. Given power to kill over a fourth of the earth by sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts
        5. Fifth seal: The martyrs under the altar (6:9-11)
          1. God’s martyrs cry out, “How long until the inhabitants of earth are judged?”
          2. Each given a white robe and told to wait a little longer
        6. Sixth seal: Cataclysmic disturbances (6:12-17)
          1. Great earthquake, sun turns black, moon turns blood read, stars fall to earth, figs drop from the trees as if shaken by a strong wind.
          2. Heavens receded like a scroll and every mountain and island is removed from its place
          3. Kings, princes, generals, rich, and everyone else hid in caves among the mountains calling for the rocks to fall on them
      2. Interlude: Sealing of the 144,000 on earth, and the great multitude in heaven (7:1-17)
      3. Four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back great winds
      4. Angel arrives from the east and calls out, “Do not harm anything until I put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of God.”
      5. Johns sees a great multitude, too many to count, standing in white robes holding palm branches
        1. Elder explains that they are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation, that have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb
      6. Seventh seal: Silence in heaven (8:1)
    6. THE SOUNDING OF SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2-11:19)
      1. Seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets (8:2-6)
          1. Another angels offers prayers of all God’s people on altar in front of the throne
          2. Angel takes fire from the altar and hurls it on earth
          3. Angels prepare to sound their horns

      2. First trumpet: Third of vegetation destroyed (8:7)
        1. Hail and fire mixed with blood hurled on earth
        2. Third of earth, third of trees, and all green grass destroyed
      3. Second trumpet: Third of sea creatures and ships destroyed (8:8-9)
        1. Something as huge as a mountain thrown into the sea
        2. Third of sea turned to blood, third of living creatures in sea died, and third of ships were destroyed
      4. Third trumpet: Third of rivers and springs become bitter, many men die (8:10-11)
        1. Great star, named Wormwood, falls from the sky
        2. Third of waters turn bitter and many people die from it
      5. Fourth trumpet: Third of sun, moon, and stars struck, affecting day and night (8:12)
        1. Third of sun, third of moon, third of stars turn black
        2. Third of the day was without light and also a third of the night
      6. Three-fold woe announced by eagle flying through the air (8:13)
      7. Fifth trumpet (first woe): Locusts from the bottomless pit, sent to torment men (9:1-12)
        1. Star that falls from sky opens abyss on earth
        2. Sun and sky are darkened by smoke from the abyss
        3. Out of smoke come locusts with power like that of scorpion: they only harm those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads
          1. Not allowed to kill – only torture – for five months. “People will seek death but will not find it.”
        4. Locusts look like horses prepared for battle with crowns of gold and faces resembling human faces, hair like women, teeth like lions
        5. Sound of their wings sounds like thunder
        6. Their king was named Abaddon or Apollyon (the Destroyer)
      8. Sixth trumpet (second woe): Four angels with an army of two hundred million, killing a third of mankind (9:13-21)
        1. Voice comes from the four horns of the golden altar telling sixth angel, “Release the four angels who are bound at the river Euphrates.”
        2. 200 million mounted troops kill a third of mankind
          1. Wore breastplates that were red, dark blue, and yellow
          2. Heads of horses resembled the heads of lions
          3. Out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur
          4. Tails were like snakes having heads that inflicted injury
          5. Those not killed by these “plagues” still did not repent and continued worshipping idols, murdering, committing sexual immorality, stealing, and practicing the black arts
      9. Another interlude (10:1-11:14)
        1. The angel with the little book (10:1-11)
          1. Angel “robed in a cloud” with rainbow above head, face like the sun, and legs like fiery pillars
          2. Holding scroll in hand, plants right foot on the sea and left foot on the land and gives loud shout
            1. Voices of seven thunders spoke but voice from heaven told John to not write down what they said
            2. John instructed to take scroll from angel and eat it.  Tastes like honey but turns John’s stomach sour
        2. The two witnesses (11:1-13)
          1. John given a reed and told to measure the temple of God and the altar.
          2. Told to exclude the outer court because it would be given to the Gentiles
          3. Told that Gentiles would trample on the holy city for 42 months
          4. Two witnesses anointed that will prophesy for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth (“they are the two olive trees and the two lampstands”)
            1. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies
            2. They have the power to stop rain during the time they are prophesying, to turn waters into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague
          5. When they finish, the beast that comes from the Abyss attacks and kills them
            1. Their bodies lie in the public square of the “great city” for three days while people refuse to bury them
            2. Inhabitants of earth will gloat over them and celebrate by sending each other gifts
          6. After three days, they arise and a loud voice from heaven calls them to heaven in a cloud
          7. A severe earthquake strikes and a tenth of the city collapses
            1. Seven thousand people killed
            2. Survivors are terrified and give glory to God
      10. Seventh trumpet (third woe): The victory of Christ and His kingdom proclaimed (11:14-19)
        1. Loud voices from heaven say, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord.”
        2. God’s temple in heaven opens and inside is seen the ark of his covenant
        3. Flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, earthquake, and severe hailstorm erupts
  2. A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CONFLICT (12:1-22:5)
    1. THE GREAT CONFLICT (12:1-14:20)
      1. The Woman, the Child, the Dragon, and the rest of the Woman’s offspring (12:1-17)
        1. Sign appears in heaven – pregnant woman (in labor) with sun and moon under her feet, wearing crown of 12 stars
        2. Second sign appears in heaven – enormous red dragon with 7 crowned heads and 10 horns sweeps a third of stars from sky with its tail and flings them to earth
          1. Dragon stands by the woman, waiting to devour her child
        3. Woman gives birth to son “who will rule all nations with an iron scepter”
          1. Child is snatched up to God
          2. Woman flees to wilderness where she is protected by God for 1,260 days
        4. War breaks out in heaven
          1. Michael and his angels fight against the dragon and its angels
          2. Angels fling Satan and his angels to earth
        5. Dragon pursues woman hiding in the wilderness
          1. Woman is given wings and flies to safety
        6. Dragon spews water out of its mouth but woman is kept safe by earth which swallows up the river
        7. Dragon is enraged at the woman, goes off to wage war against the rest of her offspring – Christians
      2. The beast from the sea (13:1-10)
        1. Dragon stands on shore of sea
        2. Beast with 10 horns, 7 crowned heads (each with a blasphemous name) rises from the sea
          1. Best resembles a leopard with feet like a bear and mouth like a lion
        3. Dragon gives beast its power and “great authority”
        4. Beast has a fatal wound on one of its heads
          1. Fatal wound heals
          2. World is filled with wonder and follows the beast
        5. Beast is “given a mouth” to utter proud words and blasphemies for 42 months
        6. Beast is given power to wage war and conquer “God’s holy people”
        7. Beast is given authority over all of earth
        8. Entire world worships the beast
        9. God’s people are called to have faith and endurance
      3. The beast from the land (13:11-18) (note: often equated with the Antichrist)
        1. Second beast with 2 horns (like a lamb) comes out of the earth and speaks like a dragon
        2. Second beast exercises authority on behalf of the first beast and makes everyone worship the first beast
        3. Beast from the land performs great signs (e.g. fire from they sky) and deceives inhabitants of earth
        4. Orders people to set up an image in honor of the first beast
        5. Second beast breathes life into the image allowing it to speak and to kill all who refuse to worship it
        6. Requires all people to receive the mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead
          1. People cannot buy or sell without the mark (“a human number, “666”)
      4. The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion (14:1-5)
        1. Lamb standing on Mount Zion with 144,000 people with his name written on their foreheads
        2. Sound erupts from heaven – like the roar of rushing waters and booming thunder
        3. Sound like harps playing rings from heaven and 144,000 sing a song that only they can learn
        4. 144,000 described as virgin followers of Jesus who were “purchased from among mankind”
      5. Proclamations of three angels (14:6-13)
        1. First angel flying in air proclaims eternal gospel to earth’s inhabitants: “Worship God”
        2. Second angel says “Fallen is Babylon the Great which made nations drink the wine of her adulteries.”
        3. Third angel proclaims, “Anyone who worships the beast or its image or receives its mark on their forehead or hand will drink the wine of God’s fury.”
      6. Reaping the earth’s harvest, and the grapes of wrath (14:14-20)
        1. Jesus seated on a loud sweeps sickle over the earth – earth was “harvested”
        2. Angel appears from heaven, also with a sharp sickle
        3. Another angle says, “Take your sharp sickle and harvest the grapes from earth that are ripe”
        4. Angel swings sickle on earth, gathers the grapes, and throws them on “winepress of God’s wrath”
          1. Blood flowed from the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridle for a distance of 184 miles
    2. THE SEVEN PLAGUES AND SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (15:1-16:21)
      1. Prelude to pouring out the seven bowls of wrath (15:1-8)
        1. Seven angels with seven last plagues (after which God’s wrath is complete)
        2. Standing by a glowing sea of glass are those that had been victorious over the beast, its image, and the number of its name
        3. Seven angels with seven plagues emerge from heavenly temple
        4. One of the four living creatures hands the seven angels seven bowls filled with wrath of God
        5. Temple filled with smoke – no one can enter until the seven plagues were completed
      2. First bowl: Sores on those who worshipped the beast and his image (16:1-2)
      3. Second bowl: Sea turns to blood, all sea creatures die (16:3)
      4. Third bowl: Rivers and springs turn to blood (16:4-7)
      5. Fourth bowl: Men are scorched by the sun (16:8-9)
        1. People curse the name of God who controls the plagues but still refuse to repent
      6. Fifth bowl: Pain and darkness upon the beast and his kingdom (16:10-11)
        1. People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed God but still refuse to repent
      7. Sixth bowl: Euphrates dried up to prepare way for kings from the East, three unclean spirits gather the kingdoms of the earth for the battle at Armageddon (16:12-16)
        1. Three demonic spirits that looked like frogs came out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet
          1. Performing signs, they go out to leaders of the world, preparing them for battle against God
          2. Leaders of earth gatherd in place called Armageddon
      8. Seventh bowl: Great earthquake, the great city divided, Babylon is remembered, cataclysmic events (16:17-21)
        1. Loud voice proclaims, “It is done!”
        2. Largest earthquake in human history shakes the earth
        3. The “great city” is split into three parts and cities around the world collapse
        4. Islands sink, mountains fall
        5. Huge hailstones weighing 100 lbs fall on earth, killing people
          1. People continue to curse God
    3. THE FALL OF BABYLON, THE HARLOT (17:1-19:10)
      1. Great prostitute who sits by many waters has intoxicated earth’s leaders with the wine of her adulteries
      2. The scarlet woman and the scarlet beast (17:1-6)
        1. Woman sitting atop a scarlet beast with 7 heads, 10 horns and covered with blasphemous names
        2. Woman dressed in purple and red, glittering with gold and jewels
        3. Woman holds golden cup in hand filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries
        4. Written on her head: “Babylon the Great, The mother of prositutes and of the abominations of the earth”
      3. The mystery of the woman and beast explained (17:7-18)
        1. The beast once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the abyss
          1. Inhabitants of earth will be astonished by it because it once was, now is not, and yet will come
        2. The seven heads are seven hills upon which the woman sits – they are also seven kings
          1. Five have fallen, one is alive, the other has yet to come (when he does, he will remain for only a little while)
        3. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king – he belongs to the seven
        4. Ten horns are ten kings that have no kingdom but for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast – their sole purpose is to give power and authority to the beast
          1. They will wage war against the Lamb but will lose
        5. The waters by which the prostitute sits are the entire earth
          1. The beast and the ten horns will hate the prostitute
          2. They will ruin her, leave her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire
          3. The woman is the great city that rules over the leaders of earth
      4. The fall of Babylon the great proclaimed and mourned (18:1-24)
        1. Angel comes down from heaven
        2. Earth is illuminated by his splendor
        3. Angel shouts, “Fallen is Babylon the Great! Come out of her, my people! She will be consumed by fire!”
        4. The kings who committed adultery with her bill mourn over her
        5. Merchants will morn over her because no one buys their goods anymore
        6. Every sea captain and sailors will stand far off watching the smoke from her burning
        7. Angel throws boulder into the sea saying, “With such violence the city will be thrown down”
      5. The exaltation in heaven over the fall of the great harlot (19:1-5)
      6. The announcement of the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:6-10)
    4. THE DEFEAT OF THE LAMB’S ENEMIES (19:11-20:15)
      1. Christ the victorious warrior and King of kings (19:11-16)
        1. White horse ridden by Faithful and True
          1. He judges and wages war
          2. Blazing eyes, dressed in robe dipped in blood, wears many crowns
          3. “His name is Word of God”
          4. Coming out of hism outh was a sharp sword with which to strike down nations
          5. On his robe and thigh is written “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”
          6. His name is written on him but no one knows it but himself
      2. The beast, his armies, and the false prophet (land beast) are defeated (19:17-21)
        1. Angel calls out to birds in the air inviting them to feed on the flesh of the defeated enemies
        2. Beast, leaders of earth, and armies gather to wage war against the rider on the white horse and his army
        3. Best and false prophet are captured and thrown into the fiery lake of hell
        4. Remaining army are killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the white horse
      3. Satan (the dragon) is bound for a thousand years, while those martyred reign with Christ (20:1-6)
        1. John sees the souls of those who died because of their testimony about Jesus
          1. They came to life and reigned with Jesus for 1,000 years – this is the “first resurrection”
          2. The rest of the dead do not come to live until the 1,000 years ended
      4. Satan released to deceive the nations once more, but is finally defeated once for all (20:7-10)
        1. Satan is released and goes out to deceive nations in four corners of the earth (Gog and Magog)
          1. Satan gathers them for battle
          2. The numbers are tremendous – “like the sand on the seashore”
          3. They surround the camp of God’s people
          4. Fire comes from heaven and devours them
          5. Satan is thrown into the lake of fire (where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown) where he will stay forever
      5. The final judgment (i.e. the Judgment of the Dead) (20:11-15)
        1. Dead stand before the throne
        2. Books are opened including the Book of Life
        3. Dead are judged according to what they have done (as recorded in the books)
        4. “Death” and “Hades” are thrown into the lake of fire
        5. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life is thrown into the lake of fire
    5. THE ETERNAL DESTINY OF THE REDEEMED (21:1-22:5)
      1. The new heaven and new earth, the New Jerusalem, God dwelling with His people (21:1-8)
      2. The New Jerusalem described (21:9-27)
        1. Jerusalem shines with brilliance like jasper
        2. Surrounded by a high wall with twelve gates guarded by angels
          1. Three on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west
          2. The wall is made of jasper and over 1,000 miles long
          3. City and streets are constructed of pure gold decorated with precious stones decorating each of the 12 foundations: jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, ruby, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, turquoise, jacinth, amethyst.
      3. The water of life, the tree of life, and the throne of God and the Lamb (22:1-5)
        1. Flowing from the throne of God, down the streets of New Jerusalem,  is a river
        2. On each side of the river is a tree of life
  3. CONCLUSION (22:6-21)
    1. The time is near, do not seal up the book (22:6-11)
    2. The testimony of Jesus, the Spirit, and the bride (22:12-17)
    3. Warning not to tamper with the book, and closing prayers (22:18-21)
      1. Anyone who adds words to this prophesy, God will impose the plagues described within upon them
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