Q. A friend has been trying to convince me that The Revelation isn’t in chronological order. What are your thoughts on this?
A. I think the Book of Revelation is pretty much written in chronological order, but there are exceptions to this.
One exception is when there’s too much happening for John to explain it all at once, because we can only talk about one thing at a time.
I liken it to a sports commentator trying to explain everything that’s happening in a football game. There are 22 players on the field but he can only describe the actions of one of them at a time. So he uses instant replay and stop action tools to do it, backing up to show us something that’s already happened.
It’s the same with John. He has to describe things in heaven and things on earth all happening at the same time. So from time to time he’ll “stop the action” to show us everything that’s going on.
The other exception is when it makes more sense to follow a thought to its conclusion even though its end takes you out of the time frame of its beginning. Rev. 20:7-17 is a good example of this. John followed Satan’s story to its end, spanning the entire 1000 year Millennium to do so, and including the Great White Throne Judgment. Then he backed up to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the New Jerusalem in Rev. 21.
There are several clues that confirm this. First, Rev. 20:7 begins “When the thousand years are over…”. Then Rev. 21 opens with a direct quote from Isaiah 65:17, which is about the millennium on Earth, and goes on to describe the New Jerusalem. Rev. 22:1-2 is a summary of Ezekiel 47:1-12, another millennial passage.