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Revelation Intro


The book of Revelation, different from all the other New Testament books, identifies itself both as “apocalypse” and as prophecy. The word Revelation actually means “Apocalypse” is derived from the Greek noun apokalypsis, meaning the disclosure of unseen heavenly or future realities.


This book or letter was written by John (The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved & writer of The Gospel of John, 1,2 & 3 John)  addressed to first-century churches in the Roman province of Asia (now western Turkey – See Map Below). The seven churches addressed were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. 

It is best to approach Revelation as an Old Testament book because of its content and likeness in literary style to books like Daniel, Zechariah, and Ezekiel.

Just to give you an example of how much likeness to the Old Testament the book of Revelation has here are a few examples: There are 404 verses in the book; of the 404, 360 are quotes or references to the Old Testament.

They break down like this:

57 quotations to law 

23 references from the historical books

45 from the poetical books 

197 from the major prophets 

38 from the minor prophets 

While this book can in places can be difficult to understand, it can be accomplished without a tinfoil hat! It is best done by digging deep into the Old Testament writings and by using a great Study Bible with cross referencing. 

The main purpose of this letter is to unveil the unseen spiritual war in which the church is engaged. This book highlights the cosmic conflict between Christ on the one hand, and Satan and his evil allies (both demonic and human) on the other. 

One thing I find helpful when it comes to understanding this book is to always keep in mind it is meant to serve as a book of encouragement to the church when tested.

Highlights from chapter 1:

-There is a blessing from God in store for all who read, understand, and apply this book to their life. 

-A literary pattern is established all throughout the book of Revelation on the number 7 especially within chapter 1. When the number 7 is seen within the scripture it should be understood as showing something to be complete. 7 = completeness. This interpretation is derived from the creation story found in Genesis where God creates the heavens and earth in 7 days.

-Just as foretold by the prophets Daniel (Daniel 7) and Zechariah (Zechariah 12) John in his verse 7 of chapter 1 leaves no question that Jesus will return again to rule and judge the earth.   

-John receives a vision from Christ that is to be shared among 7 churches to whom the letter is addressed.

Vision – Divine communication where one sees outside of this realm into the heavenly realm or into the future.  

This vision is one of edification, reproof, and rebuke. 

-As the vision starts to unfold we see a picture of Jesus in all of his glory. He has white hair like wool, eyes like fire, his skin is bright like polished bronze, and a double edged sword coming from his mouth.  

questions for reflection

What has been your past apprehension for studying the book of Revelation?

Name some possible misconceptions you have heard about concerning the book of Revelation?

In the description of the glorified Christ (1:14-16) what stands out to you the most?

In the description of the glorified Christ (1:14-16) what stands out to you the most?

memory verse

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8