The Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is a book of prophecy and is tied to many other books of the Bible.
It is very difficult to grasp the depth of its truths when viewed by itself. The Book of Revelation finds its roots in the Old Testament and many of its truths are revealed in other books in the New Testament.
I have found that seeing its development in a timeline is very helpful to understanding the flow of events that happen in the book.
The Bible is laid out in seven ages or dispensational periods. An age or a dispensation is a time period in which God deals with man in a particular way. At each age, man is given a standard to live by. The age tests man in the area of sin and his responsibility to live up to God’s standard. Man fails the test at each age and is judged, and God establishes a new age.
Age of the Law
Five of these ages have been fulfilled, and we are living in the sixth age, the Age of Grace or the Church Age. The age prior to the one we are living in now was the Age of the Law.
God set up a standard of living under the law and man failed miserably. After many warnings, God closed the Age of the Law with the worldwide dispersion of His people, Israel, and after the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ on a cross at Calvary.
Age of Grace
Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the cross satisfied God the Father as full payment for the sin of all mankind. This opened a new age, the Age of Grace, or the Church Age. The requirement by God during this age for salvation is simply believing that Jesus’ death on that cross is the full payment for our sin. The Lord said, through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not of works.”
Man is saved during the Age of Grace by simply putting his faith in Jesus Christ. It is believing that He died in your place, was buried, and rose again for your justification.
Rapture of the Church
The Age of Grace closes with what is called the Rapture of the Church. At the sound of a trumpet, all who have trusted in Christ during this Age will be caught (taken) up to heaven to spend eternity with the Lord. The dead in Christ will rise from their graves, and the living will be translated with them, to heaven.
God’s wrath upon a world that rejected His Son and His gracious offer of salvation is the judgment that closes the Age of Grace. That event is the seven-year Tribulation Period, which makes up the majority of the Book of Revelation.
At the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period, Christ returns to earth and sets up the final age of man: the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth. It is also called the Millennial Reign or the Kingdom Age. It ends with the Great White Throne Judgment, where all unbelievers are condemned to an eternity in the lake of fire.
The book ends with all believers of all ages in the realms of glory forever!