Term Paper: Book of Revelation

Pages: 12 (3861 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature  ·  Buy for $19.77

Book of Revelation: Looking Beyond Revelation is could easily be considered the most controversial book in the New Testament; if not the entire Bible itself. Many have tried in vain to understand what the book is trying to tell us. There are essentially two different schools of thought regarding revelation. The first is that the book is historical in nature that it symbolically tells about the events that were happening around Rome at the time. The other view is that it is prophetic and reveals things yet to come. This review will examine the book of Revelation and what is known about its author and literary style that can give us clues as to its meaning.

This analysis will support the thesis that both the historical and futuristic camps of thought have merit, but that a third perspective offers the greatest chance for understanding the intent of the message. The thesis will examine the larger themes and motifs that occur in the book without dwelling on a verse by verse exegesis. Exegesis of this book causes many more misunderstandings than it clarifies. The symbolic nature of the text leads to an easy analysis of the themes and motifs of the book.

This analysis will support the thesis that the author intended a much broader interpretation of the book than either a historical or prophetic interpretation can deliver. It will support the thesis by comparing and contrasting the historical and futuristic viewpoints on the Book of Revelation in search of Common themes.

Authorship and subject

This work is intended to be a book review of the Book of Revelation. Being such, one would expect the writer to spend considerable time introducing the author and opening with some type of discussion on the subject of the book. In the case of the Book of Revelation these two tasks are not as easy as they would seem. There are many theories in existence among Bible historians about whom the actual author so the book was. Part of this argument stems from the difficulty in dating its exact time of writing.

Other books of the New Testament give clues as to when they were written. We may know when the person lived, when they were in a certain location or other details that help us to pinpoint their time in history. They may point to certain historical events that give us clues as to the time of writing by naming a certain Roman Emperor or battle. These clues help us to paint an accurate historical picture of other books in the New Testament.

The controversy over the author and time of writing of the Book of Revelation does not stem from a lack of historical clues, but rather from the fact that they are obviously hidden in the cryptic language of the text. One can only surmise the reasons for the symbolic nature of the book. The two views of the Book of Revelation help us to understand these two differing theories as to the author of the Book of Revelation.

If one takes a historical perspective on interpretation of the book, then it is easy to make certain assumptions that may help to decipher the evidence. For instance, if one considers the political events and persecution of Christians that occurred during the time of Nero, then it would appear as if the writer were using a symbolic language that would only be understood by true believers to hide the work and perhaps himself from Nero's forces.

Another Christian would understand the symbols and meaning behind the text. However, one from a different religious origin may think it to be a type of gibberish and the writings of a mad man. It would not be likely to be taken seriously, if it were even understood at all. This form of symbolic communication would serve as a code to those that had the proper background to understand it, and would serve to hide it from those that would seek to destroy it.

If one takes a futuristic perspective on the book, then the authorship of the book takes an even more obscure turn. The author reveals himself twice in the text as being named John. He does not use his formal name such as "John of Ephesus" or "John the son of Ephesus," for example. One could take several perspectives on this as well. If the author did not feel the need to tell the reader his full name, it may have been because the reader was familiar and would have automatically known who was writing. If the book were written by the Apostle John, as many believe, then there would have been no need to use his formal name for those that knew him. This is key evidence in support of those that feel that Book was written by the same John that wrote the Gospel of John.

However, if one agrees with the historical perspective of the book then it may be that the author did not reveal their formal name so that they could remain hidden from Nero's army. This perspective has produced numerous theories on who John actually is. There are many possibilities that have not been considered as well as some that appear to be popular. The exact identity of the John in the Book of Revelation depends entirely on how one interprets the symbolism of the text and what events they represent. There are many ways to interpret the Book of Revelation if one takes the historical perspective. One would assume that the historical perspective would offer the most concrete answers to authorship, but it does not. The historical perspective must rely on outside sourced to draw conclusions. The author of the Book of Revelation is difficult to discern, if one eliminates all assumptions and personal opinions.

Another possibility is that the author may not have revealed his name for literary reasons. The author emphasized that the visions that are presented are not his own, but that they are of divine origin. The author will not take credit for the visions, but places the credit entirely on God. The author may not have revealed his true identity because he did not want full credit for the work, but wanted to place the full credit on the true creator of the works. The only thing that we do know is that the author is John, but John who is still a topic of great debate.

The author of the Book of Revelation may be a topic of debate and some consider the subject of the book to be debatable as well. However, if one looks below the surface, the theme is clear regardless of the details. If one takes a historical perspective then there are many details that become important. This is also important for many that take a prophetic interpretation as well. The subject of the Book of Revelation is a warning. This hold true whether one feels that it is simply a cryptically coded history or whether it is a roadmap for things to come. The Book of Revelation was intended to serve as a warning.

The title of the book of Revelation tells the reader what it is about. The book is filled with the "revelations" or visions that came to the author. The word revelation means that the reader will gain some knowledge that has been revealed to them. However, the word alone says nothing about the means or origin of the revelation. In the case of the Book of Revelation the things that are revealed are of divine origin and revealed to an ordinary man. This book presents the revelations of the author to the reader so that they can gain insight into the intentions of the source of the revelations.

Purpose of the Book

The revelations that the author presents to the reader are not just for information only. They consist of a set of warnings that are meant to compel the reader into action. The subject of the Book of Revelations presents the visions in such as way that if the reader does not heed the word of God and obey the commandments, and then they are given a clear picture of what is to come.

From a historical perspective, the author presents the material as a mother would use a fable to teach their child not to tell lies. Revelation tells what happened to a group of people that did not listen to God. There is an underlying theme that if one does not change their ways then this is what will happen to them too. If one takes a prophetic perspective, the reader received the same warning about what will happen if they do not change their ways. Regardless of whether one considers the subject of the book to be about things to come or things that have already passed, the underlying admonishment to change one's ways remains the same. This is the most important theme that the author intended, regardless… [END OF PREVIEW]

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