Remarks On And Summary Of The Apocalypse

By Samuel P. Tregelles
This argument assumes that the chapters of the Revelation follow one another in a chronological sequence, so that what is narrated in Chapter 4 (the vision of the crowned elders) must be fulfilled long before that which is recorded in Chapter 19, viz. the appearing in glory of the Lord. This assumption, however, is a fallacy, as a very brief examination of the matter will show. The order of narration is not historical but moral; that which occurs last being often here (as elsewhere) narrated first. Indeed, it is usual in all prophetic Scripture to exhibit the final scene of triumph and glory—“the preface of blessing ,” as it has been most appropriately called—before the intervening development of evil and of judgment. A conspicuous example is found in the second chapter of Isaiah, which contains the first of the visions granted to that prophet. The first five verses present a glorious picture of the final blessing of Israel in the millennial day, followed by a terrible description of the judgments which shall precede the Day of the Lord and the humbling of the nation under His hand.

Furthermore, the Revelation, like other books of prophecy, is composed of a series of visions which present, in different aspects and with varying details, the events of the same, or parts of the same period of history, the rule being that the earlier visions give outlines, the later ones details, of the same events. There is not the slightest difficulty in perceiving that after the vision of the glory of the risen saints in heaven given in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Revelation, Chapter 6 gives an outline which reaches to the close of the present dispensation, treating, in fact, of the same events as are related in different connections, in Chapter 19.

That the vision presented in Chapters 4, 5 is anticipative is proved by the fact that coincidentally with the worship in heaven of the crowned elders and living ones representing the risen saints, the earth at large, and Israel in it, are presented in relations of millennial blessing. The words “they reign on the earth” (Chapter 5. 10) which Dr. Tregelles asserts, form the true reading (see ante, note on p. 69) must point to Israel enjoying the fulfillment of Isaiah 60:8-12. And even if the saints on earth, whose prayers are presented before the throne by the crowned elders in heaven, could be supposed to be the Remnant of Israel during the days of Antichristian tribulation (a supposition full of the most irreconcilable difficulties, but which has been strongly urged), it is impossible to overlook the fact that the earth with all its inhabitants (verse 13) is represented as joining, at the same time, in the song of praise to God and the Lamb. This could never take place until the period of Antichristian evil was over, and the Lord was exalted throughout the earth (see Ps. 46, 47), that is, until after His second advent.

And yet it is frequently urged that “the structure of the Revelation” is the strongest argument for the rapture of the saints at a secret coming occurring some time prior to the Lord’s appearing in glory!

It will be easily seen by the following outline of the Revelation, that the principle of repetition is followed throughout that book, as indeed is the case, generally, in all the prophetic Scriptures.

Chapter 1—General Introduction.

Chapter 2, 3—The decline and approaching judgment of corporate Gentile Christianity, as represented by the Seven Churches of Asia.

Chapter 4, 5—A vision of the heavenly glory of the risen “Church of the first‑born,” and the Millennial blessing of the earth; forming the “preface of blessing” to the Revelation as a whole.

Chapter 6—A vision, in outline, of the judgments immediately preceding the Lord’s Advent. The “preface of blessing” is given in verse 2, where the Lord is displayed as the Conqueror; after which the chapter retraces the narration, giving instruction regarding points prior to His appearing.

Chapter 7-9—A section giving fuller details of the Divine judgments which precede the Advent. The “preface of blessing” is given in Chapter 7, which sets forth the two elect bodies who are preserved for blessing at that period; first, The Elect Remnant of Israel (Chapter 7:1-8); and, second, “The Church of the first-born ones which are written in Heaven” (Cf. Heb. 12:23).

Chapter 10-13—A section giving still fuller details of the same judgments, but restricted to the last 1,260 days of the dispensation, i.e.the last “half-week” of Daniel (Dan. 9:27). Hence this portion of the Revelation is called “a little book.” The plan of the chapters is as follows: Chapter 10—The “preface of blessing “—a vision of the Lord’s coming in power and glory. Chapter 11—Jerusalem’s history during the 1,260 days’ testimony of the two witnesses.

Chapter 12—Christianity outcast and persecuted. Chapter 13—Antichrist reigning supreme. <>Chapter 14—A vision enlarging certain of the points before mentioned, such as the testimony, sufferings, and blessed hope of the persecuted saints. The “preface of blessing” is in verses 1-5.

Chapter 15-18—A section dealing specially with the judgment of Babylon. Chapter 15—The “preface of blessing:” a vision of the Millennial glory and reign of Christ and His saints.

Chapter 16—Judgments upon “the seat of the Beast and all who follow him.”

Chapter 17—Moral Babylon: (The Antichristian system.)

Chapter 18—Material Babylon: (The capital city of Antichrist’s dominion.)

Chapter 19—The coming of the Lord in glory.

Chapter 20—The Millennial Reign, closed by a final revolt against God: the final judgment of the wicked dead. <>

Chapter 21:1-8—The New Heavens and Earth—Eternity.

Chapter 21:9—end, Chapter 22. 1-5—The Heavenly City, in its relations with the Earth during the Millennium (“The proof of this is seen in 22:2—“the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” In the New Heaven and New Earth (21:1) there is no more curse, sorrow, crying, nor pain, “for the former things have passed away”).

Chapter 22:6 to endConcluding words of warning and promise.