“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
John was told to write what he had seen, what was happening now, and then what would take place later. In other words, write what was, what is, and what is to come.
Scholars have dubbed this verse, “The divine outline.” How lovely! It’s easy to remember the outline of the book.
What was. What had John just seen? In chapter 1, John had experienced an encounter with the Lord Jesus. He had seen Him in His glory and splendor and was told to write that down. What a blessing for us; we get to see through John’s eyes this glimpse of Jesus’ beauty and majesty. We get to have the assurance that He is alive and reigning.
What is now. Chapters 2 and 3 were what was taking place right then. These two chapters were messages to seven churches in Asia Minor. They were real churches during John’s lifetime and the message was for them. But these are also messages for us today. Chapters 2 and 3 of this book are so very important for the church in the modern world. What does God commend? What does he condemn? What does He challenge us to do? What does He caution us to stay away from?
Then God tells John to write down what will take place later. In chapter 4, John was suddenly caught up to the throne room of God. Heaven was opened. There were angels worshiping, elders bowing, and the music and songs of eternity.
This is glorious and as believers this will someday be our experience also. There is coming a day when heaven will be opened for all of us, and we will be transported to the presence of Almighty God. The apostle Paul reminds us that it hasn’t even entered into our minds the wonderfulness that awaits us. As big and awesome and grand that we can think about in our minds doesn’t begin to touch the reality.
And then, beginning in chapter 6 of this marvelous book, God lifts the veil on the future and gives us a glimpse of earth’s last days. What a wonderful gift God has given to the entire world. Every one of us can look now and see what lies ahead then and choose today, at this very moment, Who we will follow.
What was, what is, and what is to come, what a gift!