The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 1:1-2
In the opening verse, we are told that the Revelation was written to show God’s servants the events that must soon take place. The Revelation was not written to give us a symbolic description of the battle between good and evil, or to assure us that God wins in the end, etc. Instead, the Revelation was written to show us the specific events that will take place in the Last Days. It is important to note that in this verse, the events of the Last Days are described as the things that must take place. In the original, the word that is translated as must comes from the Greek word meaning necessary (Strong’s 1163), which further emphasizes the inevitability of these events. Accordingly, we are never told to pray for the events of the Revelation to not take place or given instructions on how to avoid them.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Rev. 1:3
The blessing that comes to those who read aloud the words of the prophecy refers to those who teach from the book of the Revelation. Those who take to heart the words of the prophecy is a reference to those who observe the words of the Revelation. The broader implication of this phrase is that there will be many, perhaps the majority, who will not be willing to accept or take to heart what it says. This inability to “hear” the words of the prophecy shows up in the many doctrines which highlight the “good parts” of the Revelation while passing over or explaining away the “bad parts” of what John was shown. Accordingly, the most important factor in understanding the Revelation is the willingness to take to heart what it says.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
The Revelation was written to the seven literal churches that were located in the province of Asia and that existed at the time of John. Accordingly, the earlier reference to the events that must soon take place refers to the things that would soon take place among these Seven Churches. However, as we will discover upon reading the Seven Letters, the events experienced by the Seven Churches are the same events that are occurring today and, thus, continue to fit the description of the things that must soon take place.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
When we read that at the coming of the Lord, those who pierced Him will see Him, it tells us that the Resurrection of the Dead will take place at the Return of Christ. Accordingly, we can place these two events together in our list of the things that will take place in the Last Days.
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Rev. 1:9
John’s example of someone who suffered affliction due to the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus will be repeated throughout the Revelation as previously seen in the account of the Prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven, and as further revealed in the following description of the Martyr’s of the Great Tribulation.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
From these passages, we learn that testimony of Christ and the Word of God will continue to be the subject of the wrath of Satan up and until the end of the Last Days.
On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” Rev. 1:10-11
As mentioned earlier, the Seven Churches were literal churches that existed in the First Century and that were located in what is now modern-day Turkey. Some have proposed that the Seven Churches represent seven Church ages, with the Seventh Church representing the end-time church. However, the circumstances that we will read about in the Seven Letters, including warnings about persecutions and false teachers etc., have continued to this day and therefore cannot be divided into to seven different time periods. Accordingly, all of the instructions found in each of the Seven Letters continue to apply to the Church today!
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Rev. 1:12-16
The voice of the Lord commanding John to, “Write down what you see”, and the vision of the Christ among the seven golden lampstands forms the testimony of John concerning the origin of the Revelation, which came from Jesus Christ and not from John himself.
The sharp double-edged sword, which John saw coming from the mouth of the Lord, is elsewhere described in the Scriptures as representing the Word of God. Accordingly, the picture of the sword coming from the mouth of the Lord is used in the Revelation to describe how the Son of Man will wage against the nations through the words that will come from His mouth, which in turn will bring about the great judgments that will strike down the nations.
Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. Rev. 19:15
The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. Rev. 19:21
The meaning of the seven lampstands and the seven stars will be explained in the concluding passage of this chapter.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Rev. 1:17-18
In the Scriptures, Hades (Sheol, or the pit, in the Old Testament) is described as being in the lower regions of the earth and sea and is where the righteous and unrighteous dead were kept separate from one another prior to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Following His crucifixion, Christ, also, descended to the lower regions (Hades), where He released His people from captivity and ascended with them to Heaven.
This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) Eph. 4:8-10
Today, Hades remains the place where the unrepentant dead descend to when they die to await judgment; while those who die in Christ ascend to Heaven where they rest in Paradise as seen in the account of the Thief on the cross.
Then he (the Thief on the cross) said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Lk. 23:42-43
On the Day of Judgment, the unrepentant dead will be expelled from Hades to be cast into the Lake of Fire (Hell).
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Rev. 20.19
From the above, we learn that Hades serves as the temporary prison of the unrighteous where they will be kept until they are thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death.
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. Rev. 1:19
The above command divides the Book of the Revelation into three sections as follows; (1) John’s testimony concerning his witness of Christ among the seven lampstands (what you have seen), (2) the events described in the Letters to the Seven Churches (what is now), and (3) the events that will take place at the end (what will take place later). As mentioned earlier, the events that we will read about in the Letters to the Seven Churches are continuing to this day, which places our current times in the section known as what is now. At the conclusion of these events, the world will face the final events of the Last Days, which will take place later and that are the subject of the majority of the Revelation.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Rev. 1:20
This chapter ends with John being given the meaning of the seven golden lampstands and the seven stars, which he he saw when the Lord first appeared to Him. As this passage states, the seven lampstands represent the Seven Churches, and the seven stars are the angels of the Seven Churches. The example of John being given the meaning of the seven stars and seven lampstands in the Revelation, itself, sets the precedent for how we are to interpret the words of the prophecy, that is, we are to use the Scriptures to interpret the Scriptures. In this way, the Revelation will explain itself.
Order of Events of the Last Days:
1. The Return of Christ
– The Resurrection of the Dead
 Lk. 16:19-31
Revelation Chapter 2
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Bryan Coray is the author of Keep Watch: The Order of Events of the Last Days. Available on Amazon