Bible Book Summary
by Jay Smith
The literary genres of the book of Revelation are an Apocalypse, a Prophecy, and an Epistle (or Letter). The Disciple/Apostle John, who followed Jesus Christ and witnessed His crucifixion, authored it.
John wrote Revelation while a prisoner on the Island of Patmos, approximately 85-95 A.D. Its purpose is to give encouragement and hope for all Christians to continue watching for the return and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ. It also is to warn of the Final Judgment that nonbelievers will endure on that Last Day.
John wrote that Revelation is special because, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near” (1:3).
• In chapters 1-3, John describes the details of the setting as he received this revelation (unveiling of truth). John was elderly and imprisoned on the Island of Patmos when he received an apocalyptic vision from an angel. With this vision he was instructed to write to seven churches about what he had seen. Revelation 1:19, describes a basic outline of the entire letter written by John, “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things” this is the pattern that is followed by John. He describes of the seven churches their qualities and/or their weaknesses and failings (such as Sardis and Laodicea).
• In chapters 4-20, John depicts what he sees in his vision about the Spiritual Realm. He describes Jesus Christ as the “Slain Lamb” who is the only one able to open the book with 7 seals. Aside from the 5th seal, each will bring a judgment upon the populace of the Earth. The 7th seal introduces 7 angels who each possess 7 trumpets, another series of daunting judgments. Incredibly, after the 6th trumpet in which 1/3 of the Earth’s population is killed, John claims, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, DID NOT REPENT’ (9:20).
After this, John receives visions of which include the antichrist and Satan who is aware of his looming end. Next, John describes 7 more angles that will each carry 7 bowls of plagues to be poured onto the Earth. Again, amazingly, while hail is raining from heaven during the 7th plague, humankind does not repent but instead, “men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe” (16:21).
These fierce plagues demonstrate the wrath of God’s holy judgment upon the still wicked Earth.
John describes the eternality of Hell, the final resting place of the unbelieving. In 19:20, the antichrist and the false prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire. One thousand years later after the millennium reign of Jesus Christ in 20:10, the devil is also cast into the Lake of Fire. We also see that the antichrist and the false prophet are still in torment, “day and night forever and ever” because John describes Hell as an eternal place of conscious torment.
• Finally, in chapters 21-22, John writes the last of the cannon of Scripture. Here he describes the New Heaven and the New Earth. In it is the holy city of the New Jerusalem. There will no longer be any crying or tears, pain, mourning, or death because, “the first things have passed away” (21:1). Only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter this place to live eternally with Jesus Christ who sits on His throne. “Come.”And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (22:17).
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (22:12-13).