The Book of Revelation: Timetable for the End Time

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The Book of Revelation

Timetable for the End Time

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Does the book of Revelation give us additional details about events leading up to Christ’s return?

“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, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 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” (Revelation 1:1-3 Revelation 1:1-3 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John: 2 Who bore record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
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The book of Revelation—a revealing of the future—is history written in advance. It describes in detail the events leading up to Christ’s return, then tells us what will happen beyond that time. Be sure to look up and read these scriptures and surrounding passages in your Bible.

Does the book of Revelation confirm the sequence of events of Jesus Christ’s earlier prophecy?

Carefully read and study Revelation 6:2-8 Revelation 6:2-8 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword. 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and see a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine. 7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
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. Here the same conditions Jesus Christ described in the Olivet Prophecy are present in symbols: the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

The white horse represents a powerful, conquering religious deception. (Some assume that the rider of this horse is Jesus Christ, but a comparison with the description of the returning Christ in Revelation 19:11-16 Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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, and the sequence of events Christ gave in the Olivet Prophecy and the book of Revelation, shows they are not the same).

The red horse (the color of fire and blood) and its rider clearly represent warfare. The black horse and rider depict famine (note the comment about the outrageously high cost of food). The sickly colored pale horse represents the sickness and disease that inevitably follow warfare and food shortages.

How will the conditions represented by these four horsemen impact humanity?

“. . . And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8 Revelation 6:8And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
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According to this prophecy, war, violence, starvation and disease may take hundreds of millions of lives. These disasters will also affect animals, which will also take a large toll of human life through predation and spread of disease.

How does Revelation depict the sequence of events that will precede Christ’s return?

“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1 Revelation 5:1And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
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The book of Revelation depicts the events described in the Olivet Prophecy through a series of seven “seals.” In the time of the apostle John, who wrote this book under the inspiration of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1-2 Revelation 1:1-2 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John: 2 Who bore record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
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), official correspondence was customarily fastened with a wax seal. To read what was inside, the seal had to be broken and the scroll unrolled. This is what John saw in vision. (Be sure to study the charts on page 12 to better understand the flow of events described in the book of Revelation.)

What do these seven seals symbolize?

Revelation 6 describes the opening of the first six seals, which depict major events and trends. You should read this entire chapter carefully. The first six seals are:

First seal (Revelation 6:2 Revelation 6:2And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
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): religious deception (compare Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
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).

Second seal (Revelation 6:3-4 Revelation 6:3-4 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword.
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): war (compare Matthew 24:6-7 Matthew 24:6-7 6 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
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).

Third seal (Revelation 6:5-6 Revelation 6:5-6 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and see a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine.
American King James Version×
): famine (compare Matthew 24:7 Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
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Fourth seal (Revelation 6:7-8 Revelation 6:7-8 7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
American King James Version×
): disease (compare Matthew 24:7 Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
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).

Fifth seal (Revelation 6:9-11 Revelation 6:9-11 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
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): tribulation and persecution of true Christians (compare Matthew 24:9-13 Matthew 24:9-13 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
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; Luke 21:12-19 Luke 21:12-19 12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16 And you shall be betrayed both by parents, and brothers, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. 18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess you your souls.
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).

Sixth seal (Revelation 6:12-14 Revelation 6:12-14 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
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): an earthquake and heavenly signs (compare Matthew 24:7 Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
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; Luke 21:11 Luke 21:11And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
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).

What is unique about the seventh seal?

“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2 Revelation 8:1-2 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
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The seventh seal is divided into seven “trumpets,” which reveal further events leading up to Jesus Christ’s return. These events, which are not described in the Olivet Prophecy, are sometimes referred to as “the seven trumpet plagues.” The seventh seal is comprised of these seven events. Be sure to read all of Revelation 8 and 9, which describe the events to occur at the first six trumpets.

The first six trumpets plagues are:

First trumpet (Revelation 8:7 Revelation 8:7The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
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): devastation of earth’s vegetation.

Second trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9 Revelation 8:8-9 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
American King James Version×
): devastation of oceans and seas.

Third trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11 Revelation 8:10-11 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and on the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
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): devastation of rivers and fresh water.

Fourth trumpet (Revelation 8:12 Revelation 8:12And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
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): sun, moon and stars partially darkened.

Fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-11 Revelation 9:1-11 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts on the earth: and to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he strikes a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like to horses prepared to battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon.
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): a satanically influenced military power.

Sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-19 Revelation 9:13-19 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like to serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
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): an enormous rival military power.

What happens as a result of this sixth trumpet plague?

“By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed . . .” (Revelation 9:18 Revelation 9:18By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
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Here we read that another third of earth’s inhabitants will die at the hands of this massive 200 million-man army (verse 18). This is in addition to those who have lost their lives earlier. These frightening prophecies help us understand how all life on earth will be threatened with extinction!

How do people react to these events? Do they finally repent of their evil and turn to God?

“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21 Revelation 9:20-21 20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
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Incredible as it may seem, even after man has brought utter disaster on himself and after God begins to punish him for his rebellion and sins, man will still choose to defy his Creator. He will continue in the same direction that will bring mankind to the brink of extinction.

What happens when the seventh trumpet sounds?

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
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The blast of the seventh trumpet announces the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to earth. “The kingdoms of this world” come under Christ’s dominion as the Kingdom of God is at last established on earth! At the same time, “the dead in Christ will rise”; God’s faithful servants throughout history will rise from their graves to eternal life with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
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Will Jesus Christ literally return to earth?

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:4 Zechariah 14:4And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
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This obviously describes a physical, literal return to earth. Jesus Christ will return to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem from the city’s east side. Apparently a massive earthquake will then split the mountain in half, opening a new valley running east to west from Jerusalem to the Judean desert.

Why will Jesus Christ return to earth?

“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world . . .” (John 18:37 John 18:37Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.
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At Jesus’ trial before His crucifixion, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, asked Him if rumors about His being a king were true. Jesus responded that this was true, that He indeed was born to be a king. However, He also told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 28:36 John 28:36
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). Christ’s purpose at that time was not to overthrow the Roman government and restore the kingdom of Israel, which people assumed was the intent of the Messiah. Jesus’ kingdom—the Kingdom of God—would not be established on earth until far into the future.

Was Jesus Christ’s destiny prophesied to Mary before His conception and birth?

“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end’ ” (Luke 1:30-33 Luke 1:30-33 30 And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God. 31 And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
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The angel told Mary that her son was destined to “reign over the house of Jacob”—the restored 12 tribes of the Israelite nation—in a kingdom that would have no end.

Is Jesus Christ’s kingdom—the Kingdom of God—a literal kingdom?

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14 Daniel 7:13-14 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
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In vision the prophet Daniel saw Jesus Christ—”one like the Son of Man”—come to God the Father—”the ancient of Days.” In this vision Christ was “given dominion and glory and a kingdom” in which “all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” Notice that He will rule over physical peoples and nations of all languages. This is clearly describing literal rulership over physical, flesh-and-blood human beings.

What will Jesus Christ’s title be at His return?

“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of kings and lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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Jesus Christ was destined to rule! His kingdom was foretold by the Hebrew prophets, revealed to Mary before His conception and birth and affirmed by Jesus Christ Himself. He will return to rule on earth over all kingdoms, governments, peoples and nations. He will be the supreme authority, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all the earth!