Revealing Revelation – A Three Act Play

14Mar11

We now will begin to dig a little deeper into the structure of the Book of Revelation. We will discover how the book is laid out and the way with which the information and visions are delivered. This directly impacts the subject matter of the book and it is with this that we look at the book of Revelation from the point of view of what it is going to be discussing.

THREE ACT PLAY

We are told from the outset how the book is to be divided.

Rev 1:19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.

John is told from the outset to write of things of which he has seen, the things that currently are and those things that will take place after this. It is important to note at this point that in the very first verse we are told the things that are to take place will take place soon.

As an aside I would like to point out that these things are events or “things” that were to take place soon. To allegorize the entire book as is the want of many does a disservice to the introduction that declares that these things were to actually take place in real time and space.

But for our purposes here we want to limit the discussion to how the book claims it is to be divided. John is told to discuss things that he has seen, the things that are and the things that will take place after this. This means we need to see if there is a dividing point in the book itself.

THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN

The easiest point to note of division is the things that have been. Logically anything that John witnessed before the command to write down these visions would be considered that which he saw. This would include the risen Christ (vv 12-16) and the Seven Churches represented by the seven lampstands.

This makes for a very short first act, but note that there is quite a bit he has seen which includes the visible presence of the Son of Man. This powerful description is used for effect to make the reader aware of the Lord’s current place, position and prominence. This awesome description makes the point beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord Jesus lives and He reigns!

I should note that there are some places later in the book in which John refers to past events, but these are not things that he has “seen” in the past or since the vision began. One most notable would be the fall of Satan and the birth of Christ. These visions may be of past events but they are things he “saw” after the command to write. These events are also simply used to make obvious introduction and commentary as to who the characters are in the book. He wants at that point in the book for the reader to understand that the dragon that fell is the devil and the child that was born was Jesus Christ Christ. These are in the form of introduction and confirmation, not biography.

But where is the dividing line of the things that are and the things yet to be seen?

THE THINGS THAT ARE

Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.

So, beginning with chapter four we are introduced to the things that are to take place “after this.” That leaves the things that are the letters to the seven churches. The current reality of what was being faced by those in those churches and the Church universal that would also receive this letter was one of tribulation, doubt, struggle, persecution and multiple heresies.

This also hurts the “Church Age” view of many futurist. As discussed previously a very popular view is that each of the seven churches represent a different time in history for the Church Age, This is hurt, though, by the fact that Jesus declares and makes known that the letters to the Churches are clearly the things that “are.” This present reality demand of the passage greatly weakens the Church Ages view.

THE THINGS THAT TAKE PLACE AFTER THIS

As seen above the first verse of chapter four gives us the indicator that that things discussed after chapter 4, verse 1 are those things that must shortly take place. This includes chapters 4 through at least 19. The only place one could make a logical argument that a length of great time can be inserted would be the point at which we are introduced to the millennium. This, of course will be discussed in much great detail in future posts. For our purposes the point is the with chapter 4 we are shown the things that will take place after this.

I realize this was mentioned above but I simply cannot stress enough that John is writing things that actually take place! What those are may be open for debate, and debate we have gotten, but denying they are actual is quite troubling to the authenticity of the word.

In the following post we will look at the position some have postulated that there are actually two different prophecies given in Revelation. We will look at this view in the upcoming post.

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