Term Paper: Book of Revelation

Pages: 5 (1696 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Book of Revelation is the last book of the Holy Bible, written around 96 CE in Asia Minor by John the Elder, probably a Christian from Ephesus (White 2008, BBC Team 2001). The setting is the island of Patmos, a place not too far from the coast of Asia Minor. John says that he is in the island "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:10)." To Bible scholars, this means that John was in exile as a martyr of his Christian faith (White). Traditional Christian believers assume that he is the apostle John, the author of the fourth Gospel. Yet this John the Elder at Patmos does not claim to an apostle or even to know Jesus who speaks to him. This Book has intrigued Christians for centuries for its warnings of disaster and suffering towards the end of the world. Among the impending world disasters described in vivid imagery by the book are the Battle of Armageddon, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Beast 666. Readers interpret these events as global warming, AIDS and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (BBC Team). The Book contains a Prologue, Five Visions and an Epilogue (Kirby 2001). The First Vision consists of letters to the seven churches of Asia. The Second Vision describes the throne of heaven, the seven seals and the seven trumpets. The Third Vision describes the three great signs in heaven, namely, the cosmic war; the beasts, the war, the seven plagues and the seven bowls of wrath; and the Battle of Armageddon. The Fourth Vision relates the judgment of Babylon, interpreted as Rome, and consists of four parts. These are the Great Whore, the fall of Babylon, the reopening of heaven and the 1,000 years' reign of the Lamb. The Fifth Vision describes the New Heaven and the New Earth. The last part is the Epilogue (Kirby).

The Catholic tradition acknowledges the seer as John the apostle, son of Zebedee, who was also called the Beloved Disciple of Jesus (Van Den Biesen 2007). The authorship of the Book as John's has been recognized as authentic by Melito, Bishop of Sardis in Asia; Irenaeus in Gaul; Tertullian in Africa; Bishop Hippolytus in Italy; the Vetus Itala; and Clement and Origan in Egypt. These scholars allowed allegorical interpretations but did not doubt its authority. Its authenticity was further acknowledged in the apostolic age by St. Justice Martyr around the middle of the second century; by Eusebius; and Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, a place not too far from Ephesus. The same Catholic tradition acknowledges that John was banished to Patmos around the end of the reign of Domitian because of John's testimony of God's word (Van Den Biesen).

In the First Vision, John relates the message of Jesus to the seven churches (Van Den Biesen 2007). These churches were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Leodicea. Jesus tells them to remain strong in their faith, be wary of false prophets and avoid fornication and meats served to idols. The Second Vision describes the throne in heaven and relates the seven seals and seven trumpets. The first four seals release the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, bringing conquest, slaughter, privation and death to the earth. The fifth seal reveals the slain martyrs and their prayers for final triumph. The sixth seal shows the 144,000 Jews, the great multitude from all nations and tongues and the Great Earthquake. The seventh seal relates silence in heaven for "half an hour." The seven trumpets are released by the angels. These trumpets bring punishments to the inhabitants of the earth in the form of natural destruction. A third of the earth is burned along with a third of the trees and all vegetation. A third of the sea turns "red" and a third turns into water of wormwood. One third of the sun, the moon and stars become hidden, bringing darkness on the earth. The fifth trumpet releases locusts from the abyss to punish human beings for five months but preserve the grass. The sixth trumpet signals to the four angels at the Euphrates to loosen control. The nations are thus judged and the kingdom of Christ is established (Van Den Biesen).

The Third Vision is about the great cosmic war between the Lamb and the seed of His Church on one side and the dragon, the beast and the false prophet on the other (Van Den Biesen 2007). The seven vials or bowls of God's wrath are poured upon the earth to punish it. These vials or bowls are unusual body ulcers, bloody seas and rivers, scorching heat from the sun, darkness upon the throne of the beast, the drying up of the River Euphrates as start of the Great War, and the great earthquake, which will destroy Babylon. The Fourth Vision shows the judgment and destruction of Babylon, the identity of the Great Whore, the re-opening of heaven and the 1,000 years reign of the Lamb. The Great Whore or Harlot is sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns. The kings of the earth commit fornication with her. But at judgment time, she is made desolate and becomes miserable in the eyes of world rulers and traders (Van Den Biesen).

The Lamb of God conquers Babylon on a white horse and comes to those whom He has purchased with His blood (Van Den Biesen 2007). He casts them alive in the lake of fire. The first resurrection follows and the Lamb's 1,000 years reign on earth starts with those who followed Him. The great dragon, the beast and the false prophet are bound for that length of time. At the end of 1,000 years, they are once more allowed to deceive the nations. But these adversaries are quickly defeated and cast back into the poor of fire for all eternity as their final judgment. The second resurrection then takes place. In the Fifth and Final Vision, the New Heaven and the New Earth are set up. The New Earth or New Jerusalem is the spouse of the Lamb, whom He redeems with His own blood on the Cross. This will be the new home of the 12 tribes and all other redeemed persons where they will be rewarded with complete, perpetual happiness with God (Van Den Biesen).

Scholars and other readers are generally agreed that the Seer was influenced by the prophecies of Daniel more than any other book (Van Den Biesen 2007). Daniel's prophecies were aimed at consoling the Jews who were then cruelly persecuted by Antiochus. The Seer wrote the Book of Revelation for a similar reason and purpose. It urges Christians to remain steadfast to their faith and endure their trials with fortitude. It promises them perfect and speedy reward for their faith. It assures them that Christ will come for them to avenge them and triumph over their enemies shortly. These enemies will be judged righteously and tormented for all eternity. Those who endure persecutions and tests in following the Lamb will rise to life again and reign with the Lamb in His millennial kingdom of 1,000 years. This is the Second Coming of Christ, the date of which is known only to the Father [Mat 24:36]. This is the final and much-awaited triumph of good over evil (Van Den Biesen).

The structure, imagery and language of the Book reveal the wrath of John, the Seer, towards the Roman emperor Nero's persecution of the early Christians (BBC Team 2001, White 2008). Rome at the time worshipped many gods and goddesses, even Roman emperors, and temples were built for the purpose of worship. This was considered blasphemy by early Christians who worshipped only one God. Bible scholars believe that the imperial cult, or worship of emperors, drew the anger… [END OF PREVIEW]

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