Is the Book of Revelation in Chronological Order?

The most important question to answer to fully understand the book of Revelation

Is the book of Revelation in chronological order will be one of the most important questions you should ask before you begin your study of the end-times. Why you ask? Well, if you believe the events of Revelation are in chronological order then you will look at each event as something unfolding and leading to the next mentioned event. Makes sense, right?

Well it does until you come to an event like Revelation 7:2-4.

And I saw another angel ascending form the east having the seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand seals from all the tribes of the children of Israel. —Revelation 7:2-4

This is the special mark put on the heads of the servants of God. When you come to this event and it is now talking about only 144,000 people being given a special seal then you have to wonder if this is talking about Christians, or have they all been raptured. If that is your opinion then all of the events that follow Revelation 7 have to be in the Tribulation period, which by default makes you a pre-tribulationist.  So now your point of view, and the scriptures you look at to support your view, are based on the fact that you came to an event, Revelation 7:2-4, which you couldn’t explain (because there isn’t a scripture reference to explain this passage) so now you have backed up and now support a position that the rapture must have occurred before this chapter. This effectively prevents you from seeing any possibility of a rapture occurring at a later time in the book of Revelation chronology.

So, in essence you have now created your own timeline instead of following the biblical chronology of the book of Revelation. There are several of these scenes in Revelation that, based on how you interpret them, will lead you to pick a position as to whether you are a pre, mid, or post-tribulationist. What this does is prevent you from seeing the forest for the trees. You will move right past the obvious rapture because you decided to interpret or assume facts not in evidence, instead of just saying, I don’t know.  

Gregg F. Swift, J.D.