The Book of Revelation Summary
- The Revelation was written by the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos in or around 68-69 AD
- John wrote the book of Revelation in Apocalyptic language
- John wrote The Book Of Revelation to Seven Churches in Asia Minor during the first century
- John was alive during the Tribulation
- John wrote to the seven Churches to explain to them things which will soon take place. He told them to watch out for specific events.
Who wrote the book of Revelation?
The Apostle John
The Apostle John was boldly preaching and teaching the ways of Jesus (the good news, or Gospel). Church history has it that it was because of his bold preaching, the Roman Emperor Nero had ordered John to be exiled to the Island of Patmos. Revelation was written around 68 -69 AD. Some Church fathers (in all their doctrine) have Emperor Domitian exiling John to Patmos after trying John boiled in oil …twice…for preaching the Gospel. Church historian and theologian, Tertullian (200 ad), has written down that John was boiled in oil not only once, but twice. Apparently the Apostle John was miraculously and completely unharmed during both attempts. Emperor Domitian then banishes him to Patmos (which is translated as the “Island of Salt”), where he would live for the rest of his earthly life.
Revelation 1:9- I, John, your brother and fellow participant in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
There are a lot of different ancient stories about the island of Patmos but when the Romans had conquered Patmos, it was all downhill from there. It was used as an exile for convicts. When the Apostle John was sent there by Domitian, he converted all of the people on the Island to Christianity and then wrote the book of Revelation after an incredible encounter with Jesus. The Island of Patmos was guarded by Roman and Greek officials which would’ve made any communication back to the mainland pretty difficult.
Who was the book of Revelation written too?
Seven Churches In Asia
Revelation 1:4- John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne
Revelation 1:11- saying, “Write on a scroll what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
The Book of Revelation is a letter that John the elder Revelation had written to seven specific churches in Asia Minor as stated twice, by name, in the first chapter of Revelation. See the verses above. Let’s learn a little but more about the seven churches (will talk about the the seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, and the final judgment on a later article) and John had written to:
- Ephesus- (Revelation 2:1-7): known for having done a lot of hard work and for their perseverance. They often separated themselves from the wicked but they were admonished for having forsaken its first love. They got salty towards people.
- Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)- admired for keeping faithful during hard times. They are rich “in Spirit.” They were told about a future persecution of their Church.
- Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17)- they were a faithful and bold group even though they are near to what the Bible calls “satan’s throne.” They are encouraged to repent for allowing false teachers to affect their faith, specifically the teaching of Balaam and Balak.
- Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29)- this Church group has grown a lot in their love, faith, service and perseverance but they are being seduced the teachings of Jezebel. The Spirit of Jezebel are teachings that allow people to live in sexual immorality.
- Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6)- This group of people has a really good reputation, but the Bible says this Church is dead. They are told to complete the work God wants them to do. They are cautioned to fortify itself and through repentance, return to God.
- Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13)- a great reputation for its steadfast faith, keeping the word of God and enduring patiently.
- Laodicea (revelation 3:14-22)- God calls them lukewarm and boring. They are a very wealthy group, but the Bible says they are ” naked and wretched” in Spirit.
So here is a question that I all believe we need to ask ourselves. If these are seven real churches, and John is penning this letter directly to them, what gives us the right to ignore this fact and project in the future as if it had nothing to do with them? Saint John was writing this Revelation NOT with a future audience in mind. What does the book of revelations meaning on this issue? He wrote this letter directed at seven specific groups of people of things that will soon take place. So if we made this book about us today, wouldn’t that be adding to the intent of the scripture? Besides, we would have to understand the language the book of Revelation was written in. I’m not just talking about Aramaic, but the Apocalyptic style it was written in.
Understanding Revelation and Apocalyptic Language
The book of Revelation was written in what was known as Apocalyptic language. We have many different writing styles today (poetry, narrative, historical, sci-fi etc). Just like us, the first century also had many different styles of writing. Some of which we do not use today. The word Apocalyptic literally comes from the book of Revelation and is often attributed to books written in between the time periods of 200 B.C and 100 A.D. The typical give away of Apocalyptic writings, besides the style, was the theme. The topics were based around the destruction of the Jewish nation or the persecution of the Jews. Apocalyptic writings are very similar to prophetic writings with some differences that I wanted to go over. Prophecy usually comes as a “thus sayeth the Lord” where we are hearing from God and releasing those words to His people. Prophecy oftentimes uses symbols that are very relatable and easy to understand. Apocalyptic language also speaks of the future but mostly comes in dreams and visions. It uses very vibrant and elaborate imagery that is often unknown, but destructive in nature. Prophecy builds up and tries to re align to God’s will and promise yet Apocalyptic language is describing an end to something with a lot of wild analogies and images. Dragons, beasts, fire from the sky etc. Apocalyptic language is never to be taken literally. The writers are using this language to elaborately describe some type of revenge or destruction.
End Times Prophecy | Is the book of Revelation for the past or the future?
I want to answer this question first by not giving my opinion, but by literally listing scriptures right out of the book of Revelation. More than hearing the opinions of man (including mine), more than even seeing what the Church Father’s thought, we have to see what the Bible says specifically about who this is for before we can come to our conclusions.
Revelation 1:1- The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
Revelation 1:4- John to the seven churches that are in Asia…
Revelation 1:9- I, John, your brother and fellow participant in the tribulation…
Revelation 1:10-I was in the Spirit on day of the Lord…
Revelation 1:11- Write on a scroll what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
Revelation 11:1- Then there was given to me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.
Revelation 22:6- And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.
Revelation 22:7- And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.
Revelation 22:10- And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
Revelation 22:12- Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves.
Revelation 22:16- I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you of these things concerning the churches.
Revelation 22:20- He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Now if you were one of these seven churches in Asia, and you received this letter from John on Patmos… what would you think? Would you think that this letter is for you? Or would you think it has nothing to do with you? I know that is a silly question but a lot of our doctrinal beliefs around this specific book come from a basic hermeneutical flaw. To fix this, we have to answer these three questions. 1. Who was writing this?2. Who is the writer addressing (audience)?3. Why is the author sending this letter out? We have to answer those three questions BEFORE we just take any Biblical text and apply it directly to ourselves. Nobody writes a letter and sends it to someone if the letter has nothing to do with them unless it is told directly to them that this letter has nothing to do with you. We already have scriptural evidence of God doing this in the book of Daniel, the other Apocalyptic book in the Bible.
Daniel 12:8-10- 8 But as for me, I heard but did not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” 9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words will be kept secret and sealed up until the end time. 10 Many will be purged, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.
God makes it very clear to Daniel that what He is telling him has nothing to do with him specifically. He told Daniel to seal up the scroll until the end of time. Many will be purged, cleansed etc. He even tells Daniel that he will die way before this happens.
Daniel 12:13- But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will die and rise for your allotted portion at the end of time.
God tells Daniel this time is far off, so seal it up…but God tells John to open the seals for the time is at hand! See the difference?
What is the book of Revelation all about conclusion
Based off of the Scripture, the book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John to seven churches in Asia about the end of the Jewish age. There was a lot of oppression being put on the Jewish people by the Romans. The reason for this started when Emperor Nero accused the Jews of starting “The Great Fire of Rome.” Paralleled to this, God was ending the “Jewish age” and beginning the New Covenant. The reason for this is because the years and years Israel worshipped and served false gods and murdered the innocent prophets and messengers God had sent to get them back on the straight and narrow. Right before Moses and the Israelites entered the promised land through Gods promise (covenant), he warns them of a day they will turn away from God and even murder his covenant messengers. We can see this happening all throughout the Old Testament. God gets fed up with Israel and divorces them.
Jeremiah 3:8- And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a certificate of divorce
The theme of the end is Vengeance. God would avenge the blood of the innocent as spoken of through Moses.
Deuteronomy 32:43- Rejoice, you nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will return vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”
Then when Jesus had come, Jesus identifies the generation He is living in as the generation where all of the innocent bloodshed will be avenged.
Matthew 23:34-36- Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you will fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Jesus also says that the time frame He is living in are the days of vengeance and that everything is about to be fulfilled.
Luke 21:22- For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
God was about to judge faithless Israel by allowing the temple to be destroyed. This was the sign that the old is complete and you no longer need a temple building to experience God because the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. The Apostles were asking when will these things happen and Jesus said soon! Jesus had told them that their generation would see this end (Matthew 24:34). Things were getting hard! The New Covenant church was expanding through the teachings of Peter, Paul and the other Apostles and Elders. The Jewish believers (and Christians) were being persecuted and even killed. The Apostles were being martyred and/or close to the end of their earthly life. John gets in trouble for preaching and was sent to Patmos by Emperor Domitian after he survived the sentence of being boiled in oil. The Churches were waiting anxiously for this old covenant age to end with a judgement so they could be free. John on Patmos, which is being controlled by Roman Guards, writes a letter to the seven churches in Asia minor in Apocalyptic Jewish language (because the guards wouldn’t understand it), telling them exactly what is about to happen shortly! Now, what exactly are all of these things? We will have detailed trainings explaining as much as we can!
You may like the teaching below. Apostle Johnny did a conference call for Pastors, Church Leaders, and Christians who have a desire to understand the Bible a bit deeper.