Write the things which are past, present and future
(19) "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (20) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Revelation 1: 19 - 20.
In verse nineteen God gave John an outline of the entire book of Revelation. In many respects this book is one of the simplest books of the Bible to read and understand once we comprehend it's symbols. Let me explain the outline God gave to John.
The things you have seen refers to the vision of Jesus Christ which John saw in Revelation chapter one.
The things which are alludes to the seven churches of chapters two and three and looks at the whole church age up to the rapture which will end the age of grace.
The things which will happen after these things includes the events after Christ takes His believers out of this world at the end of the church age. This starts in chapter four and ends in chapter twenty two (Revelation).
The things which are will end at the rapture of the church for His bride. The church will go up in the Blessed hope. Jesus Christ does not come to the earth at this event; however, He does come in the air above the earth. The followers of Jesus Christ both dead and alive will be caught up to meet Jesus Christ there (in the air) and then be caught up into heaven.
After this event the things which are to come begin starting with the day of the Lord and eventually the antichrist right around this point confirms a seven year peace covenant to officially start the seven year tribulation period. This will be a time of horror for seven years. To literally save mankind from destroying themselves Jesus Christ will then return to earth and subdue His enemies. He will then establish His kingdom on earth for one thousand years.
In Revelation 1:20 the Holy Spirit explains what the two symbols mean. The seven stars represent seven angels or messengers to the churches and the seven golden lampstands symbolize the churches themselves. I like the pattern that God sets up in this book because the Holy Spirit shows that all the symbols in the last book of the Bible have definite meanings.
God showed John astonishing sights for human eyes to see not just to witness but also to carefully unravel their meaning for the apostle and to us. The book of Revelation is a journey and we will all receive a special blessing.
I am going to skip Revelation chapters two and three because we posted it up twice on the Rose of Sharon is Jesus. The first time was in January and February of the year 2017. The second time we posted the study of the seven churches up was at the end of June into July and the beginning of August of 2018. If you have not read an analysis of these seven churches please feel free to study them before reading and studying Revelation chapters four to twenty two.
Before I start going over Revelation chapters four and five I would like to give you some background regarding this subject. The church has had it's problems throughout the centuries. The body of Christ has been doing work for the kingdom of God for a very long time but the rapture of the church will happen in the timing of God the Father. Jesus Christ has been preparing this place in heaven for everyone that continue to join the family of God. Each passing year has brought nearer the appointed day of God for our wonderful reunion with Him.
The Old Testament believers did look forward to spending eternity with the Lord but they knew death was inevitable. We as believers in this age of grace understand that Jesus Christ will return to the sky and snatch a whole generation of believers to heaven without physically dying. This is the only cluster of Christians that will never die.
The rapture of the church is mentioned at least seventy times in the New Testament and that is not even including the gospels. The two most popular verses are, (16) "For 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: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 - 18. (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." 1 Corinthians 15: 51 - 52.
In each of the seven phases of church history in this age of grace that we are now living in which have been reviewed in chapters two and three sincere Christians that watched for the return of the Lord desired to be in that select group of going up to meet the Lord in the air. God has a perfect time schedule for His prophetic purpose. His program involved a rather long interlude between the first coming of Jesus Christ and His second coming (which is in two phases; rapture and second coming) so as we all can conclude this has given opportunity for countless millions that have received His love and forgiveness of sins.
If Jesus delays a little more many people can accept the Lord into their hearts. There is a cut off point for people to accept Jesus Christ in their hearts as their personal Savior and Lord in this age of grace. "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Is'ra - el, until the fullness of the Gen'tiles be come in." Romans 11:25. When the very last person in this age of grace comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ then the rapture will take place so realize that you may be leading the last person to the Lord right before the Blessed Hope takes place. After the rapture the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all the world so the saving grace of Jesus Christ will still go forth but these people will be in a different dispensation in prophetic history.
The New Testament authors did a great job in describing the life of Jesus Christ and writing the books of the New Testament. The apostle John was unique because he was granted the privilege of leaving this earth and recording for us the scenes of the final destination of the church in heaven with Jesus Christ. John was an old man on the Island of Patmos when Jesus Christ appeared to him in His resurrected and glorified body. This was overwhelming to John so he became unconscious. Jesus Himself revived him and told John the reason for his visit. This apostle saw the future of God for mankind and creation. His duty at that point was to record it so that everyone could read this book and be aware of what is coming.
Jesus told John to write about three things. First the things he saw in the glorified Person of the Son of God; second the things that were biblical pertinent in the churches of John's day which had prophetic implications throughout church history in chronological order and third the things that would take place after all these things. Revelation chapters four to twenty two have not taken place yet and must be biblically discerned properly at the time of this posting.
The apostle John did not comprehend many of the things he saw but faithfully recorded it all in writing. In Revelation chapter one we saw his description of Jesus Christ in all His glory. In Revelation chapters two and three we are able to witness the spiritual condition of the church throughout the ages. All these visions were given to John while he was on the Island of Patmos. Revelation chapter four describes John's travel to heaven where he saw things in heaven and on earth following the close of church history which ends at the rapture of the church.
Technically speaking I may not even be able to finish this study. Jesus Christ could split the sky open right now because the Blessed Hope (rapture) is immanent. There are no signs for the rapture and it will happen without warning on a day/night (depending on where you are in the world). People will be working, visiting, shopping, watching television or perhaps sleeping. There will be no trumpet warning and then a twenty minute delay so we can get ready. People have to prepare to be part of the rapture.
Now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. If you just made that decision continue to abide in Jesus Christ, repent of your sins if you did transgress against God, do the will of God for your life and watch for His return in a patient way. I want to be found ready and willing when the rapture of the church takes place. This is a choice on our part but remember God loves an obedient heart.
God bless you,