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Revelation

General

The last book of the Bible concludes what God wanted to reveal. Revelation describes the completion of many things that began in the first book of Genesis. There are many lines between these two books of the Bible. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is central to this book of the Bible; the official name of this book is therefore: "Revelation of Jesus Christ" (chap. 1:1). This involves revealing in the sense of making something known; at the same time, this book is about the revelation of Christ and everything related to it.

Writer, origin and destination

The first verse immediately makes clear who the writer is: John. In itself it is quite remarkable that of the five bible books that John wrote, this last book is the only one in which we actually find his name as a writer! The name John is the Greek form of the Hebrew Yochanan, which means 'The LORD is gracious'. It is as if this underlines that it is precisely in the midst of the judgments described in Revelation that it must be realized that the LORD is merciful!

It is generally believed that this book of the Bible was written around 96 AD. Yet there are also arguments that Revelation may have been written earlier; during the Acts time.

John was on Patmos at the time of writing (chap. 1:9). What applies to the seven general epistles also applies here: John had an apostleship in behalf of the circumcised (Gal. 2:9). Those for whom the book of Revelation is addressed are described in the book itself, in line with John's apostleship, as "His servants (chap. 1:1); the "seven churches in Asia" (ch. 1:4) and "one kingdom .

Whole letter structure

A. 1. Introduction. The angel bears witness. Behold, He is coming. The Son of Man. John fell at His feet. Seven stars.
B. 2 and 3. The remnant on earth. The time of tribulation. Encouragements to overcome. Suffering in view of the new heaven and earth, paradise and the new Jerusalem.
C. 1 (a) 4 and 5. In heaven. The throne, the book, the Lamb, the four beasts, and every creature.
(b) chap. 6:1-7:8. On earth. The six seals. The one hundred and forty-four thousand from the tribes of Israel.
2(a) 7:9-8:6. In heaven. The multitude that no man could number and the seventh seal.
(b) 8:7-11:14. On earth. The sound of the six trumpets.
3(a) 11:15-19a. In heaven. The sound of the seventh trumpet. The kingdom.
(b) 11:19b. On earth. The earthquake, etc.
4(a) 12:1-12. In heaven. The woman, the male child and the dragon.
(b) 12:13-13:18. On earth. The dragon, the beast and the false prophet.
5(a) 14:1-5. In heaven. The Lamb and the one hundred and forty-four thousand.
(b) 14:6-20. On earth. The six angels.
6(a) 15:1-8. In heaven. The seven angels with the bowls.
(b) 16:1-18:24. On earth. The seven bowls.
7(a) 19:1-16. In heaven. The marriage of the Lamb.
(b) 19:17-20:15. On earth. The Last Judgment and the Thousand Year Reign.
B. 21:1-22:5. The new heavens and earth. The New Jerusalem. No more trouble, nor death. The Tree of Life. The overcomers inherit these things.
A. 22:6-21. Key lock. John falls at the feet of the angel. The Shining Morning Star. The angel bears witness. Yes, I will come soon.

Purpose and content

The purpose of the book of Revelation is stated right away in the opening verse: "...to shew his servants the things which must shortly come to pass...". That which "must take place" are the events that take place immediately before, during and after the revelation of Christ Himself. This revelation itself is described three times (chap. 6:12-17; 11:15-19 and 19:11-16). Revelation does not simply give a chronological description of the events from start to finish, but rather describes them in 'layers', whereby in an increasingly intensive way comes to the fore what is about to happen. The first 'layer' is described by means of the seven seals (chap. 6 and 8:1 and 2). With this comes a first description of the events up to the revelation. After that, a second layer of descriptions is given, as it were, on the basis of the trumpets (chap. 8, 9 and 11:14-19), the last three trumpets of which are called "pangs." These descriptions also go up to and including the revelation of Christ.

Then in chapter 16 follows the descriptions of what takes place at the time of and immediately after the revelation of Christ, according to the "seven bowls of the wrath of God" (v. 1).

core texts

"Behold, I make all things new" (chap. 21:5).