The 4 Phases of Revelation :: By Dave Hubley

(There is a special message at the end of this article for those who might happen to read this and do not have Jesus in their life and are looking for peace and a way to better understand the present-day insanity and confusion)

This article is based on an outline that I use when I hold prophecy classes and when the primary focus for that study is on the book of Revelation.

I use it as a simple aid in the understanding of the book in terms of what I see as a progression of events (what might be described as dispensations of this final phase of God’s plan to close out human history) that occur within the book itself.

Since events foretold throughout the Word of God in the various prophetic passages seem to be coming into sharp focus and will culminate in the events described in the book of Revelation, I thought it might be a help in simplifying the reading and understanding of it.

There may be some who will not agree with my assessment, and that is not a problem for me. This is intended to be an outline or framework and not a detailed study.

There is certainly no shortage of solid, detailed studies of this book readily available both in book form and online by some very gifted and blessed authors.

To be clear, I hold the Pretribulation / Premillennial view, so that should guide the readers’ understanding where it is deemed appropriate.

For the sake of clarity, the Tribulation (big T), Daniel’s 70th week, and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble all refer to the same event.

It is important to understand at the outset that this book’s title refers to it being the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His Glory and Completeness.

It does not refer to the revealing of the final prophecies that comprise the bulk of the chapters, although, in an oblique way it could be said to, perhaps as a subtitle, if one wanted to go there. I think that that view could take the focus off the True Subject of the book and has caused a level of confusion as to its real purpose.

We all know who the author of confusion is and his purposes, so take that for what it may be worth.

Revelation is unique in that it begins with a promised blessing.

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and obey what is written in it, because the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).

The 4 phases of Revelation (as I see them):

1) Introduction of the writer (John), the Author (Jesus Christ), and the 7 Letters to the 7 churches. – (Chapters 1-3)

2) The Rapture of the Bride of Christ completes the church Age (or the Age of Grace). God’s focus now shifts from the Church to Israel and the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week until the physical return to earth of the Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ), culminating in the completion of Daniel’s 70th week (Chapters 4 –19:16). *Please see the note regarding Chapter 19:17-21 near the end of this outline.

3) The 1,000-year millennial rule of Jesus Christ on earth as King of Kings and Lord of all nations (Chapter 20:4-6).

4) Eternity begins: (Chapters 21 and 22).

There is some shift in the recording of events at the end of Chapter 19 into 20; however, the actual description of these events, I believe, follows these 4 patterns (or phases) quite succinctly.

A more specific synopsis:

Phase 1, Chapters 1-3) – These three chapters introduce the writer, the Author, and the blessing for those who “read aloud the words of this prophecy” and “hear and obey what is written in it” (Ch 1:1-3).

The greeting, the confirmation of who the Author actually is (the Lord Jesus Christ), and a reminder that He is the Author of Salvation and God Himself (The Alpha and the Omega) and the circumstances under which Revelation is written (Ch 1:4-20).

The seven letters to the seven churches (Ch 2+3). Each is told, ” He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Of the seven, only two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) are not rebuked and cautioned, yet the other five churches are rebuked, are urged to repent, and are not left without hope.

“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Note: There were, doubtless, far more than seven churches at this point in time, and so I believe the number of them (Seven), as is understood throughout scripture, indicates a completion of the subject event.

The message of the seven letters to the seven churches closes out the Church Age and brings us to the completion of Phase 1.

Phase 2, Chapters 4 – 19:21) — Here, the focus shifts directly to Heaven as John records being told to “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things” (v. 1). This, I believe, is yet another picture/type of the removal of the true, Christ-Worshipping and believing church prior to the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week recorded in (Daniel 9:24-27).

“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy (Daniel 9:24-27).

69 of the 70 have been completed (Dan 9:25).

We are currently in the “Age of Grace,” an indeterminate (from our perspective, not from God’s) period of time.

The final “week” (Dan 9:27 tribulation) has yet to commence.

These chapters make clear that Jesus Christ alone initiates the opening of the 7-Sealed Scroll and records the reasons why it is He and He alone (Ch 5:1-5).

At this point (Ch 6:1), Jesus breaks the first seal of the 7-sealed scroll, and the final judgments of the final book of the Word of God commence.

The balance of chapters 6 – 19:21 records the judgments and related events of Daniel’s 70th week in order:

  • 7 Seals
  • 7 Trumpets
  • 7 Vials (or bowls)
  • The physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth

Important Note: Within these chapters, there are frequent shifts in locations between Heaven and earth as various events are recorded, depicting events in each location.

Example: Ch 6:1-17. The 7 Seal judgments are implemented on the earth itself (but the seals are opened by the Lord Jesus in Heaven). The focus then shifts to events in Heaven (Ch 7:9 – Ch 8:5).

Events from this point on focus on the balance of the Judgments (Trumpets and Bowls) and also shift between Heaven and earth until the first three verses of Chapter 20 culminate in Satan’s imprisonment during the Millennium.

Important Note: Contained within Chapter 19 (vs. 11-16) is the focal event of all the ages since the crucifixion of the Lord and His death on the Cross of Calvary. These brief verses record the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Lord of Heaven and Earth, The Savior, The Lion of Judah, physically back to the earth to fulfill His promised return.

At the Second Coming, Jesus destroys all the earthly armies that have come against Jerusalem (The Battle of Armageddon in the Valley of Jezreel) and rescues His people when they finally cry, “Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai,” Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord) just as He promised.

“Look, your house is left to you desolate. And I tell you that you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord'” (Luke 13:35).

*NOTE: Chapter 19:17-21, I believe, should be included in Phase 2 as they deal with the armies that were assembled to wage war against the Lord Jesus Christ and His army (that would be the True Church!) as He returns to commence His earthly rule.

While we are referred to as the Lord’s army, Jesus alone defeats the human armies and immediately destroys them with the Sword [verse 21] that proceeds from His mouth (His Spoken Word being the logical description of the Sword He uses).

As well, Chapter 20:1-3 deals with the binding of Satan and his being cast into the Abyss.

NOTE: This is not the Lake of Fire but the “prison” where he will be bound until he is released at the end of the Millenium. (See Phase 3)

This completes Phase 2.

Phase 3 (Chapter 20:4-6) The Millennium – Here, the Word of God records the establishment of a 1,000-year period of time in which Jesus Christ will physically rule on the earth.

At the end of this time period, Satan will be released for a very short period of time, but he and the rebellious people who have elected to join with him (Satan) will immediately upon surrounding the “camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Jerusalem), be judged and, with Satan, cast into the Lake of Fire (Ch 20:7-10).

This culminates in the Great White Throne judgment of all who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ during their life on earth (Ch 20:11-15).

This completes Phase 3.

Phase 4 Chapter 21 + 22 Eternity

MARANATHA! HALLELUJAH! We are finally Home!

Personal note: My wife always goes to the end of mystery novels to see how they end to see if she wants to read them, and I tease her about it. HOWEVER, in the case of the book of Revelation, I highly recommend we all do the same, as the end is really the:


This outline, based on the changing focus within the primary focus (Jesus Christ in ALL HIS Glory as the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah), is intended to provide a framework from which to study and understand the meaning and purpose of this, the closing of God’s plan for mankind up to Eternity.

An important consideration is to try to avoid getting overly focused on the details of the spectacular (and they are truly spectacular) individual judgments, especially the Trumpet and Bowl judgments.

Instead, I urge the reader to focus on the “why” of this book and the execution of the various phases, their meaning, and their purpose.

The special message I promised you:

For anyone who may read this article and has not trusted in Jesus Christ and therefore has no hope or peace in your life:

You can have hope. You can have the peace that Jesus has promised to all who have made Him their Lord and Savior. The peace that passes understanding.

It requires that you come before God on His terms.

And, what are His terms according to His Word?

  • Genuine repentance (turning to God instead of continuing to reject or ignore Him).
  • Confession of sins (that you are a sinner and acknowledge that to God).
  • That you understand that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
  • To acknowledge to God that you are unable to pay that debt.
  • Belief that Jesus Christ paid your death sentence for you on the cross.
  • To believe that Jesus is the Way, the only Way, that God has established by which humans may be saved from the consequences of their sin and rebellion.

God has made it absolutely clear that there is no one who comes before Him, under His terms, that will be refused.

  • No one: no race, no color, no country of origin, regardless of any previous belief system: no one.
  • No matter what your past sins have been, God can and WILL forgive you because He says He will.
  • Salvation is available to everyone without any exceptions.

If you put all your trust for salvation in Jesus, and Him only, you can follow that prayer up by simply saying, “Thank you, Father God, for hearing my prayer and saving me,” because we can trust Him to keep His Word. He always has. He always will.

John 5:24: “Truly, Truly, I say to you that he who hears My words and believes the One who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed from death to life.”

There are no answers and there is no hope in the world by governments, organizations, politics or politicians. There are only lies and deception. But you can have the Truth and the peace you seek.

The answers are in the Word of God—The Bible. If you ask God with all your heart, He will hear you. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

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