5 Outlines




“The Book of Revelation is the scariest book in the Bible. Yet it is also one of the most comforting, reassuring, and exhilarating.” – Ray Stedman Ray Stedman, God’s Final Word, Understanding Revelation, (Grand Rapids, MI, Discovery House Publishers, 1991) p. 1


There is a Southern Gospel song sung by the Legacy Five that says, “I’ve read the back of the book, and we win.”  The Book of Revelation is the back of The Book, the Bible, and indeed it shows the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because He wins, we win also!


Most folks who try to read the Book of Revelation have many questions and often get confused.  One of the reasons for confusion is caused by the different possible ways of interpreting the Book.




1.     PRETERIST - Revelation is “…not a prediction of things to come, but, rather, John was writing about events taking place in his day.”


2.     HISTORICAL – “…sees the events recorded by John as symbolically fulfilled through church history between Christ’s first and second comings.”


3.     IDEALIST – “…interprets Revelation allegorically… This view sets aside the literal interpretation of Revelation…”


4.        FUTURIST – “teaches that the major portion of Revelation (chps. 4-22) describes prophetic events yet to be fulfilled.” All of the quotes above are from: David Levy, Revelation: Hearing the Last Word, (Bellmawr, NJ, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Inc., 1999), pp. 14-15


We believe in the futurist method for interpreting Scripture and believe that the things written in Revelation will literally come to pass.


Revelation 1:19 - Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

The Book of Revelation was written about 96 A.D. by the Apostle John. In this study we are looking at the introduction to this book. We are taking our “First Steps” in understanding the Book of Revelation.


THE TITLE – Vss. 1-2

·       The word “Revelation” means “unveiling”.  It is like ripping the covers off a bed to expose and wake up someone who is sleeping there.  In this case the cover is taken off so we can see The Lord Jesus Christ.  This Revelation is both from and about Him.

·       This book was written so Christ’s servants (bond-slaves) can understand future events. Those not saved or seriously committed to Christ will have trouble understanding the things written here.

·       The things here are to come “shortly” to pass.  We are told to watch and be ready for these events beginning with the rapture of the church which can happen at any time.  Mark 13:35-37, Titus 2:11-13, Revelation 3:11

·       God’s view of time is different from ours.  In His eyes Jesus has been gone just a short time and can return at any moment. 2 Peter 3:8-9



·       We are blessed (have treasures) when we “read, hear, and keep”. “Keeping” the things written in this book includes obeying the commands, and having a proper understanding of the events described here.

·       The number seven is significant in this book.  It is the number of completion or perfection. Verse 3 gives us the first of seven blessings found in this book.

·       “The time is at hand” – Not only can Jesus come for all believers at any time, but He can also come for us as individuals at any time.  We must be ready!

·       We also have treasures of God’s “grace and peace” multiplied towards believers. 2 Peter 1:2


THE TRINITY – Vss. 4b-5a


·       The Father - …from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;


·       The Holy Spirit - and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;


      Isaiah 11:2 - And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

      the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;


·       The Son - And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.


THE TRIUMPH – Vss. 5b-7


·       Of the Past – We have been freed! – Vs. 5b


·       Of the Present – We are a “kingdom of priests” – Vs. 6 – 1 Peter 2:9-10


·       Of the Future – Christ will return to earth – Vs. 7 – This is not the rapture for the church but the appearance of Christ at the end of the “Great Tribulation Period”.




·       God gives testimony of His identity.  Most likely, it is the Father talking here, but this statement is true of each member of the Trinity.

·       God is eternal and all knowing – He’s the “A to Z”!

·       God is “the Almighty” which means that He has the Power to do everything that He has promised in the Book of Revelation.




Revelation 1:5-6



And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


JESUS IS THE PROCLAIMER - …who is the faithful witness…


JESUS IS THE PROOF (OF RESURRECTION) - …and the first begotten of the dead…


JESUS IS THE PRINCE - …and the prince of the kings of the earth.


JESUS IS THE PROPITIATION - Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…


JESUS IS THE PROVIDER - And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;




Revelation 1:5-8




  Faithful Witness

  First Begotten of the Dead.

  Prince Of the Kings Of The Earth



  He Loved Us.

  He Washed Us.

  He Made Us. (kings and priests)



  He's Coming! Vs. 7

  He's Eternal! Vs. 8a

  He's Almighty! Vs. 8b









According to Warren Wiersbe, the Book of Revelation is a remarkable book because:

·       It is a Christ-centered book.

·       It is an "open" book. John was told not to seal the book (Rev. 22:10) because God's people need the message it contains.

·       It is a book filled with symbols. Biblical symbols are timeless in their message and limitless in their content.

·       It is a book of prophecy. This is definitely stated in Revelation 1:3; 22:7, 10, 18-19;

·       It is a book with a blessing. We have already noted the promise in Revelation 1:3, as well as the six other "beatitudes" scattered throughout the book.

·       It is a relevant book. What John wrote about would "shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1) because "the time is at hand" (Rev. 1:3).

·       It is a majestic book. Revelation is the book of "the throne," for the word throne is found forty-six times throughout. This book magnifies the sovereignty of God. Christ is presented in His glory and dominion!

·       It is a universal book. John saw nations and peoples (Rev. 10:11; 11:9; 17:15) as part of God's program. He also saw the throne room of heaven and heard voices from the ends of the universe!

·       It is a climactic book. Revelation is the climax of the Bible. All that began in Genesis will be completed and fulfilled in keeping with God's sovereign will. He is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending" (Rev. 1:8). What God starts, He finishes!  The material above is a quote from Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 2, (Wheaton Illinois, Victor Books, 1989), pp. 570-571.  I left out a lot of the material.


We continue our study in the “Back of the Book” by seeing the majesty of and hearing the message of our Lord Jesus Christ in ways John had perhaps never seen or heard Him before. This section helps us to understand the attributes of our wonderful Lord and Savior.



·       Vs. 9 – John was on the Isle of Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea about 6 miles wide and 10 miles long.  It was a desolate place used to exile prisoners.

·       Notice the many qualities of John stated here: “brother”, “companion in tribulation”, and “perseverance”. 

·       John was a prisoner on Patmos for the right reasons. He was a prisoner, “…for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

·       Vs. 10 - Although there is some debate, “the Lord’s Day” probably means Sunday.

·       John heard a voice that sounded like a trumpet.  Jesus had gotten John’s attention!

·       Vs. 11 – Jesus reminds John of His deity and instructs John to write what he will see and send it to seven churches in Asia.  These churches are mentioned in the order that the Book of Revelation would have been delivered.



·       In these verses we see in symbolic language the attributes of deity found in the Lord Jesus.

·       Vss. 12-13a - When John turned to look he saw 7 gold lamp stands (candle sticks) which represent the 7 churches.  Jesus is seen in the midst of these candlesticks.  Jesus is always present in His church! Matthew 28:20

·       John saw Jesus as the one he knew as the “Son of Man” before his crucifixion and resurrection.

·       Vs. 13 – Jesus wore the clothes of a “high priest”. He indeed is our “great high priest”.                Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:24-25, 10:19-25

·       Vs. 14 - Jesus’ hair is like that of God, the Father, who is called “the ancient of days”. Daniel 7:9 

“White hair in Scripture is symbolic of purity in character, dignity of age, authority as judge, and eternality.” David Levy, Revelation: Hearing the Last Word, (Bellmawr, NJ, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Inc., 1999), pp. 14-15

·       Jesus had piercing eyes like fire.  He misses nothing as the judge and head of the church.

·       Vs. 15 – Feet of bronze speak of Jesus’ ability and authority to judge as a king would.

·       Jesus’ voice was that of authority sounding something like the roar heard by a great falls.

·       Vs. 16 – A sword in Jesus’ mouth is the authority that He has as judge.  He speaks and judgment is carried out.  Hebrews 4:12

·       Jesus’ brightness like the sun tells us of his glory as the God of light.  1 John 1:5, Matthew 17:2


ASSURANCE GIVEN – Vss. 17-18, 20

·       Vs. 17 – John’s reaction was understandable.  Many others had a similar reaction when confronted with deity. Isaiah 6:1-8, Daniel 10:8-9, Ezekiel 1:28

·       Notice the touch and reassuring words of our Lord.  When we see His glory we need his “touch and reassurance”.

·       Vs. 18 – John was assured of Jesus eternality and authority.

·       Vs. 19 - An angel is a “messenger”.  In this case Jesus was probably referring to the pastors of the local churches in Asia, which are represented by the candle sticks.  Jesus holds on to the pastors and is in the midst of the churches.



·       This is the only book of the Bible that gives us such a concise outline. 

1.     “The things which you have seen.” (Chapter 1)

2.     “The things which are.” (Chapters 2-3)

3.     “The things which shall be hereafter.” (Chapters 4-22)

·       “It is not too much to claim that this outline is the only one which allows the book to speak for itself without artificial manipulation and which lays guidelines of sufficient importance so that expositors who follow this approach have been able to establish a system of interpretation of the book of Revelation, namely, the futurist school.” John Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (Chicago, Moody Press, 1966), p. 48




Revelation 1:9-20



The Apostle John was called by the Lord Jesus to write the last book of the Bible.



He was their brother.

He was their companion in tribulation.

He was prisoner on the Island of Patmos.

He was "in the Spirit on the Lord's Day."



In this passage John sees the glorified Son of God. He is the one calling John to write.



John was to "fear not".

John was to write the things which he had seen (Chapter 1), "the things which are" (Chapters 2-3), "and the things which shall be hereafter" (Chapters 4-22). This, by the way, is the simplest outline of the Book of Revelation that I have ever seen.


JOHN'S CONGREGATION - Vss. 10a-11, 20

John was to write to the seven churches.