The Way It Happened

Revelation 1:19, Past, Present & Future

Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

//Revelation begins with John experiencing a vision of the Son of Man in all his glory. When John saw him, he fell at his feet, as if dead. But Jesus touched John, and gave him three instructions:

1.       Write about what you have already seen.
2.       Write about what is going on now.

3.       Write what is about to happen.

Those who subscribe to a purely futuristic interpretation of Revelation should have stopped reading a few words back. Not only is John instructed to write about the “past” and the “present,” but he is soon promised the “future” will arrive in short order. Nowhere in Revelation is there any hint that its prophecies are written for a distant century.

So, which parts of Revelation were the past, which were the present (John’s time) and which were about to happen? Maybe the answer is in chapter 11, verse 14:

The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

So there you have it: the fulcrum on which all of Revelation teeters between what has occurred and what is yet to come. Grab a pair of scissors now, and cut the book of Revelation in two along this verse. You’ll have two manuscripts of about the same length: a history book, and a book of prophecy. Well, it’s not that cut and dried, because Revelation skips forward and backward in time so often it’s nearly impossible to follow, but you get the idea.

Unless you’ve been exposed to a historical-critical analysis of Revelation, this interpretation probably makes no sense at all. How can Revelation’s horrors be half over? will make sense of it all, from the perspective of an historian, not an evangelist.

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