Survey of Revelation

Book Type: The New Testament’s only book of prophecy; the twenty-seventh book of the New Testament; the sixty-sixth book of the Bible.

Author: The apostle John, mentioned in verse 1.

Audience: Revelation was written for all believers (Revelation 1:3), but especially for the believers in the seven churches addressed in chapters 2—3. These churches were all located in modern Turkey, consisting largely of Gentile believers, meeting in house churches, who faced much persecution. Each church was given specific information in addition to the overall vision shared to all believers.

Date: John was on the island of Patmos, off the coast of modern Turkey, during the last part of the first century as punishment for his Christian faith. This book contains the final words of the New Testament, written in approximately AD 95—96. Some argue for an earlier date in the 60s, though John would not have been on Patmos at this time.

Overview: The book’s twenty-two chapters are built around the three periods noted in Revelation 1:8. The first section focuses on “the things that you [John] have seen” (Revelation 1:19). Following the introduction (Revelation 1:1–8), John experiences a vision of the glorified Jesus (Revelation 1:8–18) who tells him to write down messages to the churches and what will take place in the future (Revelation 1:19–20).

The second section addresses the current state of various churches (Revelation 2—3). Each of the seven churches is addressed, some with positive traits, or negative traits, or both, ending with the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14–22.

The third section addresses the future (Revelation 4—22). John is taken to a worship experience in heaven (Revelation 4—5). A lengthy section of the book addresses aspects of a future tribulation (Revelation 6—18). Chapter 19 describes the second coming of Jesus to defeat His enemies. After this time, Jesus rules on the earth in a 1,000-year millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1–6). After one final battle against Satan and those with him (Revelation 20:7–10), the great white throne judgment is described (Revelation 20:11–15). The final two chapters (Revelation 21—22) describe the eternal state consisting of God’s eternal presence in a new heaven, new earth, and New Jerusalem.

Key Verses (ESV):

Revelation 1:19: “Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.”

Revelation 13:16–17: “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

Revelation 19:11: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.”

Revelation 20:11: “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.”

Revelation 21:1–5: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”

Revelation 22:17: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”


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