The book of Revelation is a prophetic summary of events which will swiftly
come to pass in the end-time.
The message of the book of Revelation was presented to
the apostle John in symbolic form. Having been 'signified'
(Rev 1:1), ie 'indicated', through prophetic visions and
To understand the book of Revelation it is necessary to
grasp its simplistic message and relate its symbolism to
scriptures found in other books.
Many attempting to explain the book of Revelation incorrectly take a purely
sequential approach, ie;
7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, 7 Bowls, 1,000 yrs, Judgement, New Heaven/Earth
As a result they confuse the message and end up depicting an excessive
number of separate events.
These pages explain the book of Revelation in the framework of only four
2) 1ST TRIBULATION / WITNESS
3) 2ND TRIBULATION / REST
The twofold nature of the period of tribulation is emphasized in other ways
in Scripture. Three important examples are;
The vision of the 4th beast of Daniel chapter 7.
1st Period - The beast with 10 horns
2nd Period - The beast with 7 horns and a little horn
The great flood.
1st Period - 150 days of increasing waters
2nd Period - 150 days of decreasing waters due to the dry wind
1st Period - sunset to midnight, meat eaten with bitter herbs
2nd Period - midnight to sunrise, rest
While a double tribulation is presented it is vital to realize that only
the second portion is described as the 'great tribulation'.
When interpreting the book of Revelation it is
critical to identify the existence of symbolic
references. Of these the most important and least
acknowledged are those which refer to the elements
of creation; ie heaven, earth, sea and rivers.
Heaven - The word 'heaven' in Revelation carries the idea of elevated.
Symbolically it is those in positions of actual or imputed
authority over the people of God.
Gen 37:9 'the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed
down to me'
:10 'Shall your mother and I and your brothers
indeed come to bow down ... before you?'
Typing the New Testament - Christ, church and 12 apostles.
Rev 1:20 'the seven stars are the angels(messengers) of
the seven churches'
Stars, are lesser symbolic lights; Ps 148:3, Dan 8:10,
Obad 1:4, Rev 6:13.
A symbolic 'New Heaven', Rev 21:1, replaces a destroyed
former symbolic 'Heaven'.
Earth - The word 'earth' in Revelation is Strong's reference 1093,
meaning soil or region - the firm part of the terrene globe.
Not the entire planet.
It represents the general populace of people connected with
the work of God. His footstool! Refer Isa 66:1, Matt 5:35,
The symbolic earth can be shaken (or removed), Psalm 46:2,
Isa 2:19,21; Hagg 2:21.
Sea - In Revelation Strong's reference 2281, implying a salt sea.
The place or people of the 'nations'.
Rev 12:12 'woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea'
Isa 60:5 'the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you'
Jude 1:12-13; Isa 23:11; Jer 5:22,6:22-23,51:42; Ezek 26:5;
Amos 9:3; Hagg 2:6-7.
Rivers - Strong's 4215, meaning drinkable running water.
Teachings, or associated teachers, of the word of God;
whether pure or polluted.
John 7:38 'out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'
Ezek 28:3-5; 32:2,13-14; Isa 5:29-30; Psalm 46:2, 74:13-14.
It is important to realize that the book of Revelation is not predicting
the destruction of the literal heavens and earth! The physical elements
and the lives of people are not endangered!
The book of Revelation is presented in the following manner.
Seven churches 2:1-3:22
Throne of God 4:1-11
Introduction to seals 5:1-14
First six seals 6:1-17
Great multitude 7:9-17
Seventh seal 8:1
Introduction to trumpets 8:2-6
First six trumpets 8:7-9:21
Little book 10:1-11
Two witnesses 11:1-14
Seventh trumpet 11:15-19
Beasts Sea/Land 13:1-18
Lamb/144,000 & New Song 14:1-5
Three Angels 14:6-13
Introduction to bowls 15:1-16:1
Seven bowls/plagues 16:2-21
Woman and Beast 17:1-18
Fall of Babylon 18:1-19:10
Christ versus beast 19:11-21
Satan and 1,000 yrs 20:1-10
New heaven and earth 21:1-22:5