The Revelation to John was written at a time when Christians were being persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. The writer's main concern is to give his readers hope and encouragement, and to urge them to remain faithful during times of suffering and persecution.
For the most part the book consists of several series of revelations and visions presented in symbolic language that would have been understood by Christians of that day, but would have remained a mystery to all others. As with the themes of a symphony, the themes of this book are repeated again and again in different ways through the various series of visions. Although there are differences of opinion regarding the details of interpretation of the book, the central theme is clear: through Christ the Lord, God will finally and totally defeat all of his enemies, including Satan, and will reward his faithful people with the blessings of a new heaven and a new earth when this victory is complete.
Outline of Contents
Opening vision and the letters to the seven churches (1.9—3.22)
The scroll with seven seals (4.1—8.1)
The seven trumpets (8.2—11.19)
The dragon and the two beasts (12.1—13.18)
Various visions (14.1—15.8)
The seven bowls of God's anger (16.1-21)
The destruction of Babylon, and the defeat of the beast, the false prophet, and the Devil (17.1—20.10)
The final judgment (20.11-15)
The new heaven, the new earth, the new Jerusalem (21.1—22.5)
This book was written to encourage persecuted Christians by showing God's plan for history and affirming God's justice and mercy. Using visions, symbolism, and codes, Revelation proclaims that Christ will ultimately defeat all the forces of evil. It promises that those who remain faithful to Christ will be welcomed into a new heaven and new earth.