Since I mentioned this outline in a recent message, there has been some interest expressed for me to publish it. Such as I have… 🙂
Outline of Revelation Chapters 1 – 11
Chapter 1 “Who Is Christ?”
It would be a mistake, a common misconception, that the book of Revelation is far too complicated therefore should be ignored. Those who make that mistake usually try to get straight at the heart of the book by mining for interesting bits such as in chapter 6 and beyond. However, chapter 1 lays a basic foundation for understanding the entire book. It tells us that the purpose of the book is to reveal Christ.
The Ancient of Days is unveiled and we see Him in the midst of the lampstands. This is Jesus Christ in the midst of the church. We are embarking upon a progressive revelation, each chapter revealing yet more of the character of Jesus Christ.
A highly supportive element of chapter 1 is the introduction of the concept of chronological time. Repeatedly, Christ refers to himself as the beginning and the ending; the Alpha and the Omega. This is an emphasis that Jesus Christ exists outside of time, as we know it. In verse 19, John is to write “the things which he has seen,” (chapter 1), “the things which are, (chapters 2 and 3), and “the things which shall be hereafter”, the remainder of the Book.
Chapter 2 “What Will Christ Tolerate?”
The first four of seven churches are addressed. Ephesus, (commended for their doctrinal purity and faithfulness, but condemned for their “frigidity!” They left their first love!), Smyrna (forewarned with regard to a 10-day test of their tolerance of pain. The test shows that passion must be preceded by persistence). Pergamos (had the courage that Smyrna needed but they were corrupt! They tolerate those who have the doctrine of Balaam), and Thyatira (they had “suffered the woman Jezebel,” showing that they had actually adapted their behavior to allow error into their midst).
Chapter 3 “What Are You Made Of?”
Sardis (they have the best reputation of all the churches but the worst prognosis. “Thou art dead.”), Philadelphia (their brotherly love did not strengthen them. Yet, in their diminutive strength God set before them an open door. Opportunities come from God, not resources!), Laodicea (Rich in resources yet repulsive in their relationship with God. Their lukewarmness causes such divine illness as to cause one pause and consternation to this day). These three chapters conclude the Church Age, “the things which are.”
Chapter 4 “Where Is God’s Throne?”
This chapter commences to reveal “the things which shall be hereafter.” John, typifying the church, is raptured into heaven and witnesses God’s throne. Throughout the time following this rapture, man is depicted as measured against the covenant that God has set. Pointing forward through the remainder of the book, God’s holiness is expressed vividly. “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
Chapter 5 “Who Is Worthy?”
The elemental focus of chapter 5 is the scroll, a roll of paper that, in effect, is the title deed to the earth. The only one worthy to take it is the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is worthy not only because He created the earth, but He was slain for it.
Chapter 6 “Who Shall Be Able To Stand?”
Six of the seven seals are open in this chapter. With each one the conditions on earth get worse. The first seal introduces the first apocalyptical horse which is white, promoting peace. The second seal introduces the second apocalyptical horse which is red, intimating violent war, a bloodbath. The third seal, a black horse: economical oppression. The fourth seal is the pale horse: death—plague and pestilence. 25% of the earth’s population, about 1.5 billion people, is killed by the destruction that is wreaked by these four horses. Seal five opens the revelation that the martyrs, those who turn to the word of God, will be put to death during this tribulation. Seal six makes the entire population of the earth seek hiding. Asteroid showers, earthquakes, represent the cauldron of God’s wrath. The final question, “who is able to stand?”
Chapter 7 “Who Are The Ones Robed in White?”
Three groups stand for those who sustain a relationship with God in spite of the tribulation. Group 1 is the 144,000 Jews. Group 2 is the resurrection of those martyred. Group 3 is those who have washed their garments in the blood of the lamb at the end of the tribulation. Angels, God’s intervening emissaries, are introduced as dictating weather patterns and other cosmic powers.
Chapter 8 “Who is the Judge of Nature?”
The angel with the bowl carrying a mixture of fire from the altar and the prayers of the saints pours that bowl out upon the earth. It is a sign: Judgment is coming. The first four of seven trumpets announcing war upon the earth are sounded. The first trumpet announces a meteor shower, destroying one third of the earth’s vegetation. The second trumpet blasts, sending an asteroid impact that lands in the sea and kills one third of sea life. The third trumpet announces another asteroid which, when burnt in the atmosphere, carries toxic dust to the earth that makes one third of drinking water undrinkable. The second trumpet sounds an aerial attack upon the sun, moon, and stars; the attack causes them to lose a third of their light. An angel concludes the chapter by announcing that the next three trumpets will be far worse than the first four. The three woes are spoken.
Chapter 9 “Who Will Repent?”
Trumpet five is the satanic attack. God unleashes Satan and swarms of demons to attack humanity. People are tortured but not killed. This is a grim foretaste of those who choose to disbelieve in eternal hell. Next comes the sixth seal which heralds the attack by the Kings of the East. Some 200 million individuals cause war that results in one third of the earth’s population to decease. The end of chapter 9 marks about 3.5 years of the tribulation seven-year period. Humanity has experienced epic destruction, yet the chapter concludes, “the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not.”
Chapter 10 “What Happens To Those Who Ingest The Little Book?”
In this chapter, a mighty angel descends from heaven and has in his hand a little book that is a script for what is to follow. He declares “time shall be no more.” All chances for “do-overs” are effectively finished. He tells John to eat the little book. The consequence is prophetic utterance to others.
Chapter 11 “Who Will Defy the Death-defying God?”
Chapter 11 marks the passing of the second woe. Heaven celebrates the victory of Almighty God although it has not actually taken place. For the first 3.5 years, God’s two witnesses declare how to establish relationship with God. The earth’s reaction is one of incredulity. These witnesses are killed as the whole earth rejoices, only to be resurrected in 3 1/2 days. Shockingly, they rise from the dead and go to heaven as another earthquake shakes the planet.
These first 11 chapters of the Book of Revelation have a common thread. My conclusion is that God’s judgment is meted out in a measured fashion. He is not willing that any should perish. It is not His pleasure to take vengeance upon humanity. The ultimate revelation of these first 11 chapters should be that humanity is responsible for their own fate.