Understanding Revelation

The key to understanding Revelation is found in the first chapter of Revelation. Read on and discover for yourself! Watch this video for a quick explanation of the tribulation period of the bible.

The command to John in Revelation 1, verse nineteen gives the key to the book of Revelation. Understanding revelation is dependent upon using the key. There are three divisions to the book of Revelation.

Write the things which you have seen (Rev 1:19),

This is past tense; so, it was this vision that he wrote of Jesus Christ that he saw in chapter one.


the things which are (Rev 1:19),

These are the present things.

And thirdly,

the things which shall be hereafter (Rev 1:19);

The words “here after” are a translation of the Greek words “meta autos”, which means “after these things”. So John is writing that which he saw. He will be writing in chapters two and three the things which are during this present age, the things of the church. And then as you begin in chapter four, he is going to write of the things that happen after the church is gone, the things that will be hereafter, or after these things. Understanding revelation is important. It helps us to gain insight into current world affairs and understand where we’re at in the prophetic timeline.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants–things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 

Revelation is not a sealed book that is without understanding. It is the revealed testimony and prophecy of God. These things will come to pass on the earth. God gave it to Jesus. Jesus sent his angel to show it to John which he then wrote in the book. Things which must shortly take place doesn’t mean that they should have happened 2000 years ago when this was written. It means that the next event on the prophetic timeline is at hand. The appearing of Jesus and the rapture of the church will begin this event. Once initiated, all things will shortly come to pass; seven years to be exact.

3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. 

(As one reads, studies, hears, and keeps the words of this prophecy; one receives blessing and comfort. This is another key to understanding Revelation. Again, the time is at hand. The next event on the prophetic timeline is the appearing of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church.)

The Book of Daniel

Understanding prophecy is the key to understanding Revelation. The book of Daniel is also a key to understanding Revelation. In Daniel we find that one of the chief angels of God came and informed Daniel and talked to him and said 9:22 “I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

Seventy weeks are determined. (Dan 9:22-24) (The word weeks in Hebrew means sevens.) Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city or seventy “seven year periods.” (Dan 9:24), Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Dan 9:25)

Seven weeks and threescore and two weeks

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: (this would be equal to seven weeks of years and 62 weeks of years or 69 weeks of years. One week short of the 70 weeks required to finish the transgression, seal up the vision, and to anoint the most Holy. Then, the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: (Messiah was cut off. Jesus was crucified and cut off before receiving His Kingdom. This happened 69 weeks of years after the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem was given.) And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and its end shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (The people of the prince did come and destroy Jerusalem and the sanctuary.)

The Destruction of Jerusalem

SEPTEMBER 8th, 70 AD, the destruction of Jerusalem was complete. Titus, the future Roman Emperor, had starved the city for months. At the end of July, they broke through the walls and, according to historian Josephus, the Romans killed over a million Jews in their conquest.

The final week of years or 7 year period hasn’t happened yet. We have 69 weeks of years up and until the death of Christ who was cut off before receiving His Kingdom. The best way to describe it is that we are in a holding pattern. After the death of Christ a new age was instated. We are currently living in the Church age. At the end of this age (which is getting close) the final week of years or 7 year tribulation period will begin.

Revelation chapters 4-22 describe this period and beyond. Notice also that the consummation time is poured out upon the desolate, not the church. The church isn’t around during this time. This is a key to understanding Revelation. Now we jump forward to the middle of the final seven-year period.

Daniel 9:27 And he (speaking of antichrist here whom Titus was a type) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: (one week referring to the final week which is missing from the 70 weeks of years) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

69 weeks of years

Now, 69 weeks of years is an important date in history because according to the prophecy, from the time that commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens, or sixty-nine seven-year cycles, or 483 years. 483 years from March 14, 445 B.C., according to the prediction, the Messiah should have come.

The years in the prophecies of Daniel are 360-day years which were based upon the Babylonian calendar of a 360-day year. We use a Julian calendar of 365 and a quarter days a year. But Daniel’s prophecies were based upon the Babylonian calendar 360 days a year. It would be better to transpose the 483 years into days in order to figure out the time of the coming of the Messiah the Prince. And transposed into days, 483 times 360 would give you 173,880 days. Work it to our calendar and you’ll find it comes out to the date Jesus came on a donkey to Jerusalem.

Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey

On this day., Jesus said to His disciples, “Go over into the city and on a corner you’ll find a colt that is tied. Untie him and bring him to me. And if while you are untying him the master say, ‘What are you doing untying my colt?’ just tell them that the Lord has need of him.” They went over and just where Jesus told them they saw the donkey tied and they untied it.

The owner said, “Why are you untying my donkey?” And they said, “Lord the needs him.” And they brought the donkey to Jesus and they began to lay their garments in the path between Bethany and Jerusalem. They began to wave palm branches as they cried, “Save now, save now, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Psalm 118 declares, “This is the stone which was rejected by the builders, but the same has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s work and it is glorious in our eyes. Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord. This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

There is one seven-year cycle that has not yet transpired. Seventy sevens are determined upon the nation Israel. These seventy sevens were to begin at the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, 445 B.C. They were to culminate in the coming of the Messiah. That is, sixty-nine of them. But the Messiah would be cut off. The prophetic time clock stopped at that point. There is another event that will signal the beginning of the time clock.

The Prince of the People

(We’re still in Daniel Verse 27. This is the beginning of the tribulation period.) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week (the middle of the tribulation period) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate?

The prince of the people that shall come or the ruler of the revived Roman Empire that would be represented by ten nations federating together which were once a part of the Roman Empire. Go back to Daniel, chapter 2. Nebuchadnezzar had a vision of a great image, the legs of iron representing the Roman Empire and the feet of iron and clay with ten toes. Iron representing still the Roman Empire but mixed with clay showing that it is not as strong as the Roman Empire. It is weakened because it is a democracy, nations that are joined together with treaties.

Then there is the parallel vision of Daniel as he sees them as a beast with ten horns in chapter 7. This other little horn comes up and devours three of the horns. So the leader that will arise over this ten-nation confederacy related to the Roman Empire will confirm the covenant with many for one week (Dan 9:27): or seven years.

Not with all of Israel, but with many of them. When he confirms the covenant it will not be with everyone in support of it, but with many. He will probably confirm the covenant that God established with Israel whereby they could relate to Him on the basis of sacrifices that they would offer.

The Dome of the Rock

But wait. How can this be accomplished with the Dome of the Rock Mosque sitting up there on the Holy mountain? It would appear that the site of Solomon’s temple was not there at the Dome of the Rock Mosque. But the Dome of the Rock Mosque sits over what was the outer court of Solomon’s temple.

North of the Dome of the Rock Mosque a large vast flat area, perhaps as much as ten acres, in which they can easily rebuild their temple and never disturb the holy Muslim sight. This will probably be the suggestion. In John’s vision of the new temple, Revelation, chapter 11, where John is ordered to measure it, the Lord said, “Don’t measure the outer court; it’s been given to the pagans.” In Ezekiel, when he sees the temple, he says, “And there was a wall, five hundred meters to separate the holy place from the profane.” And so probably a wall will be put up along the north side of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, and the Jews will be allowed to rebuild their temple and will begin their sacrifices again.

The last 7 years

And when that covenant is confirmed by the little horn, the prince of the people, then at that point the last seven-year cycle will begin. The seventieth seven, the final seven-year cycle will begin. When it’s completed, God’s reign on earth will be established. It will complete the whole prophetic picture.

(This prince of the people will break the covenant halfway through the tribulation period. He’s a liar. 2 Thess 2:3 describes this guy.)

2 Thess 2:3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

(In other words, the Holy Spirit has His hands on things at the present time. When the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, then the wicked one will be revealed.)

The Churches which are in Asia

4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: 

(Seven is the complete church. There were more than seven churches at the time of this writing.) 

Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 

Jesus comes twice

(We know that Jesus is coming in two different ways. He is coming as a thief in the nigh

t and also with power and great glory in the clouds. The cloud reference is described in Matthew 24:29. This comes at the end of the tribulation period. The thief reference occurs at the beginning of the same period. Matthew 24:36 describes this event. Things are normal at the beginning or just before the tribulation period. This is when He comes as a thief. People aren’t expecting Him.)

Explanation of the two comings

Matthew 24:29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

(We know when this day will happen. It’s immediately after the tribulation)

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (His elect will enter into the Millennium after the tribulation)

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors.2 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

(What day? This is a different day than the one in verse 30. No one knows when this one will happen. The one in verse 30 happens at the end of the tribulation period. The bible is now talking about a secret day.)

The secret coming

Verse 37. But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

(Things are pretty normal when this day happens. This is in contrast to the day in verse 30 which happens at the end of the tribulation period. Things are not normal at all at the end of the tribulation period!)

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

(These people are taken on the secret day which is before the tribulation period.)

Meta Autos

Chapter four begins with the Greek words “meta autos”. “After these things, I saw a door open in heaven: and the first voice was as of a trumpet saying unto me; Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be”. Again the repetition of the Greek words “meta autos”, “after these things.” So you enter into the third section of the book when you get to chapter four. So, you get into the future aspects of the book. This is a key to Understanding Revelation.

We are now living in the eras of chapters two and three, “the things which are”. The church continues to exist, and the testimony and the witness of the church, and the witness of Jesus concerning His church, which is even more important. This is a key to understanding Revelation.

So, there are three separate sections of the book. If you don’t get this you are going to be constantly confused and mixed up. You will see the church in the midst of the tribulation and try to make the 144,000 the church and so on. There are all kinds of mixed up and exaggerated ideas that have come from the book of Revelation, because people did not see the key in this first chapter here.

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