The opening of the book (Rev 1:1-8) states the main themes of the entire book in relatively plain language. The central theme of the book is Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1-2, 5-7) with particular attention to future events (Rev 1:1, 7). The source of the book’s content is a vision that originates with God and was handed down to John through Jesus Christ and “his angel” (Rev 1:1-3). The book John wrote was intended to be read aloud to the churches and “kept” by them (Rev 1:3). After a vision of the glorious Christ (1:12-20) and message to the seven churches (chapters 2 and 3), John and his readers get a glimpse through the open gates of heaven into the heavenly throne room itself. It is there that the centrality of the cross and of Christ in the operations of the universe becomes plain.
The seals, trumpets and bowls (Revelation 6-11 and 15-18) are mostly plagues of judgment. The seals and trumpets cover the whole Christian era, while the bowls focus especially on the end. The over-riding message is that God is in control of history even when it appears out of control.
For Seventh-day Adventists, the most critical part of the book is the central vision (Revelation 12-14). It describes the war in heaven (Rev 12:7-12), the birth and ascension of Christ (12:5), the experience of the church during the 1260 “days” (12:6; 14-16), the unholy trinity (dragon [12:3-4, 17], sea beast [13:1-10], and land beast [13:11-18]), the remnant (12:17; 14:1-3), and the three angels’ messages (14:6-12). There is also a symbolic view of the Second Coming (Rev 14:14-20).
The final chapters of the book cover the celebration of Babylon’s fall (19:1-6), the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:7-10), the Second Coming along with the destruction of the enemy powers or earth (19:11-21), the Millennium and its aftermath (Revelation 20) and the New Jerusalem (21:1 – 22:5). The book closes with an appeal to the reader (22:6-21).