This article is part of the Christ in All of Scripture series.
Jesus Is Coming
John has built the unique application of the gospel he provides in Revelation into the very structure of the book.
The opening (Rev. 1:1–8) and closing (Rev. 22:6–21) reveal things as they are and promise that Jesus is coming soon. Then the letters to the seven churches in the world (Rev. 1:9–3:22) are matched by the concluding depiction of the church in glory in the new heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1–22:5). In the midst of his tribulation and the struggles of the churches, John is given a throne-room vision that includes Christ conquering and opening the scroll (Rev. 4:1–6:17). This is matched near the end of the book by his vision of Christ returning to conquer, set up his thousand-year kingdom, then open the scrolls for judgment (Rev. 19:11–20:15). John’s vision of the sealing of the 144,000 saints and the trumpets that bring plagues (Rev. 7:1–9:21) is paralleled by his vision of the redemption of the 144,000 and the outpouring of the bowls of wrath (Rev. 14:1–19:10). John is attested as a true prophet as he eats the scroll-like Ezekiel (Rev. 10:1–11), and the churches are warned against the deception of the false prophet (Rev. 13:11–18).
Gospel faith makes people right with God and produces gospel faithfulness, which reaps gospel reward.
The two complementary accounts of Satan’s war on the church as it proclaims the gospel (Rev. 11:1–14; 12:1–13:10) frame the centerpiece of the book, in which “the kingdom of the world” becomes “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” at the blast of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15–19). This structure proclaims that Christ is Lord, so that though Satan is persecuting the churches and though they are small and beleaguered, they will yet hold fast the word of God and testimony of Jesus, with the expectation that their patient endurance will be rewarded.
Gospel faith makes people right with God and produces gospel faithfulness, which reaps gospel reward. The book of Revelation is a triumphant vision of God’s final victory over all the forces of evil in the world. This final victory is secured because of the blood of the Lamb that purifies God’s people for his ultimate reign. Revelation is filled with the gracious purposes of God, to strengthen his people.
This article is adapted from the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible. Browse other articles in this series via the links below.
Genesis • Exodus • Leviticus • Numbers • Deuteronomy • Joshua • Judges • Ruth • 1–2 Samuel • 1–2 Kings • 1–2 Chronicles • Ezra • Nehemiah • Esther • Job • Psalms • Proverbs • Ecclesiastes • Song of Solomon • Isaiah • Jeremiah • Lamentations • Ezekiel • Daniel • Hosea • Joel • Amos • Obadiah • Jonah • Micah • Nahum • Habbakuk • Zephaniah • Haggai • Zechariah • Malachi
Matthew • Mark • Luke • John • Acts • Romans • 1 Corinthians • 2 Corinthians • Galatians • Ephesians • Philippians • Colossians • 1 Thessalonians • 2 Thessalonians • 1 Timothy • 2 Timothy • Titus • Philemon • Hebrews • James • 1 Peter • 2 Peter • 1–3 John • Jude • Revelation