Summary: The chronological divisions of the Revelation are indicated by a key phrase
Textual Divisions of the Book of the Revelation
The brief but definitive phrase ‘After these things’ is found in the prophetic section of the Revelation, (4:1-22:21) six times. The first and second occurrences are in the very first verse:
‘After these things I looked, and, behold, a door standing open in heaven; and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me; said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.’ (Revelation 4:1) NASV
John is given the first sequence of the prophetic vision in (4:1-7:8) with the events occurring in heaven and earth divided by a similar phrase ‘After this’ (7:1) which is used to divide the events in heaven (4:1-6:17) from the events occurring on earth (7:1-8) in the first section.
‘The things which shall be hereafter’(1:19c), indicates this prophetic section (4:1-22:21). It is divided into five major sections by this key phrase: ‘After these things’ developing the following outline:
I. The Events of Earth’s Preparation for The Day of the Lord’s Wrath (4:1-7:8)
A. The Throne Room Scene (Chapter 4,5)
B. The Six Seals Opened (Chapter 6)
C. The 144 Thousand Sealed (Chapter 7:1-8)
II. The Events of the Day of the Lord’s Wrath to end of The 70th Week of Daniel (7:9-15:4)
A. The Saints of the Ages in Heaven (Chapter 7:9-17)
B. The Seventh Seal Opened/The Beginning of the Day of the Lord (8:1-5)
C. The Six Trumpet Judgments/The Little Book/The Two Witnesses (8:6-11:14)
D. The Seventh Trumpet Judgment/The World Kingdoms become the Lord’s/End 70th Week (11:15-19)
E. The Interlude-Events of the Last 3-1/2 Years of the 70th Week (Chapter 12,13,14)
F. The Heavenly Prelude before The End of the Day of the Lord (15:1-4)
III. The Events of the Day of the Lord’s Wrath after The 70th Week of Daniel (15:5-17:18)
A. The Preparation for the Seven Vial Judgments (15:5-8)
B. The Seven Vial Judgments (16:1-21)
C. The Preparation for Judgment of Babylon the Great Whore (17:1-18)
IV. The Event of Emphasis: The Judgment of Babylon the Great Whore (18:1-24)
A. The Destruction of Babylon the Great Whore Announced (18:1-8)
B. The Kings of the Earth Lament Her Destruction (18:9, 10)
C. The Merchants of the Earth Lament Her Destruction (18:11-17a)
D. The Merchants of the Sea Lament Her Destruction (18:17b-19)
E. The Destruction of Babylon the Great Whore Occurs (18:20-24)
V. The Events of the End of the Day of the Lord (19:1-22:21)
A. The Rejoicing in Heaven over the Destruction of the Babylon the Great Whore (19:1-6)
B. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19:7-10)
C. The Lord Jesus Christ’s Victory at Armageddon (19:11-21)
D. The Binding of Satan (20:1-3)
E. The Millennium/ First Resurrection (20:4-6)
F. The Final Rebellion (20:7-10)
G. The Great White Throne (20:11-15)
H. The New Heaven, Earth & Jerusalem Described (21:1, 21:9-27-22:1-5)
I. The Heavenly Conclusion (22:6-21)
The material in this first part of the prophetic section is viewed by John from the vantage point of heaven:
‘After these things I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things. Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.’ (4:1, 2 NASV).
John is then given the most descriptive panorama of heaven’s throne room and it’s inhabitants ever recorded in Scripture. John’s vision is similar to the vision of Ezekiel 1:4-28, but John provides much additional information as he sees not only the four beasts around God and His throne, but, he also includes the magnificent introduction and coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ as ‘The Lamb as it had been slain’ (5:6) including the powerful, unparalleled worship scene that follows (5:7-14).
The title of ‘Lamb’ for the Lord Jesus Christ is found here first in the book of the Revelation, however it is the preferred name for the Lord throughout the Revelation as it is used a total of twenty-eight times emphasizing the Bible’s central theme of redemption from an Old Testament viewpoint (Exodus 12).
Moreover, John’s view of the throne room also introduces and describes:
‘The four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold’ (4: ), ‘Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (4:5), ‘And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal’ (4:6) giving heavenly details never before revealed in the Word of God.
Chapter six begins the 70th Week of Daniel ending this first section which contains the Lamb’s opening of the first six seals preparing the earth for the coming Day of the Lord judgment when God will pour out His wrath upon an unbelieving world in the process purifying a remnant of His earthly people the Jews.