Biblical Eschatology

A Biblical study of eschatology and the pre-tribulational & post-tribulational rapture views of the end times.

Revelation is NOT Chronological

The book of Revelation is not chronological. To prove this I will show that at least some narratives in the Bible are not chronological. Then I will show the direct evidence that unequivically proves that Revelation is definetly not chronological.

In Mark 11:12-14 Jesus cursed the fig tree and then in Mark 11:15-17 He drove out the money changers from the temple. However, in Matthew the chronology is reversed. In Matthew 21:12-13 He drove out the money changers from the temple and then in Matthew 21:17-19 Jesus curses a the fig tree.

Jesus enters the temple and drives out the money changers just before Passover. It's interesting because in John's account of this story, which he specifies occurs just before Passover, is placed at the beginning of his gospel in John 2:13-22. What's interesting is in John 2:23, it said that many believed in him, which seems to fit better with the end of His ministry.

Since John wrote Revelation as well, it would make sense that if his gospel account was not chronological, then Revelation wouldn't be as well.

There are many people who believe that Genesis is strictly chronological, and therefore Eve was created after the seventh day. This is wrong.

It is easy to see why you could be confused. The chronology starts over in chapter two verse four, but it almost seems like the narrative is continuing.

Chapter one summarizes the creation account, chapter two goes back and gives more details on certain aspects of the same account.

That the Genesis creation account is not strictly chronological is easily proven. Genesis 2:2 shows that God rested on the seventh day. God created man on the sixth day (Genesis 1:27). But then note Genesis 2:7, where God once again is creating man, which occurred on the sixth day. So Genesis 2:2 is talking about the seventh day, and Genesis 2:7 is talking about the sixth day.

Genesis 1:27 KJV
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 2:7 KJV
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

It only takes a couple of verses to prove Revelation is not chronological, but to be thorough, I will provide an overabundance of evidence.

Revelation 7:3 KJV
saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."
Previous to 7:3, is the earth, sea, or trees harmed? Yes!

In Revelation 6:12-14, we see:
  • a great earthquake
  • the stars of the sky fall to the earth
  • The sky vanished away like a scroll
  • every mountain and island was removed from its place
In Matthew 24:29-30 it states that the stars fall "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days," which is followed by Jesus' return. So Revelation 6:12-14 foretells what happens after the tribulation, yet chapter seven to twenty foretell what happens during the tribulation period.

Are they reigning on earth before the end of the tribulation? If not, the book is not chronological:
Revelation 5:10 NASB
"You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
Revelation 11:15 NASB
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."
The kingdom is handed over to Christ at the end of the tribulation. Yet both Revelation 5:10 and Revelation 11:15 show this as a reality. Yet again in it states in Revelation 22:5 that from that point on, "they will reign forever and ever."

The Sun must be darkened, and the moon turned to blood before the Day of the Lord starts:
Joel 2:31 ESV
The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Jesus comes after the sun is darkened and after the tribulation.
Matthew 24:29-30 ESV
29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Revelation 6:12 is a reference to the Day of the Lord starting, which occurs after the tribulation per Matthew 24:29.
Revelation 6:12 NASB
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;
Revelation 6:13-14 states there are no more Stars in the sky, the sky is gone, and every island and mountain had been removed.
Revelation 6:13-14 NASB
13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
If the mountains are removed in Revelation 6:13-14, how is a great mountain cast into the sea in Revelation 8:8?
Revelation 8:8 NASB
The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood,
Again in Revelation 16:20, similar events occur. How can the Islands and mountains be removed twice?
Revelation 16:20 ESV
And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found.
Revelation 6:14b ESV
and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
In speaking of the final judgment, chronologically, Revelation 20:13 occurs before Revelation 20:12.
Revelation 20:13 HCSB
Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works.
Revelation 20:12 HCSB
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
In Revelation 14:7, it says, "the hour of his judgment has come" (ESV). If Revelation is chronological, then no other verse up to this verse could be considered God's judgment. "Has come" is translated from ἦλθεν which is Aorist Indicative, which is a reference to something that is past tense in relation to the narrative.

In Revelation 16:19 Babylon the great drinks "of the wine of the fury of his (orge) wrath." If this was a continuous timeline, it would be odd because in Revelation 14:8 it states, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great." And in 14:10 those that take the mark, like Babylon also "drink the wine of God's wrath." Then again in Revelation 18:2, you see once again "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!" In Revelation 18:10 it says, "in a single hour your [Babylon's] judgment has come."

Revelation 10:6-7 NASB
6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.
But if revelation is chronological then there is a ton of delay:
42 monthsRevelation 11:2
1,260 daysRevelation 11:3
It would also mean verse 2 & 3 are seperate time periods.
3 and a half daysRevelation 11:9
1,260 daysRevelation 12:6
42 monthsRevelation 13:5
In 10:6 it is said there is no delay, yet at least 84 months plus 2,453.5 days must pass before the end. That adds up to about 165.5 months or about 14 years. Additionally, if you add up the five months of Revelation 9:5 and the five months of Revelation 9:10, if Revelation is chronological, then the tribulation must last at least 15 years!

After the seventh bowl is poured out, we see in Revelation 16:17 a voice say, Γέγονεν "It is done!" How can it be done, if it is not in fact over? Especially since "It is done" is repeated again in Revelation 21:6.
Revelation 21:6 NASB
Then He said to me, Γέγοναν "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
In Revelation 21:6 and Revelation 16:17, the Greek verbs translated "It is done" are both Perfect Indicative, which means that it is past tense in relation to the chronology.
Revelation 10:6-7 NASB
6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.
Revelation 10:6-7 is similar to the "It is done" in Revelation 16:17. When the seventh trumpet is blown, the tribulation is over, and the kingdom is set up. This is exactly what Revelation 11:15 states, but yet, this verse is in the middle of the book.
Revelation 11:15 NASB
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."
It appears that Revelation 11:11-12 is symbolic of the rapture occurring. It closely precedes the seventh trumpet, which is the close of another timeline. In Revelation 11:15, the seventh trumpet is blown, and it states that the kingdom is set up on earth. The Greek verb used here, Ἐγένετο is an aorist indicative, which means the verse is basically saying that the kingdom was established on this earth (i.e., the kingdom had been established and is now a present reality). This is more evidence that Revelation is not chrological because this would mean there would be no more tribulation.

If Revelation is not chronological, then the rapture is unarguably and unambiguously post-trib. Revelation 16:15, which occurs right before Armageddon, has Jesus saying, "Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!"

If Revelation is not chronological, then new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven twice. If this is so, does this mean new Jerusalem is like a yo-yo, coming down from heaven, go back into heaven, and then coming down from heaven again?
Revelation 21:1-2 HCSB
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. 2 I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:10 HCSB
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

Revelation 21:23 and Revelation 22:5 are parallel passages. At this point, I think John is trying to say look, if you don't get it's not chronological by now, you never will.
Revelation 21:23 ISV
The city doesn't need any sun or moon to give it light, because the glory of God gave it light, and the lamb was its lamp.
Revelation 22:5 ISV
There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will shine on them. They will rule forever and ever.
In Revelation 19:17, The angel was "standing in the sun," but in Revelation 7:16-17 like Revelation 22:5, there is no more sun.
Revelation 7:16-17 ISV
16 They will never be hungry or thirsty again. Neither the sun nor its heat will ever beat down on them, 17 because the lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs filled with the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."
Verse 17 is paralleled to Revelation 22:1 and 21:3-4
Revelation 22:1 ESV
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Revelation 21:3-4 ESV
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
The sun does not strike them because there is no sun.

In conclusion, this evidence that Revelation is not chronological is irrefutable!

We Are Not Appointed to Wrath

The Timing of the Rapture

The Testimony and Parables of Jesus

Does apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refer to the rapture?

The Church Not Found In Revelation

The Resurrection

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, New Doctrine or Just a Clarification?

Who Escapes What in Revelation 3:10?

Imminence Refuted

John 14 - In My Fathers House

Harpazo the Greek Word for Rapture

Behold! I tell you what mystery means

The Dead in Christ & Tribulation Saints

Andy Woods

Revelation is NOT Chronological

Is the Holy Spirit the Restrainer?

What I believe - Day of the Lord Timeline

Understanding Zechariah 14

Blasted Hope or Blessed Hope?

Understanding Greek Pronouns and Their Importance

The Comfort Given by Paul

The Rapture in Revelation 7, Part 1

The Rapture in Revelation 7, Part 2

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