What Does Revelation Say Will Happen?
We’re going to stand at a high point—as if we were on a mountain overlook—and get a panoramic view of the entire book of Revelation, the things that we happen in the days and years ahead.
Without stopping to camp out at any one event, we’ll just be hitting the high spots, to simply give you an overview of what Revelation is about.
So many people—even settled Christians—find this book to be foreboding—obscure, impossible to make sense of.
To be sure, Revelation is mysterious with some strange-looking creatures. But they all represent actual future players on the world stage or real systems or forces at work even today and in the future. The fog on our windshield will begin to clear as we grasp the panorama of Revelation.
The very word “revelation” tells us God doesn’t intend it to be impossible to understand. Revelation (in the Greek, apocalupsis (apokálypsis) means an uncovering—an unveiling, just like when statue or sculpture is unveiled for the first time. The artist or dignitary pulls the cord, the covering drops to the floor, revealing the figure for all to see.
This is what happens in the book of Revelation, right in the first verse, Revelation 1:1. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John.”
The figure revealed is the Lord Jesus Christ in His glory. No longer the suffering servant, He is the resplendent King of kings and Lord of lords. God gave the Apostle John, one of Jesus’ inner circle, the privilege to do the unveiling.
The background for this canvas had been painted eons ago. From the beginning of time, God’s plan for creation was already in place. He knew how it would all end—what would happen to His Son, to the devil, the angels who fell, His beautiful creation—and those who are His own, who received His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. Revelation is not just an unveiling of future events, but also the unveiling of the King who will rule over these events at the climax of history. Who stands at the door in Revelation 1:1? King Jesus!
We’re going from chapter 1 all the way to the end, quickly, just hitting the high spots to give you a panoramic view of the last days and the things we believe are going to transpire.
The book of Revelation is the golden clasp that puts all 66 volumes books of the Bible together. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a golden key that would unlock that clasp?
We do. It’s next to the front door in the first chapter, verse 1:. "Write the things which thou hast seen and the things which are and the things which shall be hereafter." There it is—John’s commission to write, and he’s told to write three things, God’s own outline, that the book has three divisions:
The Things John Saw
The Things Which Are
The Things that Shall Be Hereafter.
With that outline in hand, the events themselves will fall into place.
Division 1—Write Those Things You’ve Seen Revelation 1—the shortest division of the book
John had a vision of the exalted Christ, the Alpha and Omega. Revelation 1:12-17. He wrote what he saw.
"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me and being turned I saw… one like unto the Son of Man clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. V.12-15
Division 2—Write Those Things Which Are Revelation Chapters 2-3
What was happening as John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos? The Church age had begun. Jesus gives John a direct personal message to seven literal churches in Asia Minor, but they represent every church from Pentecost to the present.
Ephesus left her first love, the Lord Jesus.
Smyrna suffered great persecution. Many believers are in areas where the church suffers terribly every day.
Pergamus let ungodliness idol worship and worldliness corrupt it from the inside out.
Thyatira taught heresy they’d allowed to creep in.
Sardis seemed to have everything—lots of programs—but they were spiritually dead.
Philadelphia was graced by love for one another.
Lastly, Laodicea a lukewarm church, too good to be bad, too bad to be good, made the Lord sick. Jesus would rather have you out and out against Him, than lukewarm, on the fence.
Having been a pastor for over four decades, I’ve seen there’s not a church problem that’s not addressed in the messages to these seven churches
Division 3—Write Those Things which Shall Be Hereeafter Chapters 4-22
Let me just tick them off here very briefly, only hitting the high points:
1. The Rapture Revelation 4:1
Immediately as chapter 3 ends, chapter 4 begins “And after this…” The church does not appear again. All we’ve heard is “church, church, church” — then nothing more about the church. Immediately John hears what is likely the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 as the Lord brings His church up. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. It may happen at any moment. Not one more prophecy awaits fulfillment before this can take place.
At the trumpet sound, the Lord Jesus is going to come. It may be tonight, tomorrow morning, 50 years from now, but Jesus is going to call for His own, and we’ll be going. Some teach that the Church is going to go through part if not all of the Tribulation. No. He has not appointed His beloved Bride to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). God never pours out his wrath upon his children. God will chastise his children—we're the objects of his chastisement—but never His wrath. God's wrath is only for the unsaved. "In those days shall men seek death and not find it and shall desire to die and death shall flee from them," Revelation 9:6. What a terrible seven years this is going to be.
2. The Tribulation. See Revelation 6:17.
The Holy Spirit stands aside; the anti‑Christ, rises to power. . If Jesus’ first coming does not save you, his last coming will certainly condemn you. What a weeping and wailing when the lost are told of their fate, they will cry for the rocks and the mountains, they will pray but their prayer is too late. Pestilence, famine, war, terror, regimentation, the reign of the anti‑Christ, the beast, will be here. Demons will come out of the bottomless pit and infest the earth. All the horrible nightmares this world has ever known will be rolled into one as hell will have a holiday, especially in the last 3½ years, known as “The Great Tribulation.”
3. The Battle of Armageddon. Revelation 16:16; 19:11
Anti‑Christ will gather all the armies of the world in his final surge against God's ancient people, the Jews, and to take Jerusalem.
4. Second Coming of Christ—with His church Revelation 19:19.
The Lord will destroy him. The Lord Jesus Christ has already come for his church (Revelation 4:1—the Rapture). Now He's coming with His church and Heaven's army. At just the last moment, the Lord Jesus, who spoke them into existence, will speak them into oblivion with just a word from His mouth.
5. The Millennium Revelation20:1-6
Jesus Christ will literally reign here upon this earth. He would not have taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven” if it would not be answered. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
We shall be priests of God and reign with him a thousand years (v.6), during which “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as waters that cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14), and “men shall leave their swords and their plowshares, their spears and the pruning hooks, and nations shall not lift up sword against nation.” Isaiah 2:4
6. Final Battle, Satan’s End, The Final Judgment Revelation 20:7-15
Satan makes one last attempt to overthrow God. He is cast into the lake of fire. Then the final judgment. Every unsaved man, woman, boy and girl will stand before God to be judged.
7. Eternal Heaven or Eternal Hell, New Heaven, New Earth Revelation 21:1 to 22:21
A new Heaven and new earth arrives, for the first Heaven and the first earth were passed away (21:1).
There will be a category of overcomers and a category of those who will suffer in a place the Bible calls hell. Those “overcomers” shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (21:3-4).
This is our panoramic overview of prophecy—The whole book of Revelation in a snapshot. But reach for your Bible and read Revelation 21 and 22. It will take only a minute. Then rest upon and be encouraged by what awaits you and every other believer—joy unspeakable and full of glory.
How do we answer the tough questions? Why do bad things happen to good people and vice versa? Why was Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross necessary for redemption? And why were there three crosses on Calvary that day? Pastor Adrian Rogers tackles these topics in his simple and profound style in the “Why” booklet collection, which includes four booklets. It will become a staple in your own faith-building library and a valuable tool as you share the true Love worth finding, Jesus Christ. Ready to get your questions answered? Start here.