In this article, we will look at Chapter one, verse nineteen, and consider the instructions given by Jesus that virtually outlines the prophetic book.
It all began Sunday morning, 95 AD, somewhere on the small island in the Aegean Sea called Patmos. The Apostle John—having been banished to Patmos by Rome for his testimony of Jesus Christ—was in some remote corner of that island worshiping God. Then, as he knelt in prayer, he was confronted by Jesus Christ and instructed to record this Vision.
“Write the things which you have seen,” Jesus told him, “and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (v. 19)
An earlier verse makes God’s purpose clear: “the time is near” (v. 3). God wants us to know the prophecy because Jesus has completed the work of redemption on the cross, in turn starting the count down for what some refer to as “the sequel to the Cross”, when Christ returns to gather His elect, vanquish His enemies, and redeem the planet.
Okay, now let’s look at verse nineteen and see why it’s the “key” to understanding the prophecy. Notice that John is instructed to write Revelation in three sections.
- “Write the things which you have seen…”
- “Write…the things which are…”
- “Write…the things which will take place after this.”
The phrase “the things which you have seen” is clearly in the past tense. John was instructed to write what he already witnessed. This concerns that which John had seen as he beheld Christ. Thus corresponding with John’s eyewitness account of the risen and glorified Son of God as contained here in Chapter one.
The phrase “the things which are” is in the present tense. This concerns that which existed during the time of John, which is the Church. And as we will see, the next two chapters, Chapters two and three, surround the Church exclusively.
The phrase “the things which will take place after this” is in the future tense. This concerns the yet-future events shown to John beginning in Chapter four where he is taken in the “Spirit” to heaven and subsequently shown the future.
Study and contemplate this verse and consider these three parts. You’ll discover that Revelation becomes more straightforward and your study of this great prophecy less chaotic.