John the Apostle



Revelation was likely the last book of the New Testament to be written, and was placed last in the New Testament. It was probably written in the 80s or 90s AD by the Apostle John while he was exiled on the Island of Patmos.

The apocalyptic imagery in Revelation makes the book difficult to understand and open to a wide variety of interpretations. Some believe the book describes events of John’s time, others believe it describes portions of the history of the Roman empire, while others believe it describes events that still have yet to occur. Many others think it describes portions of those three times along with other events, while others think it is entirely symbolic or allegorical.

The book opens as the revelation of Jesus is communicated to John, who is instructed to write down all he hears and sees. A brief description of Jesus is given. All of this happens in Chapter One.

Chapters Two and Three describe messages from Jesus to seven churches in the province of Asia. These messages include greetings, compliments, warnings, punishments, and rewards.

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God Wins

Revelation 12 is a continuation of the events of Revelation 5-11. By the end of Revelation 11, the Lamb has opened the seven seals of the scroll, the seven angels have blown their trumpets, and the two witnesses have appeared. Revelation 11 ends with the opening of God’s temple in heaven.

Revelation 12 tells of a great sign in heaven with the woman and the dragon. A war breaks out between the dragon and its angels versus Michael and his angels. Though Michael is the victor, the dragon continues to torment mankind.

Revelation 13 describes two beasts: one of the sea and one of the earth. This chapter contains the famous language about the mark of the beast and the number 666.

Revelation 14 and 15 tell of calamities associated with various angels, while Revelation 16 describes the seven bowls of God’s wrath. Revelation 17 moves into the story of Babylon, the prostitute sitting on the scarlet beast. Like most other things in Revelation, the woman can be interpreted to mean many different things. The interpretation chosen has a big impact on the meaning of the fall of Babylon as described in Revelation 18-19.

Revelation 19 and 20 describe the defeat of Satan and his minions by Jesus and His servants. The thousand-year period and the final judgments are also described.

There are innumerable interpretations of Revelation. This message is probably indisputable: Jesus wants his followers to be faithful to Him no matter what and no matter how long it takes. No matter if there is persecution by the ancient Romans or Jews, or by some future governmental entity. No matter if there are natural disasters or if there is climate change. As Jesus told Peter, “Have faith in God.”

Primary Scriptures:
Revelation 12-20
Story Summary:
The finish of the time of tribulation
Roman Empire, Island of Patmos
AD 30 Jesus crucified and resurrected; Pentecost; Holy Spirit arrives AD 48 Paul’s “famine visit” to Jerusalem; First Missionary Journey starts AD 50 Council at Jerusalem; Start of Second Missionary Journey. AD 53 Start of Third Missionary Journey AD 67/68 Paul probably killed in Rome AD 85-95 John writes Revelation