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THE BOOK OF REVELATION - The Book is an exhortation and an admonition to Christians

of the first century


The Apocalypse or the Revelation to John o To stand firm in faith
- The last book of the bible o To avoid compromise with paganism, despite the
- One of the most difficult to understand threat of adversity and martyrdom
o Because it abounds in unfamiliar and extravagant o To await patiently the fulfillment of God’s mighty
symbolism promises.
o Appears unusual to the modern reader - Mystery: the triumph of God in the world of men and
women
Symbolic language o To be accepted in faith
- one of the chief characteristics of apocalyptic literature o To be longed for in hope
o Triumph that unfolded in the history of Jesus of
Apocalyptic literature Nazareth.
- Enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles o Triumph that continues to unfold in the history of
from ca. 200 B.C. to A.D. 200. the individual Christian
 who follows the way of the cross, even
The book of Revelation to a martyr’s death.
- Contains an account of visions in symbolic and allegorical
language borrowed extensively from the Old Testament, - Though the perspective is Eschatological, the book presents
o Especially the decisive struggle of Christ and his followers against
 Ezekiel Satan and his cohorts as already over.
 Zechariah o “Eschatological” – ultimate salvation and victory
 Daniel are said to take place at the end of the present
- An Open Question – whether or not these visions were real age when Christ will come in glory at the parousia
experiences of the author or simply literary conventions. o Christ’s overwhelming defeat of Satan ushered in
- Certain: symbolic descriptions are not to be taken as literal the everlasting reign of God.
descriptions, nor is symbolism meant to be pictured o Even the forces of evil unwittingly carry out the
realistically. divine plan
o Difficult to visualize a lamb with seven horns and  For God is the sovereign Lord of History
seven eyes as Jesus Christ - Has its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and
o Christ’s universal (seven) power (horns) and meaningful for Christians of all time.
knowledge (eyes). o Called to trust in Jesus’ promise that He will be
- Use of symbolic with us until the end of time (Mt 28, 20)
o Colors o Steadfastness = no fear
o Metals o Suffering, persecution, martyr’s death = not a
o Garments dead end.
o Numbers o In the end, Christians will triumph over Satan and
 Four (4) = the world his forces
 Six (6) = imperfection  Because of their fidelity to Christ the
 Seven (7) = totality of perfection victor.
 Twelve (12) = Israel’s tribes or apostles - The enduring message of the book:
 One thousand (1000) = Immensity o it is a message of hope and consolation
- Vindictive language – to be understood symbolically o it is a challenge for those who dare to believe
- The cries for vengeance on the lips of Christian martyrs that
sound so harsh - The Author calls himself John who has been exiled to the
o Are in fact literary devices the author employed rocky island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony.
 To evoke in the reader and the hearer o Identified as the fourth gospel writer by
 a feeling of horror for  Justin
apostasy and rebellion that  Irenaeus
will be severely punished by  Clement of Alexandria
God.  Tertullian
- The lurid (unpleasantly vivid) descriptions for the  Cyprian
punishment of Jezebel and the destruction of the great  Hippolytus
harlot Babylon are likewise literary devices o Denied the identification
o Babylon as harlot = a sense of God’s wrath at sin  Denis of Alexandria
o The stylized figure of the woman clothed with the  Eusebius of Caesarea
sun = trust in the providential care over the  Cyril of Jerusalem
Church  Gregory of Nazianzen
- Understood in its historical background that occasioned its  John Chrysostom
writing. - Doubtful elements = vocabulary, grammar, style
o It was composed as resistance literature to meet - Affinities = linguistic and theological
a crisis like Daniel and other apocalypses. - Tone: indicative of great authority in Asia
- Suggests that the crisis was ruthless persecution of the o Possibly a disciple of John
early church by the Roman authorities; - Date = near the end of the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96), a
o Harlot = Pagan Rome, the city on seven hills fierce persecutor of the Christians