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Basic Summary of the Book of Revelation

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas, then she worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

This overview of the book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, provides a short summary. Its brevity provides a view of the chronology of the major parts and events of this prophecy.

Overview of Revelation


Fifty plus years after His first coming, Jesus Christ reveals to the last living apostle, John, vital information about His second coming as ultimate Judge. In 1:1, it says that the contents of this book are written for faithful servants of Christ, so that they will know what will occur in the last days.

John is also instructed to record warnings to the seven local churches under his leadership; warnings of both immediate consequences as well as consequences at Christ’s return.

Like a bride waiting for the coming of the groom

The saints are urged to be ready when He comes to take them into his eternal rule over all nations (1:5). Though persecuted for not worshiping the Roman emperor, they are to hold on to their faith in Christ, like a bride waiting with her burning lamp for the coming of the groom.

'There in heaven a throne was set'

Throne room

John is taken into heaven (chapter 4) where he is given a marvelous view of the throne of God and the activities that will occur in the last days. The focal point is an unopened scroll in the hand of Him who sits on a throne, sealed with seven seals.

One of the twenty-four elders seated around the throne tells John, only the Lamb of God is worthy to open the scroll.

"Birth pangs"—Prelude to God's final judgment

The Seals represent conditions that must first be in place before God brings His final judgment upon the world. The opening of first four Seals—resulting in the martyrdom of many believers for their testimony (6:9)—sets the stage for the fifth Seal to be opened to see the martyrs under the altar.

In response to their plea, the sixth Seal is opened. The sun, moon and stars go dark, signifying to the earth that the judgment and wrath of God, the Day of the Lord, has come and is about to commence.

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Great Tribulation—The Day of the Lord

There are three interludes where Christ gives more clarification. The first, 7:1-17, explains that God's faithful are sealed by the blood of the Lamb for protection from the ‘second death.’ They are then seen in heaven (if killed by the Beast).

Next, the seventh Seal is opened to initiate the Day of the Lord, in answer to the prayers of the saints (8:4).

The first six Trumpets of the Lord’s judgment are then inflicted upon a third of the earth, during which His two witnesses proclaim the eternal gospel.

The second interlude, chapters 12-13, explains the great tribulation of those six Trumpets, when Satan and his Beasts demand mankind’s worship.

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Second coming of Jesus

When the seventh Trumpet sounds—in preparation to unleash the seven Vials of plagues to destroy the Beast (Babylon the Great)—the Lamb descends to Mount Zion (14:1), the 144,000 with Him. (They include all the rest, 6:11, who were martyred.)

As He descends, the saints still living are harvested (14:16) and appear as victors on the sea of glass (15:2). The wicked grapes (14:18) are also gathered (as armies to attack Jerusalem, Ezk. 38:16; Rev. 16:14).

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Full wrath of God

The Vials, the fullness of God’s wrath, are quickly poured out on the gathered wicked. The third interlude, chapters 17-18, describes the Beast’s empire and its demise at the battle of Armageddon. The Beast and false prophet are then thrown directly into the lake of fire.

The end times rapture

Wicked tormented forever (20:10)

Christ’s thousand-year reign

Christ reveals to John In the last chapters (20-22) that Satan will be bound in a bottomless pit for a thousand years. During this time, the ‘harvested’ saints (14:16) and the resurrected martyred (20:4) saints will judge the nations and reign with Christ.

Afterwards, Satan is released to deceive the nations one last time, but is again defeated. The wicked dead and all of those who died during Christ’s thousand-year reign are resurrected and judged before the great white throne. They and Satan all end up in the lake of fire.

Christ then gives his saints, his bride, a new heaven and a new earth, with the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven where they will reside together with him (21:1-4). The saints then see God’s face (22:4) and dwell in his light forever.

The wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem (21:9-14)

© 2012 Deidre Shelden


Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on August 01, 2019:

Clifton, I have read your further clarification. I'm sorry that I had not read your article, which discusses the 'second death'. So I didn't misinterpret what you said not having read nor referred to it (but since you now mention it I have taken a look.) I understand that you see my article here is opposite to what you discuss there, though I am not able to make out in what way. I accept your conclusion that this is so, and can only simply leave it in our Lord's hands, the One who knows all.

Clifton H. Rodriquez from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 28, 2019:

Ms. Dee, you simply misinterpret what you read in my article I do not think that all human beings have an "immortal soul". My teachings are the exact opposite. I have always maintained that God will fulfill His promise to us via the resurrection of the body (see John 20:17, Job 14:14, John 3:16, Romans 6:23, John 5:24-29 and Psalm 16). Do you comprehend what resurrection means? Resurrection means the restoration of the body and spirit. Christ promised us in John 6:40, 44 & 54 that he will grant us eternal life on the Last Day. How will it be done? It is quite clear that it will be done via the resurrection of the body. Why do you think that Christ repeated himself so frequently in such a short period of time? We human beings do not necessarily accept at face value what God tells us. Satan states something once and we are willing to accept it (see Genesis 3:4). The Bible tells us that the spirit returns to God after we die. I deem our spirit to be the "Breath of God". It is only natural that it should return to God when we give up the ghost. Christ was an immortal being prior to him giving up his immortality and taking human form. He became a mortal being once he was born of a woman. He was crucified by the Romans and died on the cross. However, just as David stated in Psalm 16, his body did not see corruption. After he had paid the price for our sins, God resurrected Christ from the dead and restored his immortality (see John 20:17). The Bible also tells us that Christ was the firstborn of many to be born from death (i.e., the death brought on by Adam's disobedience, Romans 8:29).

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on July 14, 2019:

Thank you for your comment, Clifton! I'm trying to figure out how it is you think I assume all people are immortal beings--meaning those without faith in Christ are also immortal. Could it be you do not think I assume John's revelation was written to the seven churches, "written for faithful servants of Christ"? That's probably not it, though. Apparently you need to clarify further for "foolish" me how it is that you arrived at the assumption that my assumption is that even people who have not received Christ as Lord are immortal beings. Please do.

Clifton H. Rodriquez from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 13, 2019:

Here is the problem that I have with your understanding of God's Word. You foolishly assume that man is already an immortal being, or God will grant them immortality for the sake of eternal punishing in the Lake of Fire & Brimstone. Am I right? Man is a mortal being. Please read Genesis 3rd Chapter and focus upon verses 14-21. The Bible accurately describes the "Second Death" which will befall all of those who did not obey the Gospel or did not die faithfully in the Lord. Finally, why would God offer eternal life or immortality to those who already have an "immortal soul". Read John 3:13-16, Romans 6:23, John 6:40, 44, 54. Also, read Jesus' conversation with Martha and Mary at the time of Lazarus' death (John Chapter 11).

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on November 02, 2014:

Good to hear you found this overview of Revelation interesting. :)

Lybrah on November 01, 2014:

Very interesting read! I enjoyed it. Revelations and the end times are really intriguing!

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on January 19, 2013:

I'm hoping to see that from a different vantage point if I can!

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on January 19, 2013:

WTS, Yes, certainly can follow this reasoning. :) I tend to think we will have a surprise when we see who the two witnesses really are, but that's just me.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on January 19, 2013:

I spent two years in a discipleship ministry/drug rehab doing little else in my free time but reading eschatology books. It's all very interesting, and I've read very convincing arguments for and against different events and their placement in time, and then different interpretations of the symbols and their meanings.

I remain rather unconvinced one way or another as to what all the Rapture is about.

What I find most interesting out of all of it are...the two witnesses, and the discussions as to who exactly they actually are. I tend to go with Elijah and Enoch, for "it is appointed but once for man to die."...and I'm sure you can follow my reasoning from there :)

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on June 27, 2012:

It is my belief that there are certain parts/aspects of it that are to be interpretted literally. Other parts of it are clearly figurative. These are my conclusions after having translated Revelation into another language and several years of having studied commentaries on it and just simply prayed for help to understand.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on June 27, 2012:

Quite eerie stuff really, I wonder if we can interpret it literally.

junko on May 24, 2012:

No Ms Dee, I think also that the seventh seal has not been opened.I do believe the war of the Gods has begun, and it's spiritual warfare. I must work with the good(God) in me and not the evil (Devil,)it's my choice. I have not read the bible for the first time yet. Thank you for your understanding, God use willing workers to explain. (P.S. Latin was spoken in the Catholic Church)

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 24, 2012:

Junko, the small window into your experiences is interesting and I am glad for you that you have a rebuilt life and church. I'm thinking all the Seals cannot have been opened yet. Otherwise, 1/3 of the earth would have been destroyed with the opening of the 7th Seal, which starts that sudden destruction.

junko on May 24, 2012:

Ms Dee, I was born Catholic, Lain was still in services at that time. I searched for God for many years after I walked away from the Catholic church. In my early 20's I found God in me through a religious experience. For 37 years after that, I had no church home, but I had The God in me. Since I had never been immerged and water and I'd aways heard I must, at 58 I went down and came back up. Four months later Katrina washed away the church and all my earthly belongings.The church and my life has been rebuilt. I enjoy bible study more than any other church service other than seeing people coming up to join church. It seems to me that some seals were opened long ago, I'm not sure how long.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 24, 2012:

Junko, I'm currently working on a hub that explains why the last empire in Daniel's vision (and in Revelation) is not Rome. If this is the case, then I am strongly inclined to think the first 3 seals have been opened. What do you think, junko?

junko on May 24, 2012:

Ms Dee, in your opinion has any of the seven seals been opened?

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 21, 2012:

A precise overview is what this summary is--helpful feedback. Thanks so much!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 21, 2012:

It is so precise in my mind, not basic in any way. It gets to the point and doesn't leave out the most important - Revelation of Jesus. Great hub! In His Love, Faith Reaper

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 21, 2012:

Faith Reaper, so you would call it more than a basic summary of Revelation? Maybe it is an overview of the major parts of Revelation.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 21, 2012:

Your "Basic Summary" is anything but that! This is such a wonderful piece here of His truths. Excellent in both word and imagery. Yes, the Revelation of Jesus! Well done. In His Love, Faith Reaper

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 19, 2012:

Good to know you see this summary of Revelation as a precise presentation. Yes, the more I've studied Revelation, the more I see the importance of it for understanding other parts of the Scriptures.

William Benner from Savannah GA. on May 19, 2012:

Thank you for this precise presentation of this so important book! I feel blessed to have you as one of my followers and I will also follow your work closely! Keep shining the light!

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 17, 2012:

Segun, Amen! And I am so thankful God guides us to his Truth, because we cannot find/understand it or Revelation on our own.

Segun Tewogbola from Texas on May 17, 2012:

Thank God for the TRUTH of His Word. The bread of Life.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 16, 2012:

So glad to be helping a little bit with your learning to understand Revelation. I love sharing what I, myself, have learned.

Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on May 16, 2012:

I love your hubs. Each time I read them, you are teaching more and more. Thank you so much! God Bless you.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 16, 2012:

Segun, Hope this helps with understanding Revelation.

Segun Tewogbola from Texas on May 16, 2012:

This is an awesome piece! God bless you.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 15, 2012:

teaches, looking forward to that time with you! Good to know how helpful the photos are.

Dianna Mendez on May 15, 2012:

You made my heart rejoice with the description of Revelation. Wow, those photos are so awesome and really add to the content. Looking forward to the time of Revelation. Voted up.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on May 15, 2012:

Angela, you've made my day! Yes, Jesus said we are to ready and alert for his return. So we need to understand what he is telling us in the prophesies given to us. The time is near!

Angela Blair from Central Texas on May 15, 2012:

As a very poor student of Revelation you have broadened my horizons greatly and thank you so very much. For me, personally, understanding of end time prophecy is imperative -- and appears to be drawing nearer as we speak. Thank you so very much for this Hub. Best/Sis

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