Our Lord’s statement to John shows that the book of Revelation is divided into 3 sections. Let’s look at each of them:
“Things you have seen.”
- Jesus has come; He is the living, risen, resurrected Savior.
What had John seen? A vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Write it,” and John wrote it. We could call this “past things.” This division is small — only chapter one.
“Things which are.”
- He is here now. Jesus is shown in the midst of the churches (chapters two and three). “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
“The things which are” refers to “the Church Age,” from Pentecost to the present. This division is also relatively small (only two chapters) and contains messages to seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. While they were literal churches in Asia Minor back then, they also represent churches through the ages since. Right now we’re living in “the things which are.” We could call this “present things.”
“Things which shall be hereafter.”
- He is coming again. The remaining 19 chapters (the third division, Revelation 4-22) are prophecy, “things which shall be hereafter.”
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven. And the first voice I heard…said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.” (Revelation 4:1)
Only God knows the future. The devil doesn’t. Nor do today’s soothsayers, prophets, and prognosticators. Understanding these 3 divisions is our golden key to Revelation, and with it on our hands we will be better equipped to understand.
On both television and radio, Love Worth Finding will devote the next two months to an in-depth study of the seven major events of Revelation.
#1 — The Rapture of the Church/Departue of the Saints. Notice that from Revelation 4:1 on, the word “church” drops out. Why? Because the church is going to be raptured. We who know Christ are not here on earth; we’re in Heaven, experiencing the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage of the Lamb. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) When will the rapture take place? At any moment. No sign or prophecy must yet be fulfilled before Jesus can come for His church.
#2 — The Rise of the Beast/The Devil's Deceptions. When the church is taken out, the man of sin, the antichrist, will be revealed (Revelation 13:1-3).
#3 — The Great Tribulation/Devastation of the Earth. For seven years the antichrist will hold sway, deceiving the nations, and God will pour out His wrath (Revelation 16-19).
#4 — Armageddon/Defeat of the Beast and His Armies. (Revelation 19:17-21)
#5 — The Millenial Reign/Peace and Dominion of Jesus. The lamb and lion will lie down together and Jesus will reign. (Revelation 20:1-6)
#6 — The Final Judgment/Doom of the Lost. “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it….” (Revelation 20:11-15)
#7 — The Final State/Destiny of Mankind. “And He said unto me, it is done.” (Revelation 21:1-22:17)
The wisest thing you could ever do would be to give your heart to Jesus Christ. The last words in the Bible are an invitation: “And whosoever is athirst, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” And its last prayer is, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
Where Will You Be?
When God created you, He made you in His image, a living soul. Endless, timeless, dateless, measureless, your soul will be in existence somewhere. God is making new heavens and a new earth. When these things are going on, where will your soul be? You have a life to live, a death to die, a judgment to face, and an eternity to endure, either in heaven or in hell.
The Battle for the Soul of America contains timeless, foundational principles about human government, all rooted in biblical truth. Real truth never changes, and the truth about government is that it is God who ordains it, leaders who are responsible for it, and citizens who are accountable to it. In this book, pastor, teacher, and author Adrian Rogers reminds us that the privilege of being called Americans comes with significant responsibilities—to God, to each other, and to the world.