Although the Bible says the timeline of Christ’s return is not known, there is a specific timeline for Revelation and end times. John’s instructions for writing the book is a timeline, Revelation 1:19. His instructions are, “Therefore write the things which you have seen. . .” His instruction is the first of our time indicators for Revelation. The instruction intends for John to write about the past. What past does John see? The answer is chapters 2 and 3 about the churches. The church age is over. The church age began on the day of Pentecost in AD 30. When the church age began, the end times began, too. You are living in the end times age. The era of the church ends with the rapture that occurs prior to the tribulation period. However, the end times continues until after the tribulation period of seven years or the 70th week of Daniel’s prophesy, Daniel chapter 9.
The next end time indicator that is given John to write is, “and the things which are. . .” The time indicated here is the present. The present would be the time in which John is living. And would represent the time of chapter 1. He is exiled as a prisoner of the Romans to an Island called Patmos. In a vision John sees into the future. Presently, John is looking into heaven. He sees an image of Jesus the Lamb. Jesus is standing among seven golden lampstands. He is holding seven stars in his hands.
At the end of chapter 1, John is given an explanation of the seven lampstands and the seven stars. The seven golden lampstands represent the seven church types of chapters 2 and 3. The seven stars are the seven messengers or leaders of the seven churches. Some scholars believe these seven churches, described in chapters 2-3, are seven distinct times in history. I believe them to be representative types of our churches throughout history. I also feel that the messengers are “called” pastors to these seven church types.
Finally, the last timeline of Revelation that I want to explore is John’s instructions to write, “and the things that will take place after these things.” John is to write about future events in history. Most of his writing about the future takes place in seven years. When measured against history, seven years isn’t long at all; however, because of the severe destruction of property and loss of human life, the seven years will seem like eternity to those who survive them. These seven years take the rest of the book of Revelation, chapters 4-22.
When the voice says to John in 4:1b, “. . .come up here. . .” the church is called or raptured home. The church age is over, and the tribulation period, an event prophesied for the end times, soon begins. The timeline of the seven years of tribulation follows that not a lot of changes take place during the first three-and-a-half years. A new government will be ushered in. However, this government will control the whole world. The ruler, the antichrist, will take over the world through economic strategies. The world is ripe today for an econ-strategist to control the world.
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