Lesson 1 of5
In Progress

Summary of Revelation

SUMMARY

The book of Revelation calls Christians to remain faithful to God and Christ and to resist the powers of evil in the conviction that God will prevail and bring salvation in the new Jerusalem. The book consists of six cycles of visions, each of which warns of the dangers arising from sin and evil. Yet each cycle concludes by showing readers the glories of worship in God’s presence, which gives reason for hope. The visions make vivid contrasts between Christ the Lamb and Satan’s agent, the beast. The visions help to alienate readers from powers of idolatry and oppression, while strengthening their faith in the salvation God provides.

SO WHAT?

Revelation shapes the way that people understand God, themselves, and their world. The book vividly portrays the powers of evil that work within the world, powers that can lead people to despair. Yet Revelation offers an even more compelling portrait of God and Christ the Lamb, who provide redemption and confident hope that God’s purposes will prevail. By warning about the power of evil and presenting the promises of life in God, the book fosters faith and perseverance.

WHERE DO I FIND IT?

Revelation is the last book in the Bible, the twenty-seventh book of the New Testament.

WHO WROTE IT?

Revelation was written by a man named John, who calls himself a brother in the faith (1:1). Early church tradition identified him with John the son of Zebedee, one of the twelve apostles. Since the author does not claim to be an apostle or to have seen the earthly Jesus, however, many assume that he was not the apostle but an early Christian prophet.

WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?

Revelation was probably written between 85 and 95 C.E. Early Christian tradition says that it was written toward the end of the Roman Emperor Domitian’s reign, which concluded in 96 C.E., but it is not clear that the date can be known so precisely. The book was probably written some years after Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman forces in 70 C.E., but before the end of the first century.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Revelation calls readers to resist the forces of evil and remain faithful to God and Christ the Lamb, in the confidence that God will prevail and provide life in the new Jerusalem.

HOW DO I READ IT?

Many people create scenarios of the future by pasting together verses taken from various parts of the Bible, but this often leads to fruitless speculation. It is best to read Revelation as a whole, as a book with its own integrity. As you go, note that the visions do not move in a neat chronological sequence, but often repeat and overlap, making it impossible to create a step-by-step guide to the future. Also keep in mind that Revelation would have been meaningful to the Christians who first read it, nearly two thousand years ago, and that by keeping their context in mind we can see how Revelation addresses the real needs of people living in this world.