The Book of Revelation is the last profound book in the New Testament. It conveys the significant purpose of Christianity by describing God’s plan for the world and his final judgment of the people by reinforcing the importance of faith and the concept of Christianity as a whole. Accordingly, this book is the written record—not of wild dreams—but the dramatic God-sent visions given to one of God’s servants, John the Apostle. This book was written by John in 95 or 96 A.
D. at the reign of the Roman Emperor, Domitian, and is the revelation of Jesus Christ illustrating the events that occur before and during the second coming of Christ.
By using complex symbolism and apocalyptic metaphor, the meaning of Revelation is defined: what is, what has been, and what is to come, is the central focus of the content. When correlating the total concept of the Book of Revelation, the tremendous impact of the Word of God cannot be overlooked.
The climax of God’s plan started back in Genesis “In the beginning . . . ” (New American Standard Bible, Gen. 1:1), which lead up to Revelations. As Gareth Leaney stated, “God’s plan of redemption is not judgment, but the eternity beyond it. A man named John wrote the book of Revelation on an island in the Argean Sea named Patmos. Domitian banished John to the isle of Patmos because of the Christian stand. This person is believed to be John the Apostle of Jesus Christ, author of the fourth gospel. There has been some confusion over this, due to the fact that John does not designate himself as an apostle and, when mentioning them, he does not include himself in that group. Rather he claims to be a prophet and his book to be a prophecy.
However, the early churches as well as early theologians claim the author as John the Apostle. In 480 A. D. , five passages written by Iraneous mentioned John specifically as the author, and in the middle of the 2nd century Justin Marty quoted verbatim “attributing the authorship to John, an apostle of Christ” (Tenney). In researching the fourth gospel and the book of Revelation similarities do occur showing the book to be written by the same person. Additionally, John the Apostle is identified four times as the author (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 1:1, 4, 9; 22:18).
Revelation was written in first century clearly when the Christians were being pressured by Rome to turn from their faith to the Roman emperor. This book was intended for the seven churches of Asia; however, the larger intended audience of this book was all people, everywhere, of all centuries. God inspired John to send his manuscript to the seven churches in western Asia Minor [Turkey]. John’s writings, separated from the other New Testament books by a period of fifteen to twenty years, were given to the Christian church to complete the body of the divine scriptures.
John said he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 1:10) when he heard and says the things which he was commanded, by God, to write down. John appears from time to time as an active participant in the narrative of the book (e. g. , 5:1-5); however, for the most part, he is only the recorder of the visions he foretold. Some scholars believe that the book was written around 64 A. D. , after the burning of Rome. Revelation 11:1 references the temple is still standing; however, Scholars suggest that history proves that the temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 A. D. after the burning of Rome. This is most likely a prediction and has absolutely no relevance as to the date the book was written. Despite the earlier date given by some scholars, there is historical evidence that points to 95 or 96 A. D. as being the more probable date for the writing of this book. Among these include statements from Christian writers such as church father who states that Revelation was written in the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian (Fiorenza). In addition, this date better agrees with description of the early churches and is accepted by them as well as by scholars as the better date.
The word revelation or apocalypse has two distinct meanings. In Latin “Revelatio” means unveiling and in Greek “apokalypsis” means the removing of a veil. The purpose of this book is the revelation of Jesus Christ and the final judgment of the word of God. “The coming of sin into the world, the establishment of the economy of redemption, has necessitated the making known of truths not made known by general revelation. Therefore, God has given the special revelation brought to us in the Holy Scriptures. The scriptures reiterate the truths proclaimed in nature, in history, and in man himself; and, in addition thereto, declare the salvation which God has provided for mankind in Jesus Christ” (Campbell). In retrospect, revelation unveils God’s future plan for the earth and is written to be understood. Clearly the book of Revelation is the ultimate battle between good and evil. It is the time when all sin will be judged, demons will be cast away, and Christ will reign over the earth. This is the word of God showing us his plan for the retribution of his son Jesus Christ.
By sending these words to John in a vision God is warning the people of the world to repent for their sins and that the time is drawing near. “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne;” (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 1:4). The content of Revelation is very complex apocalyptic literature consisting of many symbols, some of which are explained, and others are not. The number seven occurs numerous times throughout this narrative.
The number seven, a perfect number, divisible by nothing meaning completeness. “The book is broken down by four series of seven according to the theme of which is, which was, and which is to come” (Cashmore). Concluding is the fall of Babylon, the final battle, and the New Jerusalem. By breaking down the content in this way it is more easily explained, but keep in mind that there are a few brief interruptions that do not apply to the derivative of seven. The first series of the four are The Seven Letters (New American Standard Bible, Rev. :1-3:22). In these seven letters John sends messages to the seven churches in Asia. Although research shows that this is also meant towards other bodies outside of these seven churches. Each of these letters begin with a characterization of Christ and praise to the churches for the good deeds that they have accomplished. They, then, criticize the churches for mistakes they have made ending with a promise of protection for those that conquer. Moving on to what is to come he then writes of the second series of seven.
The Seven Seals (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 6:1-17) and the great tribulation which last for a period of seven years. A large scroll is described with seven seals to be broken, each with a consequence, in order to reveal its contents. Not only does this scroll contain the judgment of the wicked, but the redemption of the good as well. These are the events leading up to the end of the world. The seals bring about a horror of plagues to be suffered by the people such as war, famine, death, and martyrdom for the righteous.
Upon breaking the seals the sun will turn black, the moon red like blood, stars will fall from the sky, and the people will hide from the wrath of God. This revelation is the battle between good and evil, the people against God, with Satan’s evil powers trying to destroy God through his people. Both the antichrist and false prophet, who deceives the people, requires them to receive the mark of the beast or otherwise endure persecution. Even though God has promised to protect his people he cannot protect them from martyrdom.
Outside of the series of seven he sends 144,000 martyrs, 12,000 of each of the twelve tribes of Israel to carry out his service. When the seventh seal is opened a great silence falls over the earth marking the beginning of the third series of seven. The Seven Trumpets (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 8:2-14:20). These two are more plagues to be ravished upon the people who have rejected Christ. A wrath is so severe that the destruction of the entire world is eminent. Throughout this horror there is still time for the people to make a choice between Christ and the Antichrist.
The harshness of this wrath is not only to judge the people, but to force them to fall to their knees and repent. This alone illustrates a merciful God who is willing to forgive those who have betrayed him. Among these plagues of the seven trumpets include the destruction of one third of them vegetation of the earth, indescribable volcanic eruption, the loss of one third of the life in the sea, complete darkness on the earth, locusts that will attack the people to torture but not kill them, and finally death. Then again outside of the series of seven God sends to witnesses to prophesize o the people. These witnesses are murdered by the beast and left in the street to be looked upon by the people who are rejoicing in this so called victory. The plagues of the trumpets end with an earthquake that kills 7,000 people in the city of Babylon marking that the end of the world has been announced. Finally the last series of seven, The Seven Bowls. (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 16:1-21): As the seven bowls are poured upon the earth we see the divine judgment of Christ, the reaction of an unholy civilization, and the final persecution of the church.
Faith will be tested because it will seem as if Satan has unlimited power and that all hope is gone. God’s wrath is fully unleashed and raging on those who bear the mark of the beast. Horrible sores are cast upon the people, the sea turns to blood and every living creature in it is destroyed, the entire water supply of the earth becomes contaminated, the sun will scorch the people with fire and burn them, darkness engulfs everything, and the river of Euphrates completely dries up. This last bowl is somewhat different from the others. In the Old Testament this river is the boundary to the Promised Land and may be interpreted as the prelude to the gathering of God’s dispersed people in their own land” (Campbell). With the pouring of the seventh bowl the voice of God says, “It is done. ” Thunder booms, lightening strikes, and an earthquake erupts unlike any that history has ever seen. The great city of Babylon splits into utter destruction. Then, just as promised, Christ returns to reign on earth for 1,000 years. The martyrs are resurrected to share in this time of great joy, Satan is thrown into the abyss, and the earth restored is filled with peace.
After this millennial reign Satan will be released, once again, to deceive the people and attempt to turn them against God in one final battle, the battle of Armageddon. It is here that Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, defeated forever. A New Jerusalem is built, a new heaven and a new earth. The wicked are cast into the lake of fire, the dead stand before God in final judgment, and the righteous enter into eternal life. In addition, John was given a vision of the new heaven and new earth, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . (New Standard American Bible, Rev. 21:1). John also saw a New Jerusalem coming down out of the sky, from the east, to the new earth where God and the Jesus Christ will reside among us. Nothing unclean will reside in this new city. All sin will be gone. Only those who have been washed with the blood of Christ will inhabit this glorious city. The book ends with John’s warning against changing any of this prophecy addressed to everyone who hears its word. The wrath, judgment, and redemption of God is outlined in these pages.
It is here that the entire future of the world rests. The Lord sent his angel to verify these words in which he sent to John in a vision. The book of Revelation is the word of Jesus Christ: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give it to everyone according to what he has done.
I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ” (New American Standard Bible, Rev. 22:11- 12). Revelations concludes with a collection of prophetic oracles. They testify to the authenticity of the revelation contained in this book. When taking an intense look at this amazing book as a whole, the incredible impact that Revelation has on Christianity is recognized, for it truly is the Word of God. The unforgettable content and prophecy for the future grasps the hearts of the believers and provides for the divine promise of eternal life.
God gave his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who willingly gave his life to pay the ultimate price (death on the Cross) for our sins. It is only through Christ that our future has been set and secured for eternal life which God has given to us for free. “Genesis describes a paradise which was lost. Revelation pictures a paradise restored” (Leaney).
New American Standard Bible, Updated ed. Foundation Publications, Inc. (2002). Anaheim, California Cashmore, David. “Laodicea and the seven churches. ” Stimulus: The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought & Practice 12. 2 (2004): 16-20.
Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 20 Nov. 2010. Campbell, R. Alastair. “Triumph and delay: the interpretation of Revelation 19:11-20:10. ” Evangelical Quarterly 80. 1 (2008): 3-12. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. Leaney, Gareth. “Paradise Lost? Recapturing a Biblical Doctrine of the New Creation. ” Evangel 25. 3 (2007): 62-66. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schussler. “APOCALYPTIC ADN GNOSIS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION. ” Journal of Biblical Literature 92. 4 (1973): 565. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 28 Nov. 2010.
Cite this Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/book-of-revelation/