THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
By John Henry
August 20, 2004
Some believe that the 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 vials of the Book of Revelation (Singular; i.e. It is one continuous revelation) are repetitious descriptions of the same events. Someone said the that 7 years of tribulation are almost completed by the time of the opening of the sixth seal (Rev 6:12). This is absolutely false. A thorough study of the Book of Revelation shows that it is in chronological order with parenthetical portions providing detail. Here we will give a rationale for the chronological order of the Book of Revelation.
PHRASES SHOWING CHRONOLOGY
The following phrases demonstrate that the Book of Revelation is to be understood chronologically:
1. "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" (Rev 1:19).
2. "After this [the Church Age] ... the first voice which I heard ... said, ... I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." (Rev 4:1).
3. "I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals" (Rev 6:1)
4. "the second seal" (Rev 6:3).
5. "the third seal" (Rev 6:5).
6. "the fourth seal" (Rev 6:7).
7. "the fifth seal" (Rev 6:9).
8. the sixth seal (Rev 6:12).
9. "after these things" (Rev 7:1).
10. "after this" (Rev 7:9).
11. "when he had opened the seventh seal ... I saw the seven angels ... and to them were given seven trumpets." (Rev 8:1-2).
12. "Woe, woe, woe" (Rev 8:13).
13. "the first angel sounded" (Rev 8:7).
14. "the second angel sounded" (Rev 8:8).
15. "the third angel sounded" (Rev 8:10).
16. "the fourth angel sounded" (Rev 8:12).
17. "the fifth angel sounded" (Rev 9:1).
18. "One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter" (Rev 9:12).
19. "the sixth angel sounded" (Rev 9:13).
(Chapters 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 are parenthetical chapters which give details about the middle of the Tribulation.)
20. "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." (Rev 11:14).
21. "the seventh angel sounded" (Rev 11:15).
22. "... Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you ... he hath but a short time." (Rev 12:12).
23. "the seven last plagues" (Rev 15:1).
24. "after that" (Rev 15:5).
25. "the first [angel] went, and poured out his vial" (Rev 16:2).
26. "the second angel poured out his vial" (Rev 16:3).
27. "the third angel poured out his vial" (Rev 16:4).
28. "the fourth angel poured out his vial" (Rev 16:8).
29. "the fifth angel poured out his vial" (Rev 16:10).
30. "the sixth angel poured out his vial" (Rev 16:12).
31. "the seventh angel poured out his vial" (Rev 16:17).
32. "after these things" (Rev 18:1).
33. "after these things" (Rev 19:1).
THE FIRST PLAGUES AND THE LAST PLAGUES
It is clear from Scripture that the seal judgment are in chronological order, 1 through 7, and that the seventh seal introduces the 7 trumpet judgments:
The seal and trumpet judgments are the first two sets of plagues, and "the seven last plagues" are "the vials of the wrath of God."
"And when he had opened the seventh seal .... I saw the seven
angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven
... And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. " (Rev 8:1-2, 6)
The language of Revelation 8 makes it unmistakably obvious that the opening of the seventh seal introduces the seven angels which had the seven trumpets, so the trumpets are subsequent to the seals. Note carefully therefore that since the seventh seal judgment introduces the trumpet judgments the seal judgments cannot be the same as the vial judgments, because the vial judgments are "the seven last plagues." The vials are last so the trumpets cannot follow them.
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous,
seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is
filled up the wrath of
God. ... And one of the four
beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full
of the wrath of God .... And I heard a great voice
out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your
ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the
earth." (Rev 15:1, 7, 16:1)
THREE WOES TO MID-TRIB
There are three "woes" introduced by the sounding of the fourth trumpet in Revelation 8:12-13. The first "woe" passes in Revelation 9:12, the second in Revelation 11:14, and the third comes quickly in Revelation 12:12 bringing us to the middle of the Tribulation. Phrases in chapters 11, 12 and 13 clearly show that the chronology has reached the mid-point of the Tribulation is those chapters:
THE FIRST AND LAST HALFS OF THE TRIB
"... the holy city shall they tread under foot FORTY AND TWO MONTHS. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall
prophesy A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THREESCORE DAYS ..." (Rev 11:2-3)
"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they
should feed her there A THOUSAND TWO
HUNDRED AND THREESCORE DAYS. ... And to
the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness,
her place, where she is nourished for A TIME, AND TIMES, AND HALF A TIME, from the
face of the serpent." (Rev 12:6, 14)
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power
was given unto him to continue FORTY AND
TWO MONTHS." (Rev 13:5).
Furthermore, observe that the vials occur after the mid-point of the Tribulation, and the seals and trumpets are before the mid-point. During the first half of the Tribulation the 144,000 and the "two witnesses" are seen on earth (Rev 7:2-8, 11:3-7), but during the last half of the Tribulation they are all seen in heaven (Rev 11:11-12; 14:1-5). They all "... know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And ... shall instruct many .... And ... turn many to righteousness ..." (Dan 11:32-33, 12:3). Their witness is in the first half of the Tribulation, but after the middle of the Tribulation (Rev 11, 12, 13) comes "... the night ... when no man can work" (John 9:4). After that time, during the last half of the Tribulation, the Antichrist reigns over the earth.
The first half of the Tribulation: At the beginning of the seven year Tribulation Temple worship will be reinstituted when the Antichrist confirms the covenant with many for seven years allowing sacrifice and the oblation to God (Dan 9:27). However, "the court which is without the temple ... is given unto the Gentiles" and they will desecrate "the holy city for these first "forty and two months" of the Tribulation (Rev 11:2, 8). God's "two witnesses" and others will be able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ during this time. This sacrifice, oblation and witnessing in honor of God Almighty will continue till the middle of the Tribulation.
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and
power was given unto him to continue forty and two
months. ... And it was given unto
him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over
all kindreds, and
tongues, and nations." (Rev 13:5, 7)
The last half of the Tribulation: At the mid-point of the seven year Tribulation the Antichrist "shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (Dan 9:27), kill the two witnesses (Rev 11:7) and will exalt "himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2 Thess 2:4). Also at this time Satan and his angels will be cast out of heaven to the earth (Rev 12:7-9) and that old serpent will empower the Antichrist (Rev 13:2, 4), and power will be given to the Antichrist beast to continue forty and two months (Rev 13:5). But saved Israel will be protected and nourished for a thousand two hundred and threescore days or three and a half years (Rev 12:6, 14; Matt 24:15-21).
SIGNS AND WONDERS IN HEAVEN
The Greek phrase, "semeion en ouranos" is found three times in Revelation. It is translated, "wonder in heaven" twice (Rev 12:1, 3) and "sign in heaven" once (Rev 15:1):
Note that John said in Revelation 15:1, "I saw ANOTHER sign in heaven" meaning that he must have seen signs in heaven before this one (i.e. the woman clothed with the sun and the great red dragon). "Another" here has to do with order of sequence. Therefore, it is speaking of an event after the middle of the Tribulation. This is clear from the next verse where it speaks of "them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name" (Rev 15:2), because the Antichrist's image, mark, and number were not instituted until the mid-point of the Tribulation (Rev 13:14-17)
"And there appeared a great WONDER IN HEAVEN; a woman clothed with the sun, and
the moon under her feet, and upon her head a
crown of twelve stars .... And there appeared
another WONDER IN HEAVEN; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten
horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." (Rev 12:1, 3)
"And I saw another SIGN IN HEAVEN, great and marvellous, seven angels having THE
SEVEN LAST PLAGUES; for in them is filled up
the wrath of God." (Rev 15:1)
Furthermore, John also "looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. ... And they sung as it were a new song before the throne ... and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth." (Rev 14:1, 3) If the vial judgments of Revelation 15 and 16 are merely a replay of the seal judgments of Revelation 6 then how is it that the 144,000 were on earth in Revelation 7 just after the opening of the sixth seal, but here in Revelation 14 they are in heaven just prior to the poring out of the vials? The fact of the matter is that the vials are not a repeat of the seals, but are in fact subsequent to them.
It is, therefore, apparent that the Book of Revelation is a chronological record of the events of "... the things which thou [John] hast seen [Chapter 1], and the things which are [the Church Age - Chapters 2 & 3], and the things which shall be hereafter [after the Rapture - Chapters 4-22]" (Rev 1:19).
So here is the order of the Book of Revelation:
1. This present Church Age (Chapters 2 & 3).
2. The Rapture and the scene in heaven just prior to the beginning of the Tribulation (Chapters 4 & 5).
3. The beginning of the Tribulation with the opening of the first 6 seals (Chapter 6). One quarter of the Earth's population is wiped out by this time (Rev 6:8).
4. A parenthetical portion detailing the sealing of 144,000 Israelite soul winners who win multitudes to Christ, but are murdered sometime during the first half or at the mid-point of the Tribulation by the Beast's NWO system (Chapter 7).
5. The chronological opening of the 7th seal which institutes the 7 trumpet judgments, and the sounding of the first 4 trumpets (Chapter 8).
6. The sounding of the 5th and 6th trumpets, the 5th of which completes the first of three woes (Chapter 9). Up to this point a full 1/2 of Earth's population has been wiped out (Rev 6:8, 9:15), all within the first half of the Tribulation.
7. Then there are five parenthetical chapters concerning, 1) a mighty angel with a little book (Chapter 10), 2) God's two witnesses and the passing of the second "woe" (Chapter 11), 3) Satan's being cast out of Heaven and his attempts to destroy Israel (Chapter 12), 4) the Antichrist, his False Prophet and the Image of the beast (Chapter 13), and 5) the revealing of the 144,000 in Heaven, angels flying in heaven preaching the everlasting gospel to them that dwell on the earth and prophesying doom to the lost, and the reaping of the lost and the treading of the winepress of the wrath of God (Chapter 14).
8. After the 5 parenthetical chapters comes the seven last plagues of the wrath of God (Chapters 15 & 16).
9. Then there are two more parenthetical chapters that describe the fall of Religious Babylon (Chapter 17), and Economic Babylon (Chapter 18).
10. After these things there is great joy in Heaven in anticipation of the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the Lord returns to destroy all the lost that remain on Earth, and He cast the Beast and his the false prophet alive into a lake of fire, then He casts Satan into the bottomless pit, and raises all the Old Testament & Tribulation saints to attend the marriage supper, and reigns on earth for 1000 years, and when the 1000 years are ended those who were born during that time who did not receive Christ will rebel when He releases Satan for a little season to test them, and then He will raise and judge all the lost of all ages and cast them into the lake of fire (Chapters 19 & 20).
11. The description of Heaven and eternity future and final warnings (Chapters 21 & 22).
It is manifestly evident that those who teach that the seals, trumpets and vials of the Book of Revelation are repetitious are absolutely wrong in their claim.
(c) Copyright 2004 by John Henry.
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