12. It has three Parts: I. The Preface (Revelation 1:1-11). II. The Treatment, the seven Prophetic visions concerning the state of the militant Church of Christ in the earth (Revelation 1:12-22:5). III. The Epilogue (Revelation 22:6-21). Interpreters of the book, Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic; and also a Synoptic Table.
The best Interpreters of this book, both ancient, and more recent, generally outline it in three parts. For, first, is narrated the book’s Introduction, that is, inscription, subscription, salutation, and summary of the book (Revelation 1:1-11). Second, seven vision, concerning the state of the Church of Christ militant in the earth, are set forth (Revelation 1:12-22:5). Third, an Epilogue, and in it the words of an Angel, an attempt of John to worship him, a commandment to publish the book, the words of Christ, and the sealing of the book, are woven together (Revelation 22:6-21).
I. The Introduction to the book, that is, its inscription, subscription, salutation, and summary, Chapter 1:1-11.
A Revelation is sent by Christ through an Angel to John, who in turn proclaims the reader and hearer of the word of Prophecy blessed (verses 1-3), and inscribes it to seven Churches, with a prayer for grace from God and Christ (verses 4-6); and likewise a summary of the book, that Christ is going to come in the clouds, and all lands are going to weep over Him, and that He is the beginning and the end (verses 7, 8): he relates that it was shown to him, while he was living on Patmos, with a great voice, like that of a trumpet, heard (verses 9-11): chapter 1:1-11.
II. Seven Visions concerning the state of Christ’s Church, militant on this earth, Chapters 1:12-22:5. See:
1. The first Vision, and in it the Son of Man walking among the seven candlesticks, dictating just so many Epistles to the seven Churches: chapters 1:12-3:22. In which are:
a. A description of the Son of Man walking among the seven candlesticks, whose habit, head, feet, voice, right hand, and voice are described (verses 12-16); and also His words, with which He strengthened John, fainting on account of that vision (verses 17, 18); He commands him to write the visions (verse 19), and explains the mystery of the seven stars and seven candlesticks (verse 20): chapter 1:12-20.
b. The Epistles to the seven Angels of the Churches: chapters 2; 3.
α. To the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, whom He commends for his patience (verses 1-3), reproves for losing his first love (verse 4), calls to repentance and his first works (verse 5), commends for his hatred of the Nicolaitans (verse 6); promising to the one overcoming nourishment from the tree of life (verse 7): of Smyrna, whose patience and poverty He commends (verses 8, 9), with the addition of a consolation in trials and a promise to the overcomer (verses 10, 11): of Pergamos, whose constancy in his place, in which Satan dwells, He commends (verses 12, 13), but reproves his tolerance of the Nicolaitans (verses 14, 15), urging repentance, and promising hidden manna to the overcomer (verses 16, 17): of Thyatira, whose charity, faith, and service, He commends (verses 18, 19), and reproves his tolerance of the woman Jezebel, upon whom, as also upon those committing adultery with her, He denounces destruction (verses 20-23); He comforts those remaining not knowing the depths of Satan, while they retain what they have (verses 24, 25), and promises to the overcome power over the nations, and the morning star (verses 26-29): chapter 2.
β. To the Angel of the Church of Sardis; whose hypocrisy He reproves (verse 1), with vigilance and repentance commended to him (verses 2, 3), and walking in white promised to those remaining pious (verses 4-6): of Philadelphia, to whom He promises an open door, on account of his little strength and constancy (verses 7, 8), and also the humbling of certain ones of the Synagogue of Satan, claiming that they are Jews (verse 9), and, on account of his patience, preservation in the hour of trial (verse 10), commanding him to hold fast what he has (verse 11), and to the overcomer awarding the stability of a column and a new name (verses 12, 13): and of Laodicea, to whom, on account of his lukewarmness and hypocrisy, He threatens casting away (verses 14-17), urging him to buy from Him gold and eye-salve (verse 18), commending zeal, repentance, and promptness in opening the door to the one knocking (verses 19, 20), and to the overcomer promising a seating on the throne of the Father (verses 21, 22): chapter 3.
2. The second Vision, that is, of the throne, the lamb, the book, and of its seven seals opened by the lamb: chapters 4:1-8:1. See:
a. The Vision of the throne. In which John, with a door opened in Heaven, saw a throne there, and one sitting on the throne, like unto Jasper and Sardius (verses 1-3); around the throne a rainow, and twenty-four thrones and as many Elders (verse 4); and out of the throne seven candlesticks burning (verse 5), and a glassy sea; and in the midst of the throne four living creatures (verses 6-8), giving glory to the one sitting on the throne (verse 9), with the twenty-four Elders singing praises to the one sitting on the throne (verses 10, 11): chapter 4.
b. The Vision of the book, for the opening of which the creatures are appealed to in vain (verses 1-4), received by the lion, afterwards triumphant, of the tribe of Judah, and the lamb slain (verses 5-7), with the twenty-four Elders with harps and golden vials singing a new song to Him being altogether worthy, since He opens it (verses 8-10), and also innumerable Angels (verses 11, 12), and every creature chanting the same praises to the Lamb (verse 13): chapter 5.
c. The Vision of the seven seals opened by the Lamb, more particularly,
α. Of the first seal, and of the white horse seen in it, having a bow and conquering (verses 1, 2); of the second, and of the red horse seen in it, whose rider took peace from the earth (verses 3, 4); of the third, and of the black horse seen in it, whose rider was weighing on a balance silver for wheat (verses 5, 6); of the fourth, and of the pale horse seen in it, whose rider smote a fourth part of the earth with the sword (verses 7, 8); of the fifth, and of the souls slain under the altar seen in it, pleading for vengeance, to whome were given white robes (verses 9-11); of the sixth, and of the earthquake heard in it, the sun made black, the stars falling, the Heavens removed, Kings hiding themselves (verses 12-17): chapter 6.
β. Of the events connected with the opening of the sixth seal, namely, of the four winds of the earth restrained, until the servants of God are sealed on their foreheads (verses 1-3), with the number of the sealed of the lamb, while that restraint was lasting (verses 4-8); of the great multitude of every nation, standing before the throne and the lamb, and praising God and the lamb (verses 9, 10); of the Angels glorifying God (verses 11, 12); of those clothed in white robes, with the explanation that they have come out of great tribulation, and are before the throne of God, serving Him (verses 13-17): chapter 7.
γ. Of the seventh seal, with which opened there was silence in Heaven for about half an hour (verse 1): chapter 8:1.
3. The third Vision, and in it the seven Angels with as many trumpets sounding: chapters 8:2-11:19. In which:
a. John saw seven Angels standing before God, with the seven trumpets given to them, with one Angel, even Christ, offering in a censer the incense of the prayers of the Saints (verses 2-5); then the first Angel sounding, with hail and fire cast upon the earth, with a third part of the trees burned up, and the green grass (verses 6, 7); the second sounding, with a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea (verses 8, 9); the third sounding, with a great burning star falling from Heaven, which had the name Wormwood (verses 10, 11); the fourth sounding, with a third part of the sun, moon, and stars, smitten, and an Angel flying in the midst of Heaven, and crying woe (verses 12, 13): chapter 8:2-13.
b. He saw the fifth Angel sounding, with a star having fallen out of Heaven to the earth, to which was given the power of the abyss, with which opened, a smoke ascended, obscuring the sun and air (verses 1, 2), from which locusts went forth into the earth, to which was given power for five month to hurt those that did not have the seal on their foreheads (verses 4-6), the appearance of which (verses 7-10), and their King, the Angel of the Abyss, are described (verses 11, 12); the sixth sounding, with four Angels loosed, having been bound at the great river Euphrates, prepared to kill a third part of men, with the vast number of their equestrian armies (verses 13-16), the horses of which, having power in their mouths, are described as killing a third part, with the rest not repenting (verses 17-21): chapter 9.
c. He saw an Angel descending from Heaven with a little book in hand, and, with seven thunders issuing their voices, swearing that under the seventh trumpet all things are to be consummated (verses 1-7), with John commanded to eat the little book received from the hand of the Angel (verses 8-10), and to prophesy before people, tongues, and Kings (verse 11): chapter 10.
d. John is commanded to measure with a rod the temple of God, the altar, and those worshipping in it (verse 1), with the altar-court left out, given to the Gentiles treading the holy city under foot for forty-two months (verse 2), with two witnesses prophesying in the meantime, whose standing is set forth (verses 3, 4), and their power of punishing their adversaries by fire proceeding out of their mouth (verses 5, 6), their completed Prophecy, death by the beast, and exposure of their bodies for three and a half days (verses 7-10), their resurrection and ascension into Heaven before the faces of their enemies (verses 11, 12), with an earthquake made in the meantime, and a tenth part of the city falling, and thus the second woe passing (verses 13, 14). With the seventh Angel then sounding, and voices heard from Heaven, saying that the Kingdoms of the world were made the Kingdoms of Christ (verse 15), and with the twenty-four Elders worshipping God (verses 16-18), and with the Temple of God in Heaven opened, and the ark of the covenant seen, and an earthquake made, and hail (verse 19): chapter 11.
4. The fourth Vision, and in it the war of the Dragon and the woman, the two beasts, and the victory of the Lamb over them: chapters 12-14. See:
a. The war of the Dragon. In Heaven is seen a woman clothed with the sun, being in labor (verses 1, 2), against whom the Dragon lies in ambush (verses 3, 4), and who, after the birth of her man child, who was in turn caught up to God, flees into the desert, to be fed there for one thousand, two hundred and sixty days (verses 5, 6), with a war breaking out in Heaven between Michael and his Angels, and the Dragon and his Angels, who, having been defeated because of the blood of the Lamb, are cast into the earth, with the inhabitants of Heaven rejoicing, but with a woe denounced against the inhabitants of the earth and sea on account of the Devil’s great anger (verses 7-12), with the Dragon in the meantime persecuting the woman, who with wings given to her flees into the desert (verses 13, 14), with the serpent sending forth water as a flood against her, absorbed by the earth (verses 15, 16), when the Dragon, in a rage, declares war against the remaining seed of the woman (verse 17): chapter 12.
b. The Vision of the Beasts, both the former, which, ascending out of the sea, had seven heads, and ten horns, and on those diadems, like unto a leopard (verses 1, 2), which, having received power from the Dragon, and with one of his heads wounded to death, but healed again (verse 3), is worshipped together with the Dragon (verse 4), and, with a mouth received speaking blasphemies, and also the power of making war for forty-two months (verse 5), blasphemes monstrously (verse 5), makes war on the saints, overcomes them, and is worshipped by the inhabitants of the earth (verses 6-10); and the latter, ascending out of the earth, having horns like unto a Lamb, but speaking after the likeness of the Dragon (verse 11), exercising the power of the first beast, and compelling to worship the first beast (verse 12), performing great signs, and through them seducing, and persuading the inhabitants of the earth to make an image of the first beast, in which he breathed the spirit of the first beast, that it might do similar things (verses 13-15), with a mark also given to its worshippers on the hand and forehead for the purpose of buying and selling (verses 16, 17), with the number of it, six hundred and sixty-six, indicated (verse 18): chapter 13.
c. The War of the Lamb with the Beast. The Lamb was standing on mount Sion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand saints (verse 1); a voice was also heard from heaven, and the voice of harpers singing a new song, not understood except by the thousands of saints, virgins, following the Lamb (verses 2-5). One Angel was flying in the midst of Heaven, having the eternal Gospel, commanding to fear God, and to give glory to Him (verses 6, 7). Another Angel announces the fall of Babylon (verse 8). A third Angel gravely forbids the worship of the Beast and his image, and the receiving of the mark on the hand or forehead (verses 9-12). A voice from Heaven is heard, commanding to write, that blessed are those that are dead (verse 13). One like to a son of man appears in a cloud (verse 14), to whom an Angel cries out, that he should send his sickle into the harvest, to whom, being about to reap, he delivers it (verses 15, 16), with another Angel coming out of Heaven, and having a sharp sickle, to whom another Angel cries out to send it forth, and to reap the clusters of the earth (verses 17, 18), to whom yielding obedience, he casts the reaped clusters of the earth into the winepress of the wrath of God (verse 19), out of which trampled, the winepress went forth unto the bridles of the horeses (verse 20): chapter 14.
5. The fifth Vision of the seven vials, and the judgment of the harlot: chapters 15-19. See:
a. The Vision of the seven vials: chapters 15; 16: in which:
α. John sees seven Angels in Heaven, having the seven last plagues (verse 1), a glassy sea, and the victors over the beast, having harps, and singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb (verses 2-4), with the seven Angels going forth from the Temple of the tabernacle in Heaven, having the seven plagues, to whom one of the seven living creatures gave the seven golden vials, full of wrath (verses 5-7), after which the Temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God (verse 8): chapter 15.
β. The Angels pour out the vials, in which, with the first pouring out upon the earth, a grievous sore afflicts the worshippers of the beast (verses 1, 2); with the second upon the sea, it was made blood, and every living thing in it was made death (verse 3); with the third upon the rivers, whence they became blood, avenging the blood of the saints (verses 4-7); with the fourth upon the sun, from which burning, men blasphemed the name of God (verses 8, 9); the with fifth upon the throne of the beast, whose Kingdom thence was made dark (verses 10, 11); with the sixth upon the river Euphrates, the water of which dried up, so that a way might be prepared for the Kings of the East (verse 12), and from the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the False Prophet went forth three unclean spirits like unto frogs, soliciting Kings to the great war of Armageddon (verses 13-16); and with the seventh upon the air, a great Voice out of the Temple announced that it was accomplished, upon which thunders and a great earthquake erupted, the great city was divided into three parts, and mention of Babylon is made before God, and a great plague was inflicted by hail (verses 17-21): chapter 16.
b. The Vision concerning the judgment of the harlot: chapters 17-19: In which:
α. One of the seven Angels having the vials shows to John the judgment of the great whore (verses 1, 2), with his spirit carried away into the desert, where he saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, having a name written on her forehead, Mystery, Babylon the Great (verses 3-5), drunk with the blood of the saints (verse 6). He explains to John, marveling at her, the mystery of the woman and the beast (verses 7-15), and that the ten horns of the beast are going to hate the whore and leave her desolate (verses 16, 17), and that the woman is the great city, having Dominion in the earth (verse 18): chapter 17.
β. An Angel, descending from Heaven, cries out, that great Babylon has fallen (verses 1-3). Another voice commands to go out from there (verses 4, 5), to retaliate against her, and to pay her back double (verses 6, 7), indicating that in one day plagues are going to come to her, and consuming fire (verse 8), her lovers are going to wail over her (verses 9, 10), and the merchants (verses 11-16), shipmasters, the company in ships, and sailors (verses 17-19), but that Heaven, the Apostles, and the Prophets are going to rejoice (verse 20), with one Angel adumbrating that swift judgment by the type of the great stone cast into the sea (verse 21), and with the voice of the harpers and musicians, and others being found in her no more (verses 22-24): chapter 18.
γ. A voice as of a great trumpet in Heaven praises God and His judgments (verses 1-3), and the twenty-four Elders and four living creatures worship God (verse 4). A voice from the throne calls the servants of God to the praise of God (verse 5). The voice of a great multitude congratulates the Lord for the Kingdom taken, and the marriage of the Lamb and His wife (verses 6-9), with John, being about to worship the Angel, prohibited from doing this (verse 10), and then seeing Heaven opened, and in it one Faithful and True sitting on a white horse, who is called the Word of God (verses 11-13), from whose mouth went forth a sharp sword, so that with it He might smite the nations (verses 14, 15), having on His vesture and thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords (verse 16): also with an Angel standing on the sun, inviting all birdes under Heaven to the supper of the great God, that they might eat the flesh of Kings, etc. (verses 17, 18), with the Beast prepared for war with the one sitting upon the horse, but soon cast into the lake of fire and brimstone with the False Prophet (verses 19, 20), with the rest killed by the sword of the one sitting on the horse (verses 21): chapter 19.
6. The sixth Vision concerning the Dragon bound, loosed, and cast into the lake of fire, the white throne, the judgment out of the books, and the resurrection of the dead: chapter 20.
John saw an Angel descending from Heaven, having to key to the Abyss, binding the Drago for a thousand years, and casting him into the abyss (verses 1-3), while in the meantime he saw thrones, the souls of those slain, those not worshipping the beast, and reigning with Christ for a thousand years, with the rest of the dead not rising before a thousand years (verses 4, 5), and with those proclaimed blessed, who have a part in the first resurrection (verse 6); with the thousand years complete, loosing Satan (verse 7), who went forth to seduce the nations, Gog and Magog, ascending on the breadth of the earth, surrounding the the camp of the saints and the beloved city (verses 8, 9), but was again cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (verse 10); with John seeing a white throne, and one sitting on it, with earth and Heaven fleeing (verse 11), the dead judged from the opened books (verses 12, 13), and death and hell cast into the lake of fire (verses 14, 15): chapter 20.
7. The seventh Vision, of the new Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem, and of the bride: chapters 21:1-22:5. In which:
a. Saint John saw a new Heaven and a new earth (verse 1), and also the holy city, Jerusalem, descending from Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (verse 2), which is described as the tabernacle of God (verse 3), freeing from mourning (verse 4), with the one sitting on the throne making all things new (verses 5, 6), assigning an inheritance to the overcomer, but a part in hell to the fearful, etc. (verses 7, 8). Then one of the seven Angels having the vials shows to John the Bride, the life of the Lamb, holy Jerusalem, of which the light (verses 9-11), and the walls (verse 12-14) he shows, and with a golden reed measures the city, gates, and well, and variously described them (verses 15-27): chapter 21.
b. The same Angel shows to John the river of life, clear, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb (verses 1, 2), with every curse removed, and with the Lamb’s servants seeing His face (verses 3, 4), with all night banished (verse 5): chapter 22:1-5.
III. The Epilogue, and in it the words of an Angel, with John attempting to worship him, the commandment to publish the book, the words of Christ, the sealing of the Canon, Chapter 22:6-21.
The Angel commends to John his words, as having been sent from heaven (verses 6, 7); John, being about to worship him, is reproved (verses 8, 9), and is forbidden to seal the words of this Propehcy (verses 10, 11). Christ promises His coming, promises to believers a right to the tree of life (verses 12-14), excludes dogs, etc. (verse 15), testifies that He sent the Angel (verse 16). The Spirit and the bride pant after His coming (verse 17). Finally, John seals the canon (verses 18-20), and closes with a prayer (verse 21): chapter 22:6-21.