THE KEY TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Over forty years ago, I read this booklet and was fascinated with it. Before reading this booklet, I thought
it was a closed book.
HOW WRONG I WAS!
I am reproducing this booklet "Key to the Book of Revelation" hoping that it will
thrill you as much as it did me.
Tom Justus, Minister
Church of God, Sabbath Day Springdale, Arkansas
MYSTERY Book of all the books! If the Bible as a whole is the Book that nobody understands, (except the very "elect"), certainly the REVELATION is the one Book in the Bible least
understood of all!
Yet this Book is the very key to understanding of
all the prophecies!
Can it, then, be understood? It can, if you have the
key to this Book, itself. We give you, here, this key. This is not intended to
be an exposition of the Revelation-merely a brief
outline to give you the key which will unlock its true
meaning for you.
WHAT'S GOlNG TO HAPPEN, FROM NOW? No man can foretell these events. But we can know
what will happen provided we can UNDERSTAND
the prophecies of the Bible!A REVEALING-Not a Concealing!
The test of this understanding lies in the outcome
of prophecied events. When a minister or evangelist
uses the Bible prophecy to FORE-tell events,
..."when the word of the prophet (preacher) shall
come to pass, then shall the preacher be known, that
the Lord hath truly sent him." (Jer. 28:9).
Understanding of the prophecies can come only if
we have the KEYS to the Book of Revelation-for in
it alone do we find events of the various prophecies
correlated in order of time-sequence.
In the Book of Revelation is a STORY-FLOW,
relating one event to another in order of time-sequence, with occasional insets injected into the
continuous story-thread. This fact is the first KEY to
understanding of the Book.
Some believe Revelation is a closed Book, not to
be understood. But the opening verse says: "The
REVELATION of Jesus Christ . . . To SHOW unto
His servants things which must shortly COME to
pass. Not the hiding, concealing, or closing up-the
REVEALING of Jesus Christ to SHOW events To
COME to pass. And in the last chapter it says: "Seal
NOT the sayings of the prophecy." (22: 10).
Notice, (Rev. 1:1-2) God gave the prophecy to
Christ. Christ, not John, is the Revelator, who opens
to our understanding the meaning of the prophecy.
John merely BARE RECORD-recorded in
writing-this revealing. John recorded three things:
(1) the Word of God;
(2) the testimony or direct words of Jesus;
(3) the things John SAW, in vision, or in spirit.
The first three verses contain the opening
introduction; the remainder of the first chapter the
beautiful salutation. The dominant KEY-NOTE of
the Book -its subject, its theme-is revealed in the
10th, or middle verse of this chapter. This theme is
"THE DAY OF THE LORD."
In spirit, IN VISION, John was carried forward
some 1900 years-projected, as it were, intoTHE
LORD'S DAY, which is simply "THE DAY OF THE
LORD"-the time of God's judgments and plagues
upon sin at the end-where John sees, in symbols in
this vision, these age-end events leading up to, and
climaxing in, THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST!
THE THEME OF THE BOOK
Not understanding this key-note verse, endless
controversy and confusion has resulted from arguing
as to whether the message was revealed to John and
written on a Saturday or on a Sunday. But what
misunderstanding! What waste of precious time! The
original Greek word here translated "on," is "en."
This Greek word "en" is consistently translated
throughout the Revelation elsewhere as "in" or
In spirit-IN VISION-John was projected 1900
years into the future. INTO the "DAY OF THE
LORD," foretold in more than 30 places in prophecy,
which is the Lord's Day, the time of His judgments
and plagues soon now to come. The Weymouth
translation has it: "In the Spirit, I found myself
present on the Day of the Lord." The Concordant
Version, same as Rotherham's, translates it: "I came
to be, in spirit, IN the Lord's Day." The Bullinger
translation: "I came to be, by the spirit, IN the Lord's
John, actually on the isle of Patmos, appeared to
be, in vision in the time of the "Day of the Lord,"
now soon to come. Just as Ezekiel (Ezek. 8:3) said,
"the Spirit lifted me up between the earth and the
heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to
Jerusalem." And so the THEME of The Revelation is
the events of the DAY OF THE LORD," climaxing in
the Second Coming of Christ.
The second and third chapters contain the
messages to the seven churches. These were
churches that existed at the time of the writing of the
Book of Revelation. John had probably labored with
them in the past. The characteristics of these
churches can be found in the Church of God
throughout all ages. You should study, and apply to
yourself, these messages.
The SETTING for the main revelation of future
events is found in the fourth and fifth chapters. Here,
in vision, John is taken into heaven where events TO
OCCUR ON EARTH are revealed. He sees God the
Father sitting on His throne, the Book of this
prophecy in His right hand, sealed with SEVEN
SEALS -thus completely closed to understanding.
Seven denotes completeness.
Before Him are the four "beasts," or living
creatures, and the twenty-four elders, and in their
midst stands Christ, the "Lamb of God." Christ,
alone, is found worthy to open the seals and reveal the
prophecy to our understanding.
And fix in mind, THE SEVEN SEALS COVER THE
ENTIRE BOOK. In his vision, John sees Christ take the
Book from the right hand of the Father, and, one by one, in
this heavenly setting, open the seals-showing us, His
servants, things shortly To COME to pass -not events
AFTER they have occurred, but showing events TO COME to pass-BEFORE they occur!
THE KEY to the SEVEN SEALS
The opening of the first six seals is recorded in the sixth
chapter. As they are opened, John records the things he
SEES. But the things he sees are SYMBOLS. These
symbols represent literal and real things to occur on earth.
How can we understand the right meaning of these
symbols? WHAT IS THE KEY?
Just as Jesus spoke, during His earthly ministry, IN
PARABLES to those "without"-thus veiling the true
meaning so they would not understand, yet explaining, in
plain language, the meaning of the parables to His own
surrendered followers (Mark 4:10-12; Mat. 13:13-15), so
here the prophecy is IN SYMBOL, which those "without"
cannot understand-but which Jesus will explain in
PLAIN LANGUAGE to His true followers who keep His
Father's commandments, (Ps. 111:10) and possess the
Holy Spirit. (John 16:13; Acts 5:32) Because of rebellion
against God and His commandments, it is not given to all to
understand. (See Dan. 12:10) Those who break and teach
against the Commandments cannot understand Revelation.
But just as Jesus explained the meaning of His
symbolic parables to His true followers IN PLAIN
LANGUAGE, so He who is the SAME yesterday, today
and forever (Heb. 13:8) explains these symbols. Did Jesus,
then, in PLAIN LANGUAGE explain these same events of
the end-time, leading up to His second coming and age-end?
He did! When His disciples, on Mount Olivet, asked
Him, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall
be the SIGN of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?"
(Mat. 24:3) Jesus gave a startling prophecy. explaining in
Plain Language these events which shall end the age.
HERE, THEN, IS THE PLAIN EXPLANATION OF
THE SYMBOLS! Here is the KEY that unlocks the true
meaning of the seals!
In His Olivet prophecy, (Mat. 24) Jesus listed these six
events to occur: 1st, false prophets or false Christs (verse
5); 2nd, wars (verse 6) throughout the age, culminating at
the end-time in WORLD WAR (verse 7); 3rd, famines; 4th,
pestilences (verse 7). Then Jesus digressed (compare Luke
21:12) to go back and describe the siege and destruction of
Jerusalem in 70 A.D., because this was a type and
forerunner of the coming age-end siege against Jerusalem
and battle at ARMAGEDDON (compare Luke 17:30-36
with Mat. 24:17-28). Thus Mat. 24:928 and Luke 21:12-24
applies to the period of 70 A.D., only as a type of
forerunner of this age-end time, to which, therefore, it
Then Jesus shows, 5th, The GREAT TRIBULATION
(Mat. 24:21), followed 6th, by THE HEAVENLY SIGNS
of the darkened sun and moon with the stars falling (verse
29), together with the SIGN of Christ's coming, seen in
heaven (verse 30); and this was later followed by the actual
COMING of Christ (verse 30).
WHAT THE SEALS MEAN
Notice how accurately this explains the symbols of the
six seals of Rev. 6: When the 1st SEAL is opened (Rev. 6:1)
John sees a white horse (verse 2)-an imitation of Jesus at
His second coming described later in Rev. 19:11-16. Here
are pictured FALSE CHRISTS-false preachers deceiving
and causing multitudes to accept them as the ministers of
righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), preaching counterfeit
Christs (II Cor. 11:4) represented to be the true Christ who
died for us on the Cross. The world is full of them, though
deceived multitudes do not realize it!
The second seal is opened (verse 3, and 4) and a red
horse appears, killing men, taking peace from the
The third seal (verses 5, 6) is a black horse, picturing
The fourth seal (verses 7, 8) is a pale horse meaning
The fifth seal (verses 9-11) depicts one phase of THE
GREAT TRIBULATION-the martyrdom of saints. This
shows the Tribulation occurred in the middle ages only as a
type, or forerunner, for the martyrs of that time are told to
wait until this endtime martyrdom.
The sixth seal shows the heavenly signs-sun and moon
becoming dark, and the stars falling. (Verses
12-13) Some claim this already has occurred, but the events
they describe were mere LOCAL events, seen only in a
small section of New England, and merely a forerunner and
warning of the far more vast, awe-inspiring, terrible event
here described as YET to come.
It occurs AFTER the Tribulation. (See also Mat. 24:29)
Furthermore this event is accompanied or immediately
followed by the SIGN of the coming of Christ (Mat. 24:29-
30)-which Rev. 6:14-17 shows is the heavens departing
as a scroll rolled together-men hiding themselves in stark
terror in the dens and mountains, crying for the rocks and
mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of
Him who is sitting on the throne in heaven (compare Rev.
4:2, the scene where John, in vision, sees these seals being
opened~and from THE WRATH OF THE LORD, for THE
GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME! This (compare
Zeph. 1:14-17) is "THE DAY OF THE LORD."
The TRIBULATION, and THE DAY OF THE LORD
It is vital to understand the distinction between the
Great Tribulation, and the Day of the Lord. The heavenly
signs do not occur until AFTER the Tribulation. (Mat.
24:29) But they are to come BEFORE the "Day of the
Lord" (Joel 2:31). The two are different and separate. 1st,
Tribulation; 2nd, heavenly signs; 3rd, Day of the Lord,
which, we shall see is the seventh seal.
But just as we come to the time for the terrible DAY OF
THE LORD to strike, an angel appears holding back the
four winds, (Rev. 7:1-3) which are the first four Trumpet
plagues (ch. 8:7- 12) of the Day of the Lord.
They are held back until the 144,000 are sealed, and
the great innumerable multitude of ALL NATIONS turn to
God and His protection.
The 144,000 are 12,000 from each of the literal tribes
of Israel. (Rev. 7:4) They are sealed by the Holy Spirit. IN
their foreheads, and it is THE FATHER'S NAME that is
sealed there. (Rev. 14:1) The TIME of this sealing, then, is
yet future-after the Tribulation, after the heavenly signs,
after the SIGN of Christ's coming appears in heaven.
The innumerable multitude shall have come out of THE
GREAT TRIBULATION (Rev. 7: 14). God will not send His
plagues without warning of such supernatural nature (the
heavenly signs and the sign of the Son of Man) that all who are willing shall heed. Preaching and
warnings now seem to fall on deaf ears. But when God
sends these mighty supernatural signs, MEN WILL HEED
and turn to Christ.
Then comes the opening of THE SEVENTH SEAL, in
the eighth chapter.
And what IS the 7th seal? Remember, the seven seals
covered the ENTIRE BOOK, so this seal covers the
remainder of the prophecy. Under each seal John records
what he SEES. What does he SEE, as this last seal is
opened? (Rev. 8:1-2) He sees THE SEVEN TRUMPETS
being handed to the seven angels.
Here is the third VITAL KEY to this Book. The seven
Trumpets are not, as many have been taught,
contemporaneous with the seven seals. Neither do they
follow the closing of the seventh seal. They ARE, and
CONSTITUTE, the seventh seal.
The seventh seal comes in SEVEN STAGES, each called
a Trumpet. These are PLAGUES. (ch. 9:20) A trumpet is
BLOWN. The first four Trumpet plagues are described as
winds that BLOW on the earth, trees, rivers, sea. (Rev. 8:1-
12) I do not, here, attempt to interpret the nature of these
plagues-whether this language is to be taken literally or as
symbols. But remember, if you attempt to interpret these
things as symbols, you must find a BIBLE interpretation
for each. A Trumpet also is a symbol of WAR, and the 5th
and 6th Trumpets picture WAR-the two phases of the
coming WORLD WAR III. The last three Trumpets-the
5th, 6th, and 7th, are called WOES. (Rev. 8:13).
THE THREE WOES
The first woe, or 5th Trumpet, is described in chapter 9,
verses 1-11. The power that causes the destruction, this
time to Men, comes out of the "bottomless pit." We know
this is a symbol. The only place in Scripture where it is
interpreted is Rev. 17:8-14. There we learn that the re-birth
of the old ROMAN EMPIRE is the power that emerges out
of "the bottomless pit." It is a war-making power (Rev.
9:7). Mussolini restored the pitifully-weak, insignificant
SIXTH "head" of the "Beast"-the Roman Empire. A
seventh and last revival is yet to come. Hitler started
this-but failed to complete it.
The second woe, with its symbols of horses and
horsemen (compare Ezek. 38:4, 15) and (Joel 2:4) is
described in the 13th-21st verses, chapter 9. Could this be
the USSR destroying the coming Roman
Catholic, Nazi-Fascist Europe called "The Beast"
and "Babylon" in Rev. 17-18, also described in Isa.
47, 48: 13-14, and in Jer. 50 and 51?
And now notice that the TWO WITNESSES end
their mission (chapter 11) at the END of the second
Woe. (verses 12-14) They are killed by the "Beast"-re-born Roman Empire that comes out of the
bottomless pit under the first woe-which places the
time YET IN THE FUTURE, shattering some
cherished man-made theories.
Now comes the THIRD WOE, or 7th Trumpet.
What is it? This is the last 7th part of the seventh
seal, and remember the seven seals cover the
Notice Rev. 11:15-18. When the 7th Trumpet
sounds, the nations are angry-in world war, again
raging-and it is proclaimed "THY WRATH is
come." The only thing here described that possibly
could be this terrible woe is "Thy WRATH."
And what is "THY WRATH"? According to
Revelation 15:1, it is THE SEVEN LAST
PLAGUES! Just as the 7th seal is subdivided into the
SEVEN TRUMPETS, so the 7th Trumpet is divided
into the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES, which are and
constitute the 7th Trumpet or third woe. Thus the 7
last plagues too, are part of the 7th seal. The second
coming of Christ shall occur at the precise time of
the seven last plagues. And so, as this 7th Trumpet is
blown, the kingdoms of this world are become the
kingdoms of Christ, who then reigns. (11-15) So
Christ comes at the LAST TRUMP. (I Cor. 15:52,
I Thes. 4:16).
Chapter 12 is an inset chapter, injected into the
main story-thread. Just as any writer will stop his
narrative at a certain point, to go back and sketch a
different scene involving different characters and
events, bringing them up to, and connecting them
with his story-thread at that juncture, so here John
pictures the TRUE CHURCH, from the time prior to
Christ's birth, (verse 4) thru His birth, resurrection
and ascension, (verse 5) and the 1260 years of
persecution when the TRUE CHURCH was forced to
flee completely beyond the bounds of ROMAN
dominion. The TRUE CHURCH has always existed.
The church of chapter 17 is the great false church.
Rev. 12 brings the story of the true church to the
present, when the devil, knowing he has but a short
time, (verse 12) persecutes the true Church pictured
as a remnant or SMALL in number, and KEEPING
THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. (verse 17)
while the false Church and her daughters (Rev. 17:5)
preach the Commandments are done away!
The 13th chapter is another inset, picturing the
symbolic "beast" and the second two-horned "beast."
Chapter 14 shows the three angel Messages,
proclaiming the fall, or DOOM, of "Babylon" thru
the seven last Plagues; and the warning against the
MARK OF THE BEAST, which those in "Babylon"
are deceived into having.
Chapters 15, 16 describe THE SEVEN LAST
PLAGUES, which are the third woe or seventh
Trumpet. These are God's judgements against this
false religious system, "Babylon"-(Rev. 18:4, 8-10).
Chapters 17 and 18 picture the revived Roman
Empire and the great FALSE CHURCH, with her
DAUGHTER CHURCHES (17:5) deceiving all
nations (17:2, 15 and 18:3).
Israel is today IN BABYLON-deceived! (Jer.
50:4-8, 13-15, 51:6-9; Isa. 47:1, 5, 7-9, 11; 48:1, 12,
17-20) We are God's people, Israel-IN BABYLON
today, as Israel was in Egypt when God's plagues
were on Egypt! And God calls us OUT (Rev. 18:4)
and tells us to keep His commandments!
The 19th chapter shows the SECOND COMING
OF CHRIST, and the 20th the THOUSAND YEAR
REIGN ON EARTH (Rev. 5:10)-21st and 22nd
chapters the NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW
EARTH thru eternity.
NOTE: To understand this article, be sure to read
every text quoted IN YOUR OWN BIBLE.