Below are all the events of the book of Revelation that have to do with what happens on earth and Judgment Day as well as the future glorification of the earth and the Church. I have not included those heavenly visions that St. John has of Heaven since those are within eternity and are outside of time. Click on the links below to view the commentary on those passages.
Church Age Before Great Tribulation
2___________________Lord Addresses the churches in Asia
3___________________Lord Addresses the churches in Asia
6:1-11_______________Opening of the first 5 seals- events of the Church
12:17-18_____________Satan sets out to battle Christians
20:1-6_______________The Church Age-1000 year reign
7:1-8_________________Prior to Tribulation; sealing of the 144,000
8:7- 9:21______________The trumpet judgments
11:4-14_______________The 2 witnesses-Enoch and Elijah
13___________________The Antichrist and the False Prophet
14:6-13_______________Fall of Babylon
16___________________The Bowl Judgments
18:1-20_______________Fall of Babylon
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 1
St. John the Apostle starts off by greeting the seven churches in Asia by telling them that they will be blessed to read this prophecy, and lets them know that it comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died for all our sins, and has made us a kingdom and priests (vv.1-6). He mentions the 2nd coming (v.7), declares that Jesus is God (v.8), and that he is writing from the island of Patmos where he was sent into exile (v.9). He then tells that his spirit came out of his body and he heard a voice that told him to write to seven churches in Asia (vv.10-11). He then turns to see the one speaking to him and sees that it is an angel representing Christ with an awesome appearance (vv.13-16). The angel comforts John because he is very frightened, and then he instructs him to write to the bishops of those seven churches in Asia (vv.17-20).
1 THE revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
A revelation means a revealing of hidden secrets that are usually made known through dreams, visions, or some other divine enlightenment. The things that must soon take place should be understood in light of the eternal God, a long time in our eyes is a short time to God. John will see under various figures the whole period of the Church’s history, from the time of the Incarnation to the End Times. According to some commentators the angel appeared to St. John in the form of Christ, not the Lord appearing in person, though some say it was actually Christ.
3 Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.
St. John tells the reader to listen and to follow what is written because the time is near, meaning that life is like a vapor that appears for a little while then vanish away (James 4:14).
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
The seven churches that are mentioned were in fact specific churches that were to be addressed for specific reasons and needs, similarly to the way that St. Paul addressed specific churches and people in his epistles. But much of the instruction can be applied universally. The seven spirits before the throne are the seven archangels mentioned by the angel Raphael in the book of Tobit 12:15, “For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” Rev. 8:2 shows us that these are in fact angels, while in other places the 7 spirits of God are references to the sevenfold work of the Holy Spirit. See Rev. 3:9
5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
The first-born of the dead means that Jesus was the first to rise in a glorified state. There were others who have risen from the dead before Him, but none in glory, just resuscitated. His blood has washed us from our sins, that is, from original sin that we inherited from Adam and the actual sin that we voluntarily commit. He has made us a kingdom and priests and the faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation.
7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
This will be at the Second Coming of Christ when He will raise everyone from the dead, saved and unsaved. See Acts 1:9-11
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Jesus is shown here to be the eternal Almighty God. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet while Omega is the last. He says the beginning and the end because it is easier for us to understand instead of Him saying He is ‘without beginning and without end’, even though that is true. He is Almighty because He posseses rule and authority over all things.
9 I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
St. John was sent into exile to Patmos during the second persecution by Domitian, he suffered tribulation for spreading the Gospel, and according to ancient Christian tradition John was put into a pot of boiling oil, but he was miraculously not harmed.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
The reference of the Lord’s day means that he had this experience on the first day of the week, Sunday, which became the Christian Sabbath not along after Christianity was established. St. John was in the spirit, meaning that his soul was out of his body.
11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to La-odicea.” 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,
The seven golden lampstands are the seven churches.
13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; 14 his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; 16 in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
The angel representing Christ or Christ himself is seen in the midst of the churches as He said He would be, “Behold I am with you to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20).” Some say that since this is the angel and not Christ Himself it says “one like a son of man.” But Christ is called the Son of man because He humbled Himself “taking the form of a slave (Phil. 2:7).” The robe indicates the priesthood of Christ. The two breasts signify the two Testaments, while the golden girdle signifies purity. The white hair signifies His antiquity and eternal existence since He is the “Ancient of Days” in Daniel 7:9. The eyes that were like a flame of fire illuminate the saints while on the otherhand are a consuming fire to unbelievers. His feet signify His purity in His steps, and the sound of His voice has power and authority. The seven stars signify the bishops of the seven churches, and they are in His right hand because apart from Him they can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). The sword signifies the right of authority and the Word of God (Heb. 4:12). And His face shined bestowing glory, just like it did when He was transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2)
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
Understandably St. John is struck with fear and amazement and he fell down. But the angel representing Christ comforts him so that he might not be terrified. He assures him of His eternal nature and also of His human nature who was Incarnated (living one), and reminds him of the Cross (I died) and of His Resurrection (I am alive) and immortality (evermore). The keys of Death and Hades signify His authority and dominion over physical and spiritual death, which He also bestowed upon the Church “Whose sins you remit, they are remitted unto them (John 20:23).”
19 Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The seven angels are the seven bishops of the seven churches.
List of bishops that are addressed as “angels of the seven churches”
Ephesus- St. Timothy
Sardis- St. Clement of Sardis
Pergamum- St. Gaius according to Constitution of the Holy Apostles 7.46
Smyrna- St. Polycarp
Philadelphia- Demetrius according to Constitution of the Holy Apostles 7.46
Laodicea- St. Nymphas or St. Sagaris
Thyatira- very uncertain
These bishops of the seven churches were holy men, and the warnings given are directed to some of those under them that were within the churches, not to the bishops themselves.