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by Gary H. Everett
STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Using a Theme-based Approach
to Identify Literary Structures
By Gary H. Everett
THE BOOK OF REVELATION
January 2013 Edition
All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.
All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed., Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c1925, morphology c1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author’s daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.
© Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.
Foundational Theme The Glorification of the Church
Structural Theme The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Imperative Theme A Church that Overcomes and is Ready for Christ’s Second Coming
(1) We’ll hear him say, Oh, church devine,
I am your Lord and you are mine.
Because that you have stood the test,
You are the ones that I love best.
I died for you on Calvary’s tree,
That you from sin could be set free.
What greater love could one empart
To helpless souls, to broken hearts.
(2) You cost me all that Earth could give.
I died for you that you might live.
I did it all because that you believed in me
And I in you.
And now My Church you are My bride.
I’ll keep you ever by My side.
From you My church I’ll never stray.
I’ll love you through the endless day.
(3) And so, dear Church its worth it all
To trust His Word, obey His call.
You will never regret the choice you made
For you, dear Church, the price He paid.
Thares nothing more that one could do
No greatest love for Me and you.
I’m satisfied to wait on Him
And never shall my hope grow dim.
(4) Oh blessed Church you are His choice
And you will be through endless day.
Just listen to the Spirit’s voice
Oh, blessed church look up and pray.
“Oh, Holy Spirit, go with this song and bless whoever sings it as you did the one to which You first gave it.
All my love.” Mother Everett.
(Flossie Powell Everett 1910-1987)
INTRODUCTION TO APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE
The Jews returning from Babylonian exile were strongly monotheistic. Zoroastrianism, Babylon’s religion, was also monotheistic, which did not conflict with Jews. However, the upcoming Greek culture seduced many Jews into idolatry, although a large class of Jews remained uninfluenced by the Hellenic culture. Some members of this faithful Jewish class began writing in apocalyptic style. Jewish apocalyptic literature was written between 200 B.C and A.D. 200, which were times of persecutions and tribulations. These troubled times gave birth to this literature which emphasized a future deliverance from persecutions.
Apocalyptic literature uses “visions” as a literary device. Its purpose was not to cover up the message, but to make it increasingly vivid by “unveiling” it thru signs and symbols. Apocalyptic literature was further characterized by symbolic angels, a contrast between good and evil, predictions of terrors and the end of times. Numbers were also an important part of its literary device.
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
The Message of the Book of Revelation - The book of Revelation can be a frightening book to someone who does not know the Lord. Lester Sumerall said that someone who does not love the book of Revelations loves sin. 
 Rod Parsley, Breakthrough (Columbus, Ohio: Rod Parsley Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 29 May 2001.
Hilton Sutton said that in all great literature, the final chapter of a book is the greatest chapter, where the plot culminates.  So has the book of Revelation been placed as the last book of the Holy Bible because it reveals the consummation of all things. It is the grand finale of all that has been taking place since the story of creation. It shows us a victorious King overcoming all enemies and it shows us a victorious Church reigning in victory. This is not a book of fear and defeat for God’s people, but rather, a book that tells us about the most exciting time to come in the history of the Church.
 Hilton Sutton, interviewed by Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Fort Worth, Texas: Kenneth Copeland Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.
The book of Revelation is a book well recognized for its end-time prophecies and its symbolic descriptions of these events. Very often when Old Testament prophecy speaks of the coming of the Messiah we find descriptions of Jesus Christ’s first and second comings placed side by side with no distinction between these two events, although they are separated by two thousand years of Church history. It is as if the prophet sees down a tunnel and only sees one event. This is the reason that we find in the Gospels the Jews looking for a Messiah would immediately set up an earthly kingdom by throwing off the Roman rule over the Jewish people. They saw nothing in their Messianic prophecies that spoke of two returns. In contrast, the prophecies of the New Testament make this distinction very clear.
As we examine Isaiah 9:6-7 we clearly see references to Jesus’ first coming to earth by being born of a woman, as well as a prophecy of His triumphant eternal reign on earth. We understand that the phrase “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,” clearly speaks of Jesus Christ’s birth and earthly ministry up until His crucifixion. Hilton Sutton believes that the rest of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7 speaks clearly of Jesus’ second return at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period in which He sets up an earthly kingdom and reigns in Jerusalem.  This leads us to the question of why no reference is made to the two thousand years of Church history that takes place between these two Comings of the Lord Jesus Christ. The answer lies in the fact that Isaiah is prophesying primarily to the Jews and not to the Church. Although the Old Testament Scriptures are also for the Church to read and to understand, these prophecies were spoken to the Jewish people as the primary recipients and to the Church as secondary recipients. Thus, Isaiah 9:6-7 only addresses the role that Israel will play during Jesus’ first and second coming. Since Israel does not play a vital role in Church history for a period of two thousand years, the prophet leaves out such events.
 Hilton Sutton, Revelation: God’s Grand Finale (Tulsa, Oklahoma, c1984), 31.
Another example of this distinction in end-time prophecy can be found by comparing the books of Ezekiel and Daniel and Revelation. The book of Ezekiel was written to the people of Israel to help them persevere through their time of persecutions during the Babylonian Captivity. However, the book of Revelation was addressed to the Church, and not to the Jews, to help them persevere until the end. Therefore, Ezekiel speaks of three major events that relate to the nation of Israel leading up to the ushering in of the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus, which are the restoration of Israel (36-37), the great battle with Russia and its allies (38-39) and the rebuilding of the Temple with its institution of worship (40-48). These are the three important events that will involve Israel during these last days leading up to and through the seven-year Tribulation Period. The book of Daniel tells of Christ’s Second Coming from the perspective of the Gentile nations. The book of Revelation tells of the end-time events from the perspective of the Church. Ezekiel tells of these end-time events from the perspective of Israel.
In contrast, the book of Revelation speaks of many other events that take place during this time from the perspective of someone who is standing in Heaven. This is because the Church is raptured at this time and is watching these events while in Heaven. The book of Revelation opens with a message to the seven churches in Asia Minor by telling them to sanctify themselves. This is a message of preparation for the Rapture, which takes place figuratively in Revelation 4:1-2 with the catching up of John the apostle into Heaven. The rest of the events that unfold in this book are events that one would see if he was in Heaven after having been raptured. These events are not something that the Jewish people would see from their nation on earth while awaiting their Messiah, having rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Since the nation of Israel does not participate in the Rapture, this event is not mentioned in Ezekiel. This explains why two different biblical writers tell the same story from two different perspectives to two different readers.
Introductory Material - The introduction to the book of Revelation will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework.  These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God’s message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.
 Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel’s well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalms: (1) “a common setting in life,” (2) “thoughts and mood,” (3) “literary forms.” In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses “Form/Structure/Setting” preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalms: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol. 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).
“We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture
if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible.”
(J. Hampton Keathley) 
 J. Hampton Keathley, III, “Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah,” (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23 May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.
Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the book of Revelation will provide a discussion on its historical background, historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the early Church tradition that the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation while in exile on the isle of Patmos in the mid-90’s as a result of a divine vision given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Historical Background
Regarding the book of Revelation, early Church tradition tells us that it was written by the apostle John during the later part of the first century. Within this book, we must keep in mind that John the apostle was looking two thousand years ahead to events that would take place in modern times. Jesus tells him in Revelation 1:19 that he was seeing historical events that would take place in the future. Since he did not have adequate words to describe many things that he saw, he used metaphors and similes throughout the book in an effort of comparing what he saw to his ancient language.
II. Authorship and Canonicity
In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the book of Revelation: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1 st and 2 nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2 nd century thru 3 rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4 th century).
A. Apostolic Authority - Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which “the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice.” He says the “elements of the Catholic faith” were established during this period in Church history.  At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke, the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude, the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book’s apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D. 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, “The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time.” ( Fragments of Caius 3.3) ( ANF 5); Corey Keating says, “In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority’ was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing.” See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ ChurchHistory/Criteria for Development of the NT Canon in First Four Centuries.pdf; Internet.
1. Internal Evidence
a) The Author Tells Us His Name is John - The author is gives his name two times in the opening passage of the Apocalypse, as well as twice in the closing passages.
Revelation 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John :”
Revelation 1:4, “ John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;”
Revelation 1:9, “ I John , who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Revelation 21:2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
Revelation 22:8, “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.”
b) The Author Was an Eyewitness of Jesus’ Earthly Ministry - The second verse of the Apocalypse states that the author was an eyewitness of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. This places him within the inner circles of disciples. There was no other person named John who could declare this besides John the apostle.
Revelation 1:2, “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”
c) The Author Was a Jew - We find Jewish overtones throughout the book of Revelation, which indicates that the author was a Jew.
a) Use of Hebrew Words and Phrases There are many words and phrases of Hebrew origin found throughout the book of Revelation. Words such as “Abaddon” (Revelation 9:11), “Amen” and “Hallelujah” (Revelation 19:1-6) are of Hebrew origin. Phrases such as “Jews” (Revelation 2:9, Revelation 3:9), “synagogue” (Revelation 2:9, Revelation 3:9), “the hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17), “tree of life” (Revelation 2:7, Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14), “the new name on the while stone” (Revelation 2:17), “the root and the offspring of David” (Revelation 5:5, Revelation 22:16), “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), “the tribe of Juda” (Revelation 7:5), “the children of Israel” (Revelation 2:14, Revelation 7:4, Revelation 21:12), “the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 21:12) and “(holy) Jerusalem” (Revelation 3:12, Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10) are clearly and uniquely of Jewish origin.
b) Imagery of the Jewish Temple Imagery of the Temple furnishings are found in the first three chapters.
d) The Author Places Himself Within an Historical Event - The author states that he was placed in exile on the Isle of Patmos for his testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:9, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
To this event early Church historians support the fact that John the apostle was exiled on this Isle during the reign of Domitian.
“Domitian, having shown great cruelty toward many, and having unjustly put to death no small number of well-born and notable men at Rome, and having without cause exiled and confiscated the property of a great many other illustrious men, finally became a successor of Nero in his hatred and enmity toward God. He was in fact the second that stirred up a persecution against us, although his father Vespasian had undertaken nothing prejudicial to us. It is said that in this persecution the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.17.1 to 3:18. 1 Timothy 3:1)
e) The Author’s Authority Over the Asian Churches - It becomes clear from the letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor in chapters 2-3 that the author stood in a position of authority over these churches. Again early Church history confirms that John the apostle moved to Asia Minor and took a place of authority over the churches after the death of Paul the apostle.
“At that time the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in Asia, and governing the churches of that region , having returned after the death of Domitian from his exile on the island.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.23.1)
This position of authority over these churches could not have been possible had Paul the apostle still been alive. This tradition is so well attested to that it serves as a strong point for apocalyptic authorship.
f) Similarities with other Johannine writings - It is not difficult to find similarities between the book of Revelation and the Gospel of John.
i) Similar Words and Phrases:
(1) “The Lamb of God” - The phrase “Lamb of God” is used twice in the first chapter of John’s Gospel while the term “Lamb” is used twenty-six (26) times in Revelation to refer to Jesus Christ. Apart from two exceptions (Acts 8:32 and 1 Peter 1:19), this is term is found only in the writings of John.
(2) “God is light” The description of God as “light” is unique to Johannine literature (John 1:4 and 1 John 1:5). In the book of Revelation, God is the Light of the city of God (Revelation 21:23, Revelation 22:5).
(3) Jesus is “The Word of God” The description of Jesus Christ as the “Word of God” is unique to Johannine literature. It is only found in the Gospel of John, the First Epistle of John and the book of Revelation (John 1:4; Joh 1:14 , 1 John 5:7, Revelation 19:13).
ii) The Unique Description of the Piercing of Jesus’ Side Only the Gospel of John (John 19:34-37) and the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:7) describes the piercing of Jesus’ side. Since we know that John the apostle was a witness to the Crucifixion, this particular event must have strongly affected him.
iii) Emphasis on the Use of the Number Seven Both the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation are unique to the New Testament in their arrangement and use of the number seven. We find in the Gospel of John that there are seven feasts, seven miracles, seven discourses, seven prophecies fulfilled and the seven “I Am” declarations are all woven into the framework of this Gospel. Also woven into this Gospel are seven testimonies of Jesus being rejected by the Jews and accepted by the Gentiles and common people.
The book of Revelation uses the word “seven” a total of fifty-four (54) times. It refers to seven churches, seven angels, seven vials, seven plagues, seven kings, seven heads, seven crowns, seven mountains, seven thousand men, seven thunders, seven trumpets, seven eyes, seven spirits, seven horns, seven seals, seven lamps, and seven stars.
iv) Similarity in Christology No other New Testament writer places emphasis upon the divinity of Christ Jesus while as the same time clearly stating His subordinate position to the Father as does John’s writings. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus Christ is the Word of God being manifested in the flesh, that He proceeded from the Father, that He is eternal, stating, “…before Abraham was, I am.” Yet Jesus explains His subordinate place by saying, “My Father is greater than I, and “I do always those things which please Him.”
In the same manner, the book of Revelation emphasizes Jesus’ eternal nature by calling Him the “Alpha and Omega,” the “Beginning and the End,” the “Word of God,” the “Holy and True,” “the Amen,” “he that is alive forevermore,” and “the Beginning of the Creation of God.” Jesus also receives identical praise as God the Father. At the same time, Jesus refers to the Father as “my God” (Revelation 3:12) and “My Father” (Revelation 14:1) and “God and the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4), “God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). There is a clear distinction between God and the Lamb throughout the book of Revelation (7:19) and the subordinate position of the Lamb to God the Father.
In addition, both books describe Jesus Christ as the one who shall judge men on the Great Day of Judgment.
2. The Patristic Support of Johannine Authorship
a) Justin Martyr (A.D. 100 to 165) - Justin Martyr tells us about an interview that took place in Ephesus in which he refers to “a certain man John, one of the apostles of Christ” as the author of the “Apocalypse.”
“And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place. Just as our Lord also said, ‘They shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but shall be equal to the angels, the children of the God of the resurrection.’” ( Dialogue of Justin 81)
b) Apollonius (second century) - Eusebius quotes Apollonius, who wrote against Montanism in the second century, as saying that John wrote the book of Revelation.
“He speaks, moreover, of a tradition that the Saviour commanded his apostles not to depart from Jerusalem for twelve years. He uses testimonies also from the Revelation of John, and he relates that a dead man had, through the Divine power, been raised by John himself in Ephesus.” ( Ecclesiastical History 5.18.13)
c) Theophilus of Antioch (late second century) - Eusebius tells us that Theophilus of Antioch cites the book of Revelation.
“Of Theophilus, whom we have mentioned as bishop of the church of Antioch, three elementary works addressed to Autolycus are extant; also another writing entitled Against the Heresy of Hermogenes, in which he makes use of testimonies from the Apocalypse of John, and finally certain other catechetical books.” ( Ecclesiastical History 4.24.1)
d) The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D. 200) - The Muratorian Canon, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D. 200, tells us that the book of Revelation was credited to John the apostle and was accepted into the New Testament canon.
“We receive also the Apocalypse of John and that of Peter, though some amongst us will not have this latter read in the Church.” ( Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 4) ( ANF 5)
e) Irenaeus (A.D. 130 to 200) - Irenaeus makes a number of quotes and references to John the apostle as the author of the book of Revelation.
“ John also, the Lord's disciple , when beholding the sacerdotal and glorious advent of His kingdom, says in the Apocalypse : ‘I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle; and His head and His hairs were white, as white as wool, and as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if He burned in a furnace. And His voice [was] as the voice of waters; and He had in His right hand seven stars; and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shining in his strength.’” ( Against Heresies 4.22.11)
“In a still clearer light has John, in the Apocalypse , indicated to the Lord's disciples what shall happen in the last times, and concerning the ten kings who shall then arise, among whom the empire which now rules [the earth] shall be partitioned.” ( Against Heresies 5.26.1)
Eusebius (A.D. 260-340) also cites Irenaeus as quoting from the book of Revelation
“In the fifth book he speaks as follows concerning the Apocalypse of John , and the number of the name of Antichrist: ‘As these things are so, and this number is found in all the approved and ancient copies, and those who saw John face to face confirm it, and reason teaches us that the number of the name of the beast, according to the mode of calculation among the Greeks, appears in its letters....’ And farther on he says concerning the same: ‘We are not bold enough to speak confidently of the name of Antichrist. For if it were necessary that his name should be declared clearly at the present time, it would have been announced by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen, not long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the end of the reign of Domitian.’ He states these things concerning the Apocalypse in the work referred to. He also mentions the first Epistle of John, taking many proofs from it, and likewise the first Epistle of Peter.” ( Ecclesiastical History 5.8.5-7)
f) Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 to 215) - Clement of Alexandria testifies to the authorship of the Revelation of John.
“Such an one is in reality a presbyter of the Church, and a true minister (deacon) of the will of God, if he do and teach what is the Lord's; not as being ordained by men, nor regarded righteous because a presbyter, but enrolled in the presbyterate s because righteous. And although here upon earth he be not honoured with the chief seat, he will sit down on the four-and-twenty thrones, judging the people, as John says in the Apocalypse.” ( The Stromata 6.13)
g) Tertullian (A.D. 160 to 225) - Tertullian quotes extensively from the book of Revelation. On a number of occasions, he mentions John as the author.
“Now the Apostle John, in the Apocalypse, describes a sword which proceeded from the mouth of God as ‘a doubly sharp, two-edged one.’” ( Against Marcion 3.14)
“John, however, in the Apocalypse is charged to chastise those ‘who eat things sacrificed to idols,” and “who commit fornication.’” ( The Prescription Against Heretics 33)
“In the Revelation of John, again, the order of these times is spread out to view, which ‘the souls of the martyrs’ are taught to wait for beneath the altar, whilst they earnestly pray to be avenged and judged: (taught, I say, to wait), in order that the world may first drink to the dregs the plagues that await it out of the vials of the angels, and that the city of fornication may receive from the ten kings its deserved doom, and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into the bottomless pit for a while, the blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be ordained from the thrones; and then again, after the consignment of him to the fire, that the judgment of the final and universal resurrection may be determined out of the books.” ( On The Resurrection of the Flesh 25)
h) Hippolytus (c. A.D. 170 to c. 236) - Hippolytus, an ecclesiastical writer and doctor, was one of the most important theologians of the third century church.  He confirms John the apostle as the author of the Apocalypse as well as his Gospel.
 “Hippolytus, St.,” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised, eds. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 652.
“John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan's time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.” ( Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus 49: On the Twelve Apostles Where Each of Them Preached, and Where He Met His End 3) ( ANF 5)
“For he sees, when in the isle Patmos, a revelation of awful mysteries, which he recounts freely, and makes known to others. Tell me, blessed John, apostle and disciple of the Lord, what didst thou see and hear concerning Babylon? Arise, and speak; for it sent thee also into banishment.” ( Treatise on Christ and Antichrist 36) ( ANF 5)
“(But Nicolaus) departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food. And when the disciples (of Nicolaus) continued to offer insult to the Holy Spirit, John reproved them in the Apocalypse as fornicators and eaters of things offered unto idols.” ( Against Heresies 7.24) ( ANF 5)
i) Origen (A.D. 185 to 254) - As quoted by Eusebius, Origen tells us that John the apostle was the author of the book of Revelation.
“Why need we speak of him who reclined upon the bosom of Jesus, John, who has left us one Gospel, though he confessed that he might write so many that the world could not contain them? And he wrote also the Apocalypse , but was commanded to keep silence and not to write the words of the seven thunders.” ( Ecclesiastical History 6.25.9)
In his commentary on John, Origen states Johannine authorship.
“John, son of Zebedee, says in his Apocalypse: ‘And I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the Eternal Gospel, to preach it to those who dwell upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, saying, with a loud voice, Fear God and give Him glory, for the hour of His judgment hath come, and worship Him that made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’” ( Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of John 1:14)
j) Victorinus (d. A.D. 304) - Victorinus, bishop of Pettau, tells us that John wrote his Gospel after writing the Apocalypse.
“And there was shown unto me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.”] A reed was shown like to a rod. This itself is the Apocalypse which he subsequently exhibited to the churches; for the Gospel of the complete faith he subsequently wrote for the sake of our salvation . For when Valentinus, and Cerinthus, and Ebion, and others of the school of Satan, were scattered abroad throughout the world, there assembled together to him from the neighbouring provinces all the bishops, and compelled him himself also to draw up his testimony.” ( Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John 11:1)
k) Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) - Eusebius, the ancient church historian, tells us that the early church fathers were divided on the authorship of the book of Revelation.
“But of the writings of John, not only his Gospel, but also the former of his epistles, has been accepted without dispute both now and in ancient times. But the other two are disputed. In regard to the Apocalypse, the opinions of most men are still divided.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.24.17-18)
He tells us of one Melito of Sardis (A.D. 169) who wrote a number of apologies in behalf of the Roman Emperor. Of the list of books written, Melito is said to have written on the Apocalypse of John.
“…and the books On the Devil and the Apocalypse of John” ( Ecclesiastical History 4.26.2)
Jerome confirms the same.
“Melito of Asia, bishop of Sardis, addressed a book to the emperor Marcus Antoninus Verus, a disciple of Fronto the orator, in behalf of the Christian doctrine. He wrote other things also, among which are the following….one On the devil, one On the Apocalypse of John” ( Lives of Illustrious Men 24)
Eusebius himself was of the opinion that it was another John who was the author of the Apocalypse.
“For I judge from the character of both, and the forms of expression, and the entire execution of the book, that it is not his. For the evangelist nowhere gives his name, or proclaims himself, either in the Gospel or Epistle…But I think that he was some other one of those in Asia; as they say that there are two monuments in Ephesus, each bearing the name of John.” ( Ecclesiastical History 7.25.8, 16)
Yet Eusebius acknowledges the historical event that John the apostle and author of his Gospel was banished to the Isle of Patmos by Domitian.
“Domitian, having shown great cruelty toward many, and having unjustly put to death no small number of well-born and notable men at Rome, and having without cause exiled and confiscated the property of a great many other illustrious men, finally became a successor of Nero in his hatred and enmity toward God. He was in fact the second that stirred up a persecution against us, although his father Vespasian had undertaken nothing prejudicial to us. It is said that in this persecution the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word.”( Ecclesiastical History 3.17.1 to 3.18.1)
l) Athanasius (A.D. 296 to 373) - Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, supported Johannine authorship of his Gospel, of all three of his epistles and of his Revelation.
“Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John ” ( Letters 39.5)
m) Gregory Nazianzen (A.D. 329 to 389) - Gregory Nazianzen, one of the Cappadocian Fathers, supported Johannine authorship.
“And to the presiding Angels, for I believe, as John teaches me in his Revelation , that each Church has its guardian,” ( Orations 42.9)
n) Jerome (A.D. 342 to 420) - Jerome tells us that John wrote his Apocalypse while on the island of Patmos.
“In the fourteenth year then after Nero Domitian having raised a second persecution he (John) was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenaeus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the tithe of the emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord's passion and was buried near the same city.” ( Lives of Illustrious Men 9)
o) Sophronius (A.D. 560 to 638) Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, follows the tradition of Jerome.
“Now in the fourteenth year of his reign, the emperor Domitian initiated the second major persecution of Christians (Nero’s persecution was the first). John was banished to the island of Patmos and there wrote the Apocalypse, later translated by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. After Dometian was murdered, his decrees were annulled by the Senate on account of their inhuman cruelty. Nerva ascended the throne, and John was allowed to return to Ephesus, where he lived until [101 AD, the fourth year of] Trajan’s reign. During this time, John founded and built up churches throughout Asia. In the sixty-eighth year after the Passion of the Lord, John reposed in great old age near Ephesus.” ( The Life of the Evangelist John) ( PG 123 col. 1127) 
 Sophronius, The Life of the Evangelist John, in Orthodox Classics in English (House Springs, MO: The Chrysostom Press) [on-line]. Accessed 1 December 2010. Available from http://www.chrysostompress.org/the-four-evangelists; Internet.
It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to apostolic authorship when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2 Peter , 2 and 3 John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing’s apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.
B. Church Orthodoxy - The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, “To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment.”  The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church’s Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth.  This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2 nd century thru 3 rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co., 1875), 12.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co., 1875), 331.
1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy - The early Church held divided opinions regarding Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse. This difference seems to have been caused by the very mystical nature of this writing. Its mystical nature probably delayed it wide circulation among the churches. This delay in circulation could have caused it to be omitted from the earliest translations. For example, the apocalypse is not found in the most ancient Syriac version. Such omissions would have delayed its acceptance into the Church canon. Nonetheless, there is a tremendous weight of support from the early Church fathers for Johannine authorship.
The early Church fathers make direct statements declaring Johannine authorship, as well as direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions to the book of Revelation. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book. Thus, the book of Revelation was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.
Here are a few of the earliest quotes from the book of Revelation: 
 There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221 vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161 vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).
a) Shepherd of Hermas (written c. A.D. 142) - The Shepherd of Hermas, written during the second century, does not mention the book of Revelation specifically. However, it makes so many allusions to unique phrases in this book that it stands as a witness to the fact that the author was familiar with the Apocalypse.
i. Both writings use the phrase “the great tribulation” together with the “beast.”
“Happy ye who endure the great tribulation that is coming on,” ( Visions Revelation 2:2)
“You have escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming.” ( Visions Revelation 4:2)
Revelation 7:14, “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
ii. Both writings refer to the “book of life.”
“for I know that, if they will repent with all their heart, they will be enrolled in the Books of Life with the saints.” ( Visions Revelation 1:3)
Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
iii. Both refer to the altar of God as a place of prayer and entreaty.
“For the entreaty of the sorrowful man has no power to ascend to the altar of God.” “Why,” say I, “does not the entreaty of the grieved man ascend to the altar?” “Because,” says he, “grief sits in his heart. Grief, then, mingled with his entreaty, does not permit the entreaty to ascend pure to the altar of God.” ( Commandments Revelation 10:2)
Revelation 8:3, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
iv. Both symbolize the Church as a woman.
“‘Who do you think that old woman is from whom you received the book?’ And I said, ‘The Sibyl.’ ‘You are in a mistake,’ says he; ‘it is not the Sibyl.’ “Who is it then?” say I. And he said, ‘It is the Church.’ ( Visions Revelation 2:4)
Revelation 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:”
b) Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) - In his quotes of “The Letters of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne,” Eusebius quotes Revelation 22:11 by calling it “the Scripture,” testifying to the fact that it was viewed as a part of the New Testament canon during his day.
“For, through their lack of manly reason, the fact that they had been conquered did not put them to shame, but rather the more enkindled their wrath as that of a wild beast, and aroused alike the hatred of governor and people to treat us unjustly; that the Scripture might be fulfilled : ‘He that is lawless, let him be lawless still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.’” ( Ecclesiastical History 5.1.58)
Revelation 22:11, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
2. Manuscript Evidence
3. Early Versions The earliest translations of books of the New Testament testify to their canonization. Perhaps as early as the second century, the New Testament was translated into Old Syriac and Old Latin. While the disputed epistles of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 John, and 3 John were found in the Old Latin text, they are absent in the Old Syriac.  The Old Latin versions were later standardized into the Latin Vulgate by Jerome in the fourth century, which represent the canon as we know it today. The Syrian church has an unusual history regarding the development and acceptance of the New Testament Canon. While the Catholic epistles of James, 1 Peter, and 1 John are found in the old Syriac, the lesser Catholic Epistles of 2 Peter , 2 and 3 John, Jude, and the Apocalypse are omitted from its canon.  This canon of 22 New Testament books is reflected in the “Doctrine of Addai” (A.D. 250-300) in which the clergy of Edessa are instructed to read from the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels and Acts and the Pauline Epistles, but not from the General Epistles.  Perhaps this comment was made because the Syriac versions only accepted three of the seven Catholic Epistles as canonical. The Old Syriac was soon formalized into the translation known as the Peshitta. The New Testament was translated in the Coptic languages of Egypt (Sahidic and Bhoairic) as early as the third century, representing the entire New Testament canon. The New Testament was soon translated into the languages of the Armenian (5 th c), the Georgian (5 th c), and the Ethiopic (6 th c).  These books would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large.
 A. E. Brooke, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Johannine Epistles, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912), 220-223.
 Bruce M. Metzger, “Important Early Translations of the Bible,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 150:597 (Jan 1993) (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary): 44, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 3.0b [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2004.
 The Doctrine of Addai, the Apostle, trans. George Phillips (London: Trübner and Co. 1876), 44.
 The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts, Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis (Acts, Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome’s Vulgate (beginning A. D. 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.
C. Catholicity - The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, “The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church.”  This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 12.
1. The Early Church Canons The book of Revelation was the last book to be generally accepted into the New Testament canon. 
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 423.
a) The Muratorian Canon, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D. 200, gives this book the title of the “Apocalypse of John.”
“We receive also the Apocalypse of John and that of Peter, though some amongst us will not have this latter read in the Church.” ( Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 3) ( ANF 5)
b) Gregory Naziansen (A. D. 329-389) - Gregory Naziansen the Church theologian, omits it from his canon. He says after listing the books of the Old Testament canon, “And already for me, I have received all those of the New Testament. First, to the Hebrews Matthew the saint composed what was according to him the Gospel; second, in Italy Mark the divine; third, in Achaia Luke the all-wise; and John, thundering the heavenlies, indeed preached to all common men; after whom the miracles and deeds of the wise apostles, and Paul the divine herald fourteen epistles; and catholic seven, of which one is of James the brother of God, and two are of Peter the head, and of John again the evangelist, three, and seventh is Jude the Zealot. All are united and accepted; and if one of them is found outside, it is not placed among the genuine ones.” ( PG 38 col. 845) (author’s translation) 
 Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D. 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.
B. F. Westcott says, “After enumerating the four Gospels, the Acts, fourteen Epistles of St Paul, and seven Catholic Epistles, Gregory adds: ‘In these you have all the inspired books; if there be any book besides these, it is not among the genuine [Scriptures];’ and thus he excludes the Apocalypse with the Eastern Church, and admits all the Catholic Epistles with the Western.” 
 Brook Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, Cambridge and London: Macmillian and Company, 1881, 445.
2. Early Church Councils -
During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures.  The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.
 Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co., 1875), 422-426.
III. Date and Place of Writing
A. Date - Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) quotes Irenaeus as saying that this vision occurred during the end of the reign of Titus Flavius Domitian, who was the Roman emperor from A.D. 51 to 96.
“It is said that in this persecution the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word. Irenaeus, in the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John, speaks as follows concerning him: “If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian .” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.18.1-3)
Sophronius (A.D. 560 to 638) Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, follows the tradition of Jerome, telling us that John wrote his Apocalypse on the island of Patmos around the fourteenth year of Domitian.
“Now in the fourteenth year of his reign, the emperor Domitian initiated the second major persecution of Christians (Nero’s persecution was the first). John was banished to the island of Patmos and there wrote the Apocalypse, later translated by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. After Dometian was murdered, his decrees were annulled by the Senate on account of their inhuman cruelty. Nerva ascended the throne, and John was allowed to return to Ephesus, where he lived until [101 AD, the fourth year of] Trajan’s reign. During this time, John founded and built up churches throughout Asia. In the sixty-eighth year after the Passion of the Lord, John reposed in great old age near Ephesus.” ( The Life of the Evangelist John) ( PG 123 col. 1127) 
 Sophronius, The Life of the Evangelist John, in Orthodox Classics in English (House Springs, MO: The Chrysostom Press) [on-line]. Accessed 1 December 2010. Available from http://www.chrysostompress.org/the-four-evangelists; Internet.
B. Place of Writing - We know from internal evidence (Revelation 1:9-10) that John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos when he had this vision. Most scholars conclude that John also wrote down this vision while still on this island before he was released and returned to the city of Ephesus.
Revelation 1:9-10, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”
Jesus Christ reveals Himself and this revelation to John the Apostle on the island of Patmos during a time of exile in order to show to the Church the things that are coming on the earth (Revelation 1:9-11).
Revelation 1:9-11, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)
“Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.
If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew.”
(Thomas Schreiner) 
 Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c1990, 2011), 11.
Within the historical setting of the early church, the author of the book of Revelation chose to write to using the literary style of the ancient Hebrew apocalyptic literature, which contains much symbolic language. Thus, the book of Revelation is assigned to the literary genre called “apocalyptic literature.” Apocalyptic literature uses “visions” as a literary device. Its purpose was not to cover up the message, but to make it increasingly vivid by “unveiling” it thru signs and symbols. Apocalyptic literature was further characterized by symbolic angels, a contrast between good and evil, predictions of terrors and the end of times. Numbers were also an important part of its literary device. In the introductory section of literary style, a comparison of its content will be made to other books of the Holy Scriptures.
VI. Comparison to Books of the Holy Scriptures
A. Comparison of Content: Similarities between the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation - In a similar way that John the apostle was banished on the isle of Patmos and had a heavenly vision, so does Ezekiel in his banishment by the river Chebar. The Lord gave both of them a tremendous revelation using symbols of future events. Both visions begin with a visitation from the throne of God. John was visited by Jesus Christ, who was now ascended to this heavenly throne. Ezekiel simply saw the throne with it glory, for Jesus Christ had not yet taken upon Himself the form of man. Both apocalyptic visions end with a description of heaven, where those who are faithful will abide eternally. Both men are given symbolic revelations of those events that will lead up to the fulfillment of all things.
Both are given books to eat. They both experienced the books to taste like honey. John says that it became bitter to his belly, while Ezekiel says that he went in bitterness of spirit.
Ezekiel 3:1-2, “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll , and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.”
Ezekiel 3:3, “And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness .”
Ezekiel 3:14, “So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit ; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.”
Revelation 10:9, “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey .”
In contrast, Ezekiel received his vision as a young, thirty-year old man just entering the ministry. However, John the apostle received his revelation at the end of his life as an old man.
B. Comparison of Content: Paul’s Letter to the Churches of Asia Minor - John’s epistle to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 contains similar phrases found in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. Paul had instructed the Laodiceans to read the Colossian letter and vise verse.
Colossians 4:16, “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”
Therefore, John describes Jesus Christ in all of His majesty that Paul taught in the epistles of Ephesians and Colossian. Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (compare Revelation 3:21 to Ephesians 1:20 and Colossians 3:1).
Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Ephesians 1:20, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
Colossians 3:1, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
John refers to Jesus Christ as “the firstborn from the dead” (compare Revelation 1:5 to Colossians 1:18).
Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead , and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead ; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
John describes Jesus as “the beginning of the creation of God” (compare Revelation 3:14 to Colossians 1:15).
Revelation 3:14, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God ;”
Colossians 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature :”
C. Comparison of Content: Revelation is a Book of Worship - One of the major characteristics of the book of Revelations is its many references to worship around the throne of God. It is important to note that worship precedes judgment in this book. For example, the worship seen in Revelation 4-5 precedes the opening of the seven seals. The worship in Revelation 15:0 precedes the pouring out of the seven vials of God’s wrath. This insight into worship and judgment reminds us of Psalms 8:2, which tells us that when God’s children worship Him, He responds by avenging their enemies.
Psalms 8:2, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”
Note the many references to worship:
Revelation 1:6, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 4:8-11, “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Revelation 5:9-14, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
Revelation 7:9-12, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 11:15-18, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
Revelation 12:10-12, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
Revelation 15:2-4, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”
Revelation 19:1-7, “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
“Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework.”
(Andreas Kösenberger) 
 Andreas J. Kösenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.
Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the book of Revelation, an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the book of Revelation for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to prepare the Church for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in order to bring it into eternal glorification with God the Father. John states the purpose of recording this revelation in the opening verse when he says, “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” (Revelation 1:1) The Church is able to prepare itself by understanding and heeding the words of this prophecy.
Revelation 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:”
VIII. Thematic Scheme
Introduction - Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central “claim” made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly.  The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader’s response.
 For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).
A. Primary Theme (Foundational) The Testimony of Jesus Christ (Glorification of the Church) Introduction - The central theme of the Holy Bible is God’s plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God’s divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.
Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD,” to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures.
This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.
1. The Primary Theme of the Book of Revelation - The foundational theme of the book of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus Christ as the eternal God, who is with the Father. This is the same foundational theme that is shared with the Gospel of John. However, while John’s Gospel emphasizes Jesus Chris at the eternal Word of God, his apocalypse emphasizes Him as “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last” (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 22:13).
This is the final revelation of Jesus Christ that God gives to the New Testament Church. It was given to the Church in order to make it for Christ’s Second Coming. The office and ministry of God the Father is to send forth His Son to effect the glorification of the Church. The work of the Father is takes place through His divine foreknowledge; the work of Jesus Christ the Son is to effect the justification of mankind; and, the work of the Holy Spirit is to bring man through a process of sanctification in order to maintain his justification through Jesus. The Old Testament emphasizes the foreknowledge of God the Father, particularly, predestination and calling; the Gospels emphasize justification through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ; and, the New Testament epistles emphasize the sanctification of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the saints. Finally, the book of Revelations serves as the climax of redemptive history, revealing the fulfillment all things that the Father has planned in order to bring the Church and Israel enter into eternal glorification with Him.
B. Secondary Theme (Structural) The Testimony of Jesus Christ as the Faithful Witness, and the First Begotten of the Dead, and the Prince of the Kings of the Earth (Judgment) Introduction - The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central “claim” of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.
The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.
The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind’s depravity and God’s plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2 Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.
The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2 Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.
The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1 Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2 Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God’s Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3 John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.
The Apocalypse of John, though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.
1. The Secondary Theme of the Book of Revelation The structural theme of the book of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus Christ to the Church as the Faithful Witness, and the First Begotten of the Dead, and the Prince of the Kings of the Earth. He will be revealed as the Head of the Church (Revelation 1:9 to Revelation 3:22), as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 18:24), and as the King of Kings (Revelation 19:1 to Revelation 22:21). In order to effect glorification for this world, God must bring it under judgment. As Head of the Church, Jesus alone has the legal right to judge the Church; as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Jesus alone has the legal right to judge the world; as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus alone has the legal right to rule and reign over mankind eternally.
C. Third Theme (Supportive) - The Crucified Life of the Believer (Preparing Oneself for Jesus’ Second Coming) Introduction - The third theme of each book of the New Testament is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one’s Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God’s children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.
1. The Third, Imperative Theme of the Book of Revelation - The third theme of the book of Revelation is an emphasis on how to apply the doctrinal truths laid down in the revelation given to John the apostle to the Christian life. It is a life of crucifying the flesh and taking up our Cross daily to follow Him. The believer reflects this crucified life in Revelation by sanctifying himself in expectation of Jesus’ Second Coming.
Figure 1 The Themes of the Book of Revelation
IX. Literary Structure
It is important to note that the literary structure of the book of Revelation is similar to that of John’s Gospel. Both place emphasis upon the revelation of who Jesus Christ is. John’s Gospel reveals Him as the Son of God who purchased our redemption. Also, John uses the number seven within the structures of his writings. John’s Gospel can be divided according to the seven feasts around which Jesus’ ministry is focused. And during each of the seven feasts Jesus Christ performs a miracle that demonstrates to the Jews that He is the Son of God. However, during the seventh feast, the final Passover which records the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, John reveals seven Old Testament prophecies that are fulfilled during His Passion
Interpreting the Symbolism in Revelation - In order to properly interpret this symbolic story, it is best to summarize the characters, settings and plot, which are the primary elements that make up a story. In this summary, there are several important similes and metaphors listed below with their figurative interpretation of a Christian’s relationship with Christ Jesus.
The Characters The book of Revelation reveals several important characters: the lamb, the woman, the harlot, and the dragon. The mountains would represent kingdoms, and the horns would represent the rulers over those kingdoms.
1. The Lamb (Revelation 5:6 ; Revelation 5:8 ; Revelation 5:12-13 ; Revelation 6:1 ; Revelation 6:16 ; Revelation 7:9-10 ; Revelation 7:14 , Revelation 17:0 : Revelation 12:11 ; Revelation 13:11 ; Revelation 14:1 ; Revelation 14:4 ; Revelation 14:10 ; Revelation 15:3 ; Revelation 17:14 (twice); Revelation 19:7 ; Revelation 19:9 ; Revelation 21:14 ; Revelation 21:22-23 ; Revelation 22:1 ; Revelation 22:3 ) The primary character in the book of Revelation is the “Lamb that was slain”. It is generally agreed that the Lamb symbolizes Jesus Christ. The word “lamb” is used 27 times in the book of Revelation, referring to Jesus Christ on all but one occasion (Revelation 13:8). John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God in his Gospel (John 1:29; John 1:36).
2. The Dragon (Revelation 12:3-4 ; Revelation 12:7 (twice), 9, 13, 16, 17; Revelation 13:2 ; Revelation 13:4 ; Revelation 13:11 ; Revelation 16:13 ; Revelation 20:2 ) Revelation 20:2 interpret the dragon to be symbolic of “that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan”. In this book the dragon is the evil one who opposes God and the Lamb in the story of Revelation. Satan was first referred to a serpent in the story of the Fall in Genesis 3:1-24.
3. The Woman (Revelation 12:1 ; Revelation 12:4 ; Revelation 12:6 ; Revelation 12:13-17 ) The woman that flees from the dragon is frequently understood as the nation of Israel that gave birth to the Messiah by some and as the Church by others. Both Israel and the Church (2 Corinthians 11:2) have biblical metaphors describing them as brides espoused to God and Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
4. The Child -
5. The Harlot -
6. The Horns -
7. The First Beast -
8. The Second Beast -
1. The Mountains (Revelation 17:9 ) In Revelation 17:9 the mountains clearly refer to the kingdoms of this world, over which the harlot sits and controls.
2. The Seas (Revelation 13:1 ) The beast comes up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1).
The Plot The book of Revelation will reveal Jesus Christ from a three-fold aspect. We find this three-fold revelation of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.” Jesus was a faithful witness for God the Father during His earthly ministry; for He testified of the Father. He was faithful unto death, and became the first begotten from the dead at His glorious Resurrection. When He entered Heaven, He was rightfully crowned “Ruler of the kings of the earth.” John the apostle will use this three-fold revelation of Jesus Christ to structure the book of Revelation.
The phrase “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1) refers to the fact that the book of Revelation will reveal Jesus Christ in three of His offices and ministries during the last days. In particular, Revelation 1-3 will reveal Jesus Christ in His office as Head of the Church, in which passages He will be judging the Church in order to prepare it for His Second Coming to receive it in the form of the Rapture. As Head of the Church He has the authority to judge His body. Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 19:10 reveals Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. This title gives Him the authority to judge the world in preparation for His Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation Period, for He alone is worthy to open the seals of the book that contains God’s judgment upon this earth for crucifying God’s Son. Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 22:5 reveals Jesus Christ as the King of Kings, who will reign on earth at the time of His Coming. Finally, Jesus’ eternal existence is revealed in His name given in the opening and closing of the book (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 22:13), which is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last”. Thus, the book of Revelation is indeed a revelation of Jesus Christ as He serves in His offices related to His Second Coming, all of which offices are made possible by His eternal nature as God made flesh.
1. Who Was (The Faithful Witness) Before His Second Coming (Revelation 1:4 to Revelation 3:22 ) - In Revelation 1:4 to Revelation 3:22 Jesus Christ is revealed as the Head of the Church who serves as the Faithful Witness in order to judge the seven churches as He prepares them for His Second Coming. Note that the Rapture of the Church is not described since the emphasis is being placed upon Jesus’ role in getting the Church ready for this event. Each message to the seven churches warns those who are not ready that they will have to go through the Tribulation Period.
2. Who Is (The Lamb of God That Was Slain) During His Second Coming (Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 19:10 ) - In Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 19:10 Jesus Christ is revealed as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth who alone is found worthy to open the seven seals that will judge the earth and prepare it for His Second Coming. It is this description of the Son of God that justifies God’s divine wrath upon the earth in this section; for a fallen humanity had crucified Him on Calvary, and vengeance was certain. There will be seven trumpets, three woes, and seven bowls.
3. Who is to Come (The King of Kings) After His Second Coming (Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 22:5 ) - In Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 22:5 Jesus Christ is revealed as the King of Kings who goes forth to conquer the kings of the earth during the final day of the Seven-Year Tribulation.
These three major divisions will be marked by the statement that “a door was opened in heaven.”
Revelation 4:1, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven : and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened , and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
4. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8 ; Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:21 ) Preceding and following this threefold revelation of Jesus Christ is the revelation of His external existence as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Just as the foundational theme of John’s Gospel declares that Jesus is the begotten of the Father, the book of Revelation is undergirded by the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Alpha and Omega.
John also uses the number seven throughout the book of Revelation to signify the divine intervention of God upon the earth. For example, throughout the Old Testament, seven years of famine was indicative of divine judgment upon a land. John’s Apocalypse gives us the opening of seven seal by the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. In opening these seven seals, Jesus Christ testifies to the world that He is the Son of God. During the opening of the seventh and final seal, there are seven trumpet blasts that take place.
X. Outline of Book
The following outline is a summary of the preceding literary structure; thus, it reflects the theological framework of the book of Revelation: its purpose, its three-fold thematic scheme, and its literary structure. As a result, this outline offers sermon sections that fit together into a single message that can be used by preachers and teachers to guide a congregation or class through the book of Revelation. This journey through Revelation will lead believers into one aspect of conformity to the image of Christ Jesus that was intended by the Lord, which in this book of the Holy Scriptures is to prepare Christians to sanctify themselves in expectation of Jesus’ Second Coming.
I. Introduction Revelation 1:1-3
II. Jesus Revealed as the Head of the Church Revelation 1:4 to Revelation 3:22
A. John’s Salutation to the 7 Churches Revelation 1:4-8
B. John’s Reason for Writing Revelation 1:9-20
C. Letters to the Seven Churches Revelation 2:1 to Revelation 3:22
1. Letter to Ephesus Revelation 2:1-7
2. Letter to Smyrna Revelation 2:8-11
3. Letter to Pergamos Revelation 2:12-17
4. Letter to Thyatira Revelation 2:18-29
5. Letter to Sardis Revelation 3:1-6
6. Letter to Philadelphia Revelation 3:7-13
7. Letter to Laodicea Revelation 3:14-22
III. Jesus Revealed as the Lamb of God Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 19:10
A. A Vision of Heaven Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 5:14
1. The Throne of God Revelation 4:1-11
2. The Lamb that was Slain Revelation 5:1-14
B. Opening of the 7 Seals and Sounding 7 Trumpets Revelation 6:1 to Revelation 11:19
1. The First Seal Revelation 6:1-2
2. The Second Seal Revelation 6:3-4
3. The Third Seal Revelation 6:5-6
4. The Fourth Seal Revelation 6:7-8
5. The Fifth Seal Revelation 6:9-11
6. The Sixth Seal Revelation 6:12 to Revelation 7:17
a) The Sixth Seal Opened Revelation 6:12-17
b) Israel is Sealed Revelation 7:1-8
c) Those Saved in the Tribulation Revelation 7:9-17
7. The Seventh Seal Revelation 8:1 to Revelation 11:19
a) The Opening of the Seventh Seal Revelation 8:1-6
b) The First Trumpet Sounds Revelation 8:7
c) The Second Trumpet Sounds Revelation 8:8-9
d) The Third Trumpet Sounds Revelation 8:10-11
e) The Fourth Trumpet Sounds Revelation 8:12
f) The Announcement of Last 3 Trumpets Revelation 8:13
g) The Fifth Trumpet Sounds (1 st Woe) Revelation 9:1-12
h) The Sixth Trumpet Sounds (2 nd Woe) Revelation 9:13 to Revelation 11:14
i) The Sixth Trumpet Revelation 9:13-21
ii) The Little Book Revelation 10:1-11
iii) The Two Witnesses Revelation 11:1-14
i) The Seventh Trumpet Sounds (3 rd Woe) Revelation 11:15-19
C. Israel’s Role in the Tribulation Period Revelation 12:1-17
D. The Two Beasts Revelation 13:1-18
1. The Beast from the Sea Revelation 13:1-10
2. The Beast from the Earth Revelation 13:11-18
E. The Harvest and the Winepress Revelation 14:1-20
F. The Seven Bowls of Plagues Revelation 15:1 to Revelation 16:21
G. The Babylon and Its Fall Revelation 17:1 to Revelation 19:10
1. Babylon as an Earthly Institution Revelation 17:1-18
2. The Fall of Babylon Revelation 18:1-24
3. Heaven’s Praises for Babylon’s Fall Revelation 19:1-10
IV. Jesus Revealed as the King of Kings Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 22:5
A. Christ on the White Horse Revelation 19:11-21
B. The Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus Revelation 20:1-10
C. The Great White Throne Judgment Revelation 20:11-15
D. The Heavenly Jerusalem Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5
V. Conclusion Revelation 22:6-21
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the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18