4 Truth Ministry

Is Revelation in Chronological Order?

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By David Sheldon

Last Updated: March 21, 2023

In this article, we lay out the chronology of the Book of Revelation. This is easier said than done because some of the content overlaps from one chapter to the next. You might find content in one chapter occurring before something in a following chapter.

Revelation is similar to the book of Daniel in that it is not exactly in chronological order (see The Chronology of Daniel). But God has given a beautiful order to the book, and we hope you see that through the charts we provide.

While studying Revelation and striving to grasp the timing of things, let us not forget the main point of the book – The Revelation of Jesus Christ! As always, be sure to have your Bible open as you read through our articles. May God bless you in the reading of His Word!

There are a total of nine charts. They can be downloaded as a packet. Or you can view each one individually on this webpage. They are available for download for free. However, we would appreciate any donations to help cover the costs of making these materials available. Thank you!
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Important Term: Interlude – An intervening period or event within the flow of the text. Can be historic, present or future.

Revelation Timeline Overlay

There are parts of Revelation that are in chronological order. Chapters 1-5, as well as the last four chapters (19-22) are in chronological order. But the middle chapters, 6-18, are not. The middle chapters have six separate themes, each with their own timeline. You can see this in the chart below.

Revelation Timeline Overlay

Though there are several different themes, each contributes to one big picture. That is, the rebellion of Satan/man, God’s sealing His own people and His final salvation in their perseverance, as well as the display of God’s glory and sovereignty in the midst of His great judgments!

Before we continue, remember that in 5 Reasons Why Revelation is Hard to Understand we discuss how Revelation:

    1. Uses symbols
    2. Includes past, present, and future events
    3. Can be connected to other texts, but not always
    4. Is a montage of events
    5. Is not necessarily specific as to the exact time or relative timing of all events

Revelation contains many symbols – each for the purpose of revealing truth! We must be careful to maintain each symbol and its details within their own particular context. When we piece each symbol together, we will “get” the big picture! We still may not understand every detail, and that is ok. We might not understand until they actually happen.

Jesus, Lord of His Church – Revelation 1-5

Revelation 1-5 Timeline

Overview: The Apostle John is given the Revelation of Jesus Christ which he faithfully records. John is in the Spirit when he sees the glorious Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of His church (chpt. 1). As the head of the church, the Lord Jesus gives encouragement, exhortation, instruction or command to each of seven churches in Asia Minor with a call to saints to pay attention to each (chpt. 2-3). John then sees the Lord God Almighty upon His throne being worshiped (chpt. 4). God is holding a scroll with seven seals in His right hand & heaven is weeping because no one is found worthy to open the scroll…EXCEPT the Lamb standing in the midst of the throne (chpt. 5)!

Helpful information: The ancients used Scrolls for information. They could be used as books. The Seven Seals held the book from being opened. The content of the actual Scroll is what we find in the rest of the book of Revelation. It is the destined plan and purpose of God in both salvation and judgment through Christ for time and eternity for mankind!

Seals – Revelation 6:1-8:1

Revelation 6:1-8:1 Timeline

Overview: The contents of the first five seals happen together in human history prior to the beginning of the very end times. They correspond with Jesus’ teachings on the things which should soon take place in Matthew 24:1-31, Mark 13:1-27 and Luke 21:5-28. They are the birth pains that Jesus speaks of that will unfold in human history and intensify up until the very end. The sixth and seventh seals are actually a depiction of extreme end time events.

For further study of Revelation 6:1-8:1, see:
Who Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Trumpets – Revelation 8:2-11:19

Revelation 8:2-11:19 Timeline

Overview:
These trumpets are the warning signs that the “day of the Lord” (a short period of time of God’s judgments) is already present upon the earth. The day (single day) of the Lord will soon happen! The first four trumpets emphasize the beginning destructions of the planet with resulting deaths, whereas the final three (called woes) emphasize the incredible increase of pains upon mankind in relation to the judgments. But God has carefully measured out both His protection of His own as well as the extent of His judgments. He sends two witnesses who prophesy! A question arises in the text: Where is the specific statement regarding the third woe? (Can you find it?) We give what we believe to be the answer.

For further study of Revelation 8:2-11:19, see:
Who Are the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11?
What are the Trumpets and Bowls of Revelation?

Satan – Revelation 12

Revelation 12 Timeline

Overview: This timeline/overlay initially takes us back in time from the Book of Revelation to the Warfare of Satan (the Great Red Dragon) against God and His plans. It shows the Woman, Israel, (through Mary) about to give birth to a Male Child, the Messiah, Jesus. It depicts his desire to destroy Christ, via Herod. (See Matthew 2:13) It even goes back before Satan’s appearance in the Garden of Eden (to tempt Adam and Eve) with references to Satan’s fall with his angels in verses 3,4a. It speaks of Christ’s ascension and Satan’s on-going conflict with the Woman and her other offspring, and God’s protection of Her. In preparation of the end time conflicts upon the earth and God’s judgments, Michael and his angels war against Satan and his demons. God’s angels win this angelic battle and kick Satan and the demons to earth, where Satan carries out his rage against God and mankind at the end of this present evil age.

Beasts – Revelation 13-14

Revelation 13-14 Timeline

Overview: This particular timeline/overlay is the first and most dramatic and specific reference we have of the connection of the book of Revelation with the Old Testament book of Daniel! The First Beast is the Central Player, the Apex, of man’s rebellion against God. This Beast is a final representative of all the beasts before it with its Seven Heads, and it also has Ten Horns. The Seventh Head (who is also an Eighth) is the Man of Lawlessness, the Antichrist. The Second Beast, the False Prophet, is the Chief Promotion and Implementation Officer of the First Beast. His workings are powerful signs to bring about allegiance to the Ten Horns via a Mark and worship of the Image and the Antichrist. God allows the Beast System to be empowered by Satan himself. However, their kingdom is short-lived from the perspective of their citizens as we get our first glimpse of those who worship the Beast meeting their death by God’s wrath. This particular aspect of the final fallen world system has a doom pronounced upon it: Fallen, Fallen is Babylon the Great! In the midst of all of this, God preserves a select remnant of His own choosing, the 144,000, and has His angels preach an eternal gospel calling people to fear God!

For further study of Revelation 13-14, see:
When and Where Will the Antichrist First be Seen?
The Beast from the Sea Part 1 – Seven Heads
The Beast from the Sea Part 2 – Ten Horns

Bowls – Revelation 15-16

Revelation 15-16 Timeline

Overview: Just before God pours forth the seven bowls, there is worship of God in heaven for His righteous justice. The bowls are the climax of God’s judgments upon the earth just before the mystery of God is finished, ie. Christ’s second coming. The first six bowls are devastating events brought upon people due to their sin. Then, the world is gathered together for the Battle of Armageddon. The seventh bowl is dramatic and cataclysmic events that signal the extreme nearness of the end of the age.

For further study of Revelation 15-16, see:
What are the Trumpets and Bowls of Revelation?

Babylon – Revelation 17-18

Revelation 17-18 Timeline

 

 

Overview: We are shown the Great Harlot and get our second look at the First Beast of Revelation 13. She is sitting upon this Beast as the final False Corporate Religion of the fallen world system, called Babylon. Both her and the Beast have a history depicted. The Beast allows her to ride upon him until he has no further use for her. Her headquarters are identified as Rome. We are next introduced to another Woman. She is depicted as a “Queen City” from which all of the earth’s idolaters have gotten rich. She is “Sensual Babylon” and she meets her doom in a single day by the hand of God. The world observes this destruction and is in anguish because of their loss.

For further study of Revelation 17-18, see:
The Great Harlot
Babylon in Revelation

Jesus, Eternal King – Revelation 19-22

Revelation 19-22 Timeline

Overview: The end of this age is finally here. There are multitudes in heaven who give “Four Hallelujah’s” for events that have occurred and the reality of God’s reign (which is soon to be quite dramatically seen upon the earth). The bride has prepared herself for Marriage to the Lamb. The Lord Jesus Christ descends from Heaven on a White Horse with the hosts of heaven and devastatingly destroys those who were gathered for battle against Him at Armageddon. He casts the Beast and the False Prophet into the Lake of fire. He binds Satan for a thousand years, which is His Millennial Reign upon the earth! After this time Satan is freed and he leads the world against God and the saints. The rebels are destroyed and Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire. The Great White Throne judgment occurs. This is followed by the “eternal state.” New Heavens, New Earth, the New Jerusalem, the River of Life and the Tree of Life. God is King and His people dwell perfectly with Him. John then relays closing remarks.
Helpful information: These texts relate to the fact of Revelation 1:1a & 3b – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place;….for the time is near NASB

5 Reasons Why Revelation is Hard to Understand

There are several reasons why the Book of Revelation is hard to understand. Grasping these five should give confidence to keep reading & studying the book!

The Beast from the Earth Part 2: The Image and Mark

The Beast from the Earth in Revelation 13 is one of three main players in the global system at the end of this age, along with the Beast from the Sea and the Great Harlot.

The Beast From the Sea Part 3: The Antichrist

The Beast from the Sea is one of three main players in the final world kingdom. Its leader is the Antichrist. He has several defining characteristics and doings.

The Beast From the Earth Part 1: The False Prophet

The Beast from the Earth is a prominent player in the final world system. There are several facets to it including a leader (The False Prophet), mark, & image.

Who are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

We must correctly understand the four horsemen of the apocalypse in order to properly understand the rest of Revelation. Who are they and what is their mission?

When and Where Will the Antichrist First be Seen?

2 Thessalonians 2:3 states specifically that the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, will be revealed in the end times. Scripture tells us the circumstances.

Who are the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11?

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 proclaim a message of repentance and judgment for a period of 1,260 days during the first half of the end-time tribulation.

What are the Trumpets and Bowls of Revelation?

The trumpets and bowls found in Revelation are specific events of God’s judgments that will take place at the end of the age. They are very similar to each other.

Is the Rapture of the Church Found in Revelation 4?

Some believe John’s experience in Revelation 4:1-2 is representative of the rapture of the church before the seven year tribulation period. Is this the case?

When Was Revelation Written?

It was towards the end of Domitian’s reign that John received the vision. We could surmise about 91-96 A.D. And he wrote Revelation while he was still on the island of Patmos.

Resolute Book on Amazon
Somewhere East of Eden

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