Articles: Bible Studies
Structure of Revelation
notes from a Bible study by Pastor Carl Nelson
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Revelation is made up of three parts:
- Intro (Rev. 1:1-3:22): seven letters to Christian
- The prophetic message (Rev. 4:1-22:5)
The bulk is the prophetic message consisting of an intro
and three visions covering the same time period: from the Advent of
Christ to His second coming.
Sevenfold Vision 1 (6:1-8:5) —
- Vision of God's throne and glory in heaven, together
with the saints
- Victorious Christ -- the victory has already been
Sevenfold Vision 2 — seven angels
- First five seals symbolize events happening
concurrently from ascension of Christ up to the end, the suffering of
- Sixth seal pictures the end and the destruction
- Interlude: silence before seventh seal and the
revealing of the church triumphant
- The opening of the seventh seal leads to second vision
- The first four scenes reveal natural disasters which
will plague mankind from ascension of Jesus up to the end (8:6-13)
- The fifth trumpet introduces demons from abyss who
afflict unbelievers (8:6-13)
- The sixth scene shows evil unleashed on mankind just
before the end and the first three visions of the final battle
(9:13-21). The other two: Armageddon (16:16) and the Battle of Gog and
- Interlude: John sees a call to spread the gospel.
- First of himself through a mighty angel,
- then by way of the two witnesses (signifying the
church) carrying out its commission to witness.
- Seventh trumpet introduces the last scene, the end of
the world. However, its focus is not the world's destruction but rather
the joy that the end brings to God's people (11:15-19).
The Cosmic War
Before the third sevenfold vision, there is a vision of
the cosmic war between God and the dragon (12:1-14:20). This cosmic
vision is the heart of Revelation. It reveals the cause of all the
tribulation and suffering on earth and the final triumph of Christ's
- Woman with child (church)
- Child (Christ)
- Dragon (Satan)
- Beast of the dragon (angels of Satan)
It speaks of the defeat of the dragon and beast together
with the end of the world (14:1-20). When child of woman is taken to
heaven the dragon (Satan) and his angels are cast out of heaven. Unable
to destroy the woman (the church) the dragon conjures up two beasts
which war against the woman. This conflict occurs from ascension up to
the end of the present world. This vision of the cosmic war concludes
with defeat for the evil forces and victory of 144,000 at the end.
Vision 3 — pouring out of seven censers by
- First five scenes refer to God's anger poured out on
man in form of plague (15:1-16:11).
- Sixth scene, The Last Battle - Armageddon.
- Seventh scene brings the end (16:17-21).
- Detailed description of the end of the world.
- Defeat of evil forces of the dragon (Babylon, the
harlot and the beast).
- The second coming of Christ (19:1-19:22)
- The defeat of Satan at Gog and Magog (20:1-20:15)
- Conclusion: description of new heaven and earth