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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The Tribulation Begins

Revelation is often classified as apocalyptic literature, a style of writing that developed after the Jews returned from Babylon. This type of literature often describes the author’s understanding of the end of the world as revealed by a heavenly messenger. The writing typically urges its readers to be patient and trusting for their coming deliverance and rewards. The language of apocalyptic literature is usually symbolic.

Revelation 5 begins the intense apocalyptic portion of the book. It starts by describing a scroll with seven seals and the Lamb who is qualified to break these seals and open the scroll. The terms describing the Lamb show it to be Jesus. The chapter does not reveal if the scroll contains good news or bad news, even though it is clear the contents are very important.

Revelation 6 begins with the Lamb opening the first seal. It immediately is known that the seals represent calamities on the earth. Revelation 6 describes the disasters of the first six seals.

Revelation 7 is a short break from the calamities, describing the sealing off of 144,000 people from the tribes of Israel and the great multitude who come faithfully from the great tribulation.

Revelation 8 describes the opening of the eighth seal, and the revealing of the seven angels with seven trumpets. This chapter describes the disasters of the first four trumpets. Revelation 9 describes the sounding of the next two trumpets.

Revelation 10 talks of the angel and the little scroll. The little scroll is used to get John engaged in the action. His involvement spills over into Revelation 11 where the two witnesses and the beast are introduced. The chapter ends with the disaster of the seventh trumpet.

These seven chapters contain some of the scariest words ever written. The symbolic nature of the language has encouraged countless interpretations. All in all, these chapters are drastic warnings which are used to encourage Christians to be faithful to Jesus.

A Mighty Angel
Primary Scriptures:
Revelation 5-11
Story Summary:
The beginning 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