Revelation is a special genre of Scripture called Apocalyptic Literature. It is written by communities under severe persecution, in symbolic and metaphorical language, presenting the future judgment/victory of God over the current oppression. The central message of Revelation is, “keep the faith.” We know little about the author of Revelation, John of Patmos; while he could be the Apostle John, the book doesn’t tell us one way or the other and early church histories are divided on the subject. We know Revelation was written as a letter to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), likely between 92-96 AD during the persecution by the Emperor Domitian.
If you have a red-letter Bible, did you notice that the words of Jesus are red here in Revelation? The appearance of Jesus to John on Patmos is a vision, not a dream, and these are truly the words of Christ, just like those in the Gospels.
What strikes you about the appearance and words of Jesus in chapter 1?
Chapters 2-3 are the seven letters Jesus dictates to the churches in Asia Minor. What similarities did you notice between the letters? What is true (good or bad) about these churches that might be relevant for your life today?
Chapters 4-5 are the beginning of John’s incredible vision of the heavenly places and the end times. These passages begin with worship - why might that be important? What did you notice about the connection between The One Enthroned (God the Father) and the Lamb (God the Son)?
Was any of the music in this section familiar
Chapters 6-11 include the outpouring of God’s wrath against sin, in the form of seven seals and seven trumpets. Which of these passages contain stories you’ve heard before, maybe even outside the church? What is particularly striking or confusing?
Note that the events of Revelation are not necessarily presented in a chronological or linear format (for example, in 6:12-14, the sky, mountains and islands are all removed, while in 7:3 the angels are told to not damage the earth or sea or trees).
How would these stories be a comfort to those who are suffering great persecution for their faith?
Keep with it!
Grace and Peace,