The Greek word for Revelation is Αποκαλυψις or Apocalypse. Revelation always implies the unveiling of something previously hidden, in this case, future events. As the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation brings to fruition symbolism found in Genesis 3:15 in the first book of the Bible.
Early Christian Tradition identified the writer of Revelation as the Apostle St. John, the Beloved Disciple, while he was in exile on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Written in symbolism, the book has always been surrounded by mystery and has fascinated mankind throughout the ages as to its meaning.
John opens the Apocalypse naming this the "Revelation of Jesus Christ," the prophecy revealed to him by the risen Christ, "who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood" (1:5).
The Book of Revelation is at once frightening, as it speaks of the rise of the antichrist and the end of the age, dramatic as it describes the final battle of good and evil, and, above all, optimistic, as it points to the triumph of Jesus Christ over evil and the dawn of a new creation.
Revelation 1:19 sets two time periods to the book - what is now and what will happen afterwards. The first time period includes the messages to the Seven Churches, Chapters 2 and 3, in which the word repent - μετανοέω or metanoew - occurs seven times. The second time period comprises the future, Chapters 4-21. Chapter 4 begins scenes of heavenly worship, which are interspersed throughout and provide continuity to this intriguing text but also offer contrast to the terrifying images during the tribulation on earth. The heavenly worship recalls the Mass or Divine Liturgy, the renewal of the New Covenant in Christ.
Hope is offered to those who are faithful to the Lord and his Commandments. Those who endure for Christ will be kept from the hour of trial that will fall on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 3:10). Angels are instructed not to harm the earth until the servants of God are sealed on their foreheads (7:3). Spirits from the abyss are to torment only those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (9:4). "Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to faith in Jesus" (14:12).
The Revelation to John often reflects imagery found in Hebrew Scripture, our Old Testament of the Bible, such as the Books of the Prophets Daniel and Ezekiel. For example, the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13 is referenced in Revelation 1:13 and 14:14. Jesus calls himself the Son of Man in all Four Gospels, fulfilling the destiny of the Messianic figure in the Book of Daniel.
The number seven resounds throughout Revelation and often serves as a key to important events. There are the seven Churches, and the seven seals, trumpets, and bowls. There are the seven angels who stand before the Lord (8:2). One also speaks of the seven Blessings or Beatitudes - μακáριος or makarios - of Revelation, as found in 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, and 22:14. Following the proclamation of the Kingdom of God (11:15), seven spiritual figures are revealed: the Woman clothed with the sun (12:1); the dragon (12:3); the male child (12:5); Michael (12:7); the sea beast (13:1); the land beast (13:11); and the Lamb (14:1).
Angels appear over 70 times in Revelation and play an instrumental role in this prophetic text. Revelation describes the Book of Life and gives a warning about the Day of Judgement. The only ones to enter the New Jerusalem will be those written in the Book of Life of the Lamb (21:27).
The New Covenant binds together the following four levels of interpretation: There is the Preterist view, which emphasizes a first-century fulfillment of Revelation's prophecies; a Futurist view, which sees Revelation as a timetable for future events on earth, a view which lately has been prominent in the media; an Idealist view, which considers Revelation an allegory of spiritual warfare that every believer must fight; and the Historical view, which takes the vantage point of the Apocalypse laying out God's master plan for history, from beginning to end; one sees the consistent pattern of covenant, fall, judgement and redemption.
The following Scripture is from the from the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Holy Bible, now in the public domain. The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was first released in 1900. It was originally best known by its full name, but soon came to have other names, such as the American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known by its present name, the American Standard Version. Because of its prominence in seminaries, it was in America sometimes simply called the "Standard Bible".