Revelation: An Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

I am teaching through Revelation at my church on Wednesday nights. These are my notes, and they are geared towards a number of goals: (1) to teach for about 15 minutes; (2) to get the overall sense of each passage; (3) to especially draw out any Old Testament connections;1 and (4) to end the night on a devotional thought. I hope you are as enriched by this study as I have been in my own personal study of Revelation.

Author: Unlike his other books (John, 1, 2, & 3 John), John identifies himself as the author of Revelation (Rev 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8).

Recipient: The recipients were the seven churches of Asia Minor: “to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea” (Rev 1:11).

Provenance: John was exiled on the island of Patmos (Rev 1:9).

Date: John wrote Revelation around A.D. 95 during a time of persecution, likely during the tenure of the Roman emperor Domitian (ruled A.D. 81–96).

Three Options for Genre: Some label Revelation as apocalyptic because it uses symbols and figures to narrate future events, epistolary because it is written to churches, complete with an introduction and closing statement (1:4a; 22:1), or prophetic because, though apocalyptic and written to the churches, John calls Revelation prophecy (1:3, 19:10, 22:7, 10, 18, 19).

Four Views of Interpretation: The idealist sees Revelation as a picturesque description of good versus evil. The preterist sees Revelation as an imaginative and cinematic description of good versus evil in John’s day, the church of Christ versus Rome and its oppression of Christianity. The historicist sees the book of Revelation as giving an allegorical description of the history of the church, usually the Western church from John’s writing of the book until the coming of Christ. The futurist sees Revelation 1–3 as actual events in John’s day and Revelation 4–22 as prophecy (cf. 1:19). This view is best, and it uses a consistent, literal method of interpretation that acknowledges symbols, figurative language, and their use and complexity in prophesying the future.

 Outline: After introducing Revelation (1:1–8), John sees four visions (1:9–3:22; 4:1–16:21; 17:1–21:8; 21:9–22:5; cf. 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10), one present, three future (cf. 1:19), and then concludes his book (22:6–21).

Series NavigationThe Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1:1–8) >>
  1. Two helpful lists for OT references can be here (see the appendix) and here. []
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