THE REVELATION--GIVEN IN THREE SEGMENTS
We’re almost to the end of Revelation Chapter One, and with this post, I hope to sum up this part of our study. Before I do so, there’s a truly interesting verse which divides the structure of Revelation into THREE PARTS. Let us consider these very clear facts...
Revelation 1:19--“Write the things which thou HAST SEEN, and the things that ARE, and the things that shall be HEREAFTER.”
In verse 19, we have THE KEY which partitions the book of Revelation into THREE PARTS.
John was asked to write down the things which he SAW (“which thou HAST SEEN). That’s PAST TENSE. What PART of this book may be considered as having ALREADY HAPPENED, and thus become PAST TENSE?
It’s CHAPTER ONE. It's the giving of the PROPHECY to the Apostle John. It includes the VISION which was GIVEN to him--where he SAW Jesus Christ in His resurrected and glorified body.
John was further instructed to write down the things that ARE. Here, we see THE PRESENT TENSE, those things that were happening at the VERY MOMENT the book of Revelation was recorded. What WERE those things? What was PRESENT at THE TIME of John? What things remain PRESENT in the world of our day?
THE SEVEN CHURCHES!
Those Churches were PRESENT in John’s day. They had THE EXACT problems and characteristics in them--which are DESCRIBED in detail in the SEVEN CHURCH LETTERS--which things we’ll examine in Revelation 2 and 3. Those SEVEN kinds of Churches, with the SEVEN kinds of problems and characteristics they display, YET REMAIN on the earth in OUR TIME. The AGE OF THE CHURCH is still PRESENT. The SEVEN CHURCHES are the things “THAT ARE.”
John was told to write about the things WHICH SHALL BE HEREAFTER. This is the FUTURE TENSE--these are VISIONS and EVENTS which have NOT YET HAPPENED. This is where our UNDERSTANDING gets exciting! "HEREAFTER" is the Greek word "meta tauta" and it literally translates to this: "the things that shall be AFTER these things." AFTER WHAT THINGS?
The THIRD part of Revelation, "the things that shall be AFTER these things" appear in THE FUTURE--AFTER the things which are PRESENT, AFTER the things of the SEVEN CHURCHES.
The EXACT WAY that the book of Revelation is STRUCTURED, points to a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE of the Church.
"The things which shall be AFTER these things," (FUTURE TENSE), which are AFTER the things of the SEVEN CHURCHES, are PROPHESIED from Revelation CHAPTER FOUR to the END OF THE BOOK.
Do you see and understand this? The VERY WORDING of Revelation 1:19 REVEALS this interesting fact! With such a structure SO EVIDENT in front of our eyes, WHY do so many people BELIEVE that the CHURCH must suffer in the AWFUL events of the TRIBULATION PERIOD? Revelation’s PROPHECY suggests NOTHING of that sort!
It’s of FURTHER SIGNIFICANCE that the FOURTH CHAPTER of Revelation BEGINS with the same Greek phrase, "meta tauta." So HOW does Chapter Four begin?
"AFTER THIS, I looked, and, behold, a DOOR was OPENED in heaven: and the FIRST VOICE which I heard was as if it were A TRUMPET talking with me (do you recall our study about the TRUMPET VOICE of Jesus in Revelation 1:10?)--which SAID, “Come up hither, and I will show you which must be HEREAFTER."
There it is again! The very same structure!
Revelation CHAPTER FOUR, with John being CAUGHT UP into heaven, comes AFTER WHAT?
CHAPTER FOUR begins the THIRD PART of Revelation’s structure. The THIRD PART are those things which are FUTURE--AFTER the things of the PRESENT, after the things of the SEVEN CHURCHES.
Also, make note of this: In Revelation 4:1, the FUTURE TENSE is DOUBLY shown. The verse BEGINS with AFTER THIS--"meta tauta"--the things which shall be AFTER THESE THINGS. Revelation 4:1 ENDS with “I will show you which MUST be HEREAFTER--"meta tauta"--the things which shall be AFTER THESE THINGS.
THE HOLY SPIRIT LABORS THIS POINT--HE REALLY WANTS US TO SEE THIS! Why? I BELIEVE the Holy Spirit FORESAW the RAGING DEBATE about the TIMING of the RAPTURE of the CHURCH. So therefore, He emphasized and REEMPHASIZED the STRUCTURE for us. Do you SEE it?
Again, in Revelation 4:1, I ask you this question: "After these things" is AFTER WHAT?
It’s AFTER the SEVEN LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES! Then the Apostle John experiences getting CAUGHT UP into heaven as Jesus BECKONS with His TRUMPET VOICE. The ACTION is a "TYPE" (a WORD PICTURE) of the RAPTURE of the Church. The CHURCH will be CAUGHT UP into heaven, BEFORE the events of the TRIBULATION can even begin.
This is ONE of the MOST POWERFUL proofs in Scripture concerning the PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE of the Church! (After Zephaniah 2:1-3, that is. And Isaiah 26:26-21)
The THIRD part of the book of Revelation--the FUTURE events, the HEREAFTER--extends from CHAPTER FOUR onward. Beginning with CHAPTER FOUR, we’ll see things that are STILL IN THE FUTURE! These are visions of the CHURCH in heaven (symbolized in the 24 elders), Jesus taking a SEVEN SEALED SCROLL from the hand of His Father, Jesus opening the scroll and bringing the "wrath of the Lamb"--as judgments fall from God's Throne, the EMPHASIS of the PROPHECY switching--so that it shows things to come upon Israel, the people LEFT BEHIND after the Rapture--Tribulation saints, plus those who DWELL UPON THE EARTH (people who reject Jesus), the JUDGMENTS poured out from God’s throne, etc.
The THIRD section of Revelation (the HEREAFTER, the FUTURE) SUB-DIVIDES even further: Chapters 4 to 19--the TRIBULATION PERIOD. Chapter 19--the marriage supper of the Lamb and then Jesus on His white horse at Armageddon. Chapter 20--the Millennium. Chapters 21 and 22--the New heaven and earth and the New Jerusalem.
If we take these two verses of Revelation--1:19 and 4:1--WORD FOR WORD for WHAT they say, there is NO WAY we can see THE CHURCH suffering through the Tribulation!
The LAST SEVEN years of the current WORLD SYSTEM are years that God has DECREED UPON ISRAEL, years in which He will FINISH all PROPHECY that is YET TO BE fulfilled for them. (We’ll look at Daniel 9:24-27 later in our study, to understand Israel’s position in the END TIME events.)
I’ll end our look at Revelation 1:19 on that note.
THERE’S ONE MORE DETAIL: Symbols are explained in Revelation 1:20.
“The mystery of the SEVEN STARS which thou sawest in My RIGHT HAND and the SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS. The SEVEN STARS are the angels (messengers, Pastors, people who share the gospel in and) of the seven Churches: and the SEVEN CANDLESTICKS which thou sawest are the SEVEN CHURCHES."
I've already covered those SYMBOLS earlier in our study. (Scroll back in the blogs to find them)
The SEVEN CANDLESTICKS (lampstands) were discussed in Revelation 1:12-13. The church is THE LIGHT of Jesus to the world of our day. Also, Jesus is shown to be in THE MIDST of His SEVEN CHURCHES. Jesus is the One Who is the HEAD of His Church as He guides and directs His people (if they will listen to Him).
The SEVEN STARS were discussed in Revelation 1:16. We saw them defined as messengers, Pastors--who are anointed to BE LEADERS in the Churches, plus all those who turn others to righteousness--as seen in Daniel 12:3.
I’ll repeat what I have written earlier about the SYMBOLS which are found in the book of Revelation: If they are NOT defined right where we find them (like the candlesticks and the stars), then they WILL BE DEFINED ELSEWHERE in the Bible. God WANTS us to understand THIS PROPHECY--so take a concordance and do a word study when seeing a symbol!
Have you gained understanding and grown from what we’ve covered in this study so far? I hope you're looking forward to more.
Have a very wonderful day.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(I may take an intermission and touch upon some other subjects BEFORE RESUMING the study of Revelation. There are two topics--covered previously in a series of posts on this blog. I want to combine the information and place each topic into their own special blog--so people can have the material all in one place.)