Past, Present, and Future in Revelation

This is the shortest of this series of articles, because the subject is the simplest.

Revelation is not a book of predictions. Rather, it is about the past, present, and future. How can we know that? Because Revelation itself tells us so, clearly and obviously.

In the introduction to Revelation, John of Patmos (the author of Revelation) tells us about receiving instructions to write the book of Revelation. In Rev. 1:19, the Son of Man instructs John, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” Obviously, “the things which shall be hereafter” are the future, so we know that Revelation includes things about the future. “The things which are” are obviously the present, the time when John was living, having his visions, and writing Revelation; that is why there are things about the Roman Empire in Revelation--because the Roman Empire was a very large presence in John’s present time. Finally, “the things which thou hast seen” are obviously things that happened in the past. Thus Revelation is about past, present, and future, from John’s point of view in time near the end of the first century CE.

Now you might rightly think that “the things which thou hast seen” is an odd way to say “the past.” That’s because that odd phrase actually has a double meaning. The second meaning is too complex to explain here in a short article. Even in my book From Fear To Love: Transforming Revelation I can’t explain the second meaning until the last chapter when almost everything in Revelation has been explained.


From Fear To Love: Transforming Revelation

by David Brubaker


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