Reading the book of Revelations can be quite intimidating to the average person, the description of beast, spiritual beings, the world ending, and consuming fire goes against the structure of normality. Although, in today’s culture and media such things are embraced through; television, magazines, movies, technology, and through cultures that clinch on to this type of hellish ends. However, in this culture many are into genres such as science fiction and thriller; vampire vs. human, demon vs. angel, the future holding some apocalyptic end. Revelations topples every book that I have read in the bible because of its intensity and ability to have any individual question their life and whether they are “going to hell.” As I was reading, I really felt maybe focusing on who is the actual writer of Revelations. Also how did society or their culture accept the content during the time . Did people question its truth and validity and where was the book of Revelation found. What happen after the release of revelations and why is it called revelations.
As I read the first chapter and fist verse of revelations, I gather in reading, that this was a vision given to Jesus , who from God, sent his angel to his servant John who was witnessed to this word of God and witness to the testimony of Jesus Christ ( Revelations 1: 1-2). It sounds or looks to me when I read back over these verses for clarity, as if John the writer and speaker; speaks in third person. Many Christians would however explain it as being content that it is not John or someone writing this story as a listener of John, but John being “divinely inspired by God.” Researching the clarity of who is the actual writer , I read bibleprobe.com which said that the writer is Apostle John, but reading copwisecounty.org, it mentions something similar to what I believe which is that the writer may be a hearer of John, and not john himself. The reason I say this is because of how in the intro it is written in third person, Revelations 1:1. Many believe it to be John of Patmos this we will assume as him until proven otherwise. He was about 92 years old when he wrote the book of Revelations(bibleprob.com). During this time he was in prison in Patmos and persecuted by leaders because of his “extreme beliefs of Jesus Christ” and testifying to his second his coming (http://www.bibleprobe.com/revelation.htm). Also to throw in an interesting read, it mentions that magistrates were outraged with John at this time because he was thrown in boiling oil and lived (http://www.bibleprobe.com/revelation.htm). Well, I didn’t know oil boiled but it was something I wanted to interject.
This book is said to be written in 92-96 AD or in 70 ad, but I will go with what many scholars agree as being the actual date, 94-96AD. The next important question leading from this is the effect on society or how did their culture accept the content written in revelations at that time. Well of course, if you read Revelations you will read the prophesies which explain what John was told to tell certain people or angels what is to come good and bad.The angels reference in the text means Greek angelos “messenger, envoy, one that announces” angel. I will only give a couple of examples which start in Revelations 1:20 and on. John mentions, “the seven lamp stands symbolizing the seven churches.” In the letter to Ephesus, he writes and explains what god would have them to do, “I know your works; and what you have endured, you test those who do evil…nevertheless you have fallen, repent and do the first works or else (Revelations 2:1-9). This is quite scary when you read further on in revelations on what is to happen to those who don’t repent, or fall into the category of being “bottomless pit worthy.” If I had been in Ephesus at this very moment, fear would be my deepest concern and repenting high on my to do list! Another was the message john had to relay to Thyatira in revelations 2:18-2, he mentions their good service then basically tells them God said he doesn’t like this get it right or die a harsh death. John’s message to Thyatira “Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess…who by her teaching deceives my servants into sexual immorality and eating idols’-meat./I have given her time to repent but she has shown no desire to repent of her immorality./See, now, how I throw her into bed and her lovers with her, and I will send them terrible suffering unless they repent of what she has done” (J.B Phillips https://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CPn27Revelation.htm). If I had been in Thyatira hearing this and aware of Jezebel , I am sure many were repenting and awaiting the day of condemning. The mention of Jezebel in this area of the bible or New Testamentis really bizarre to me because I know when she is known to be relevant years before this and mention in the story in 1 Kings. Well, maybe there is another Jezebel? Nonetheless, this would strike most Christians at this time and leaders to be a constant reminder that someone is watching and maintaining order was life or death, so get in order or be“thrown in the fire and obliterated by the beast.” To add in my next question, I will give in short my beliefs on the validity and truth of the message during that time. The fact that John was a respected leader of the Christian community, and a martyr , therefore making this message increasingly popular, and influencing much of the Christian way of life. We notice now that the influence was short lived as culture evolves the message still has a power but has faded in strength. As we look back now, how those areas have evolved to brutality, yet still trying to hold religious orthodox without pure moral concept, has weaken the quality of the message that God spoke through John.
After the message was release there were many problems people found wrong with the text but it was purely how Christians interpreted the text, this may sounds familiar and quite ironic. In reading “Revelation in Late Antiquity and the Early Church,” it explains three problems during Johns time. It explains that allegory of the text has always been the problem, Allegory in greek allegoria “figurative language, description of one thing under the image of another,also meaning “literally” (http://www.etymonline.com). During the second century, “Clement of Alexandria rebuke Christian women who took the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 as a merit for wearing jewelry” http://persweb.wabash.edu). During this time and after much of the text was spread along Rome and Egypt the text took a turn in a less figurative approach to what was to happen literally. In one of the articles I first read ,which is bibleprobe.com, it mentions that Johns vision was a look into the future of new technology or high tech weaponry. That at John’s time what we know now as advance weaponry or bio weaponry could only by God be divinely given through vision (http://www.bibleprobe.com/revelation.htm). Many scholars believe the what John saw was an advance set of machinery, which now would be him referencing or predicting our new age technology leading us into the end of this world “Apocalyptic”. Those in John’s time were more concerned of the beast and took it literally, which is still what Christians do today. Lastly, what does Revelations actually mean? Revelations is a literal reference in Greek, meaning the “Apocalypse” (pbs.org) The word apocalypse means revelation, it is said to be “that which is exposed or revealed,” it comes from the Greek word which means to pull the cover off something (pbs.org). It is prophetic books based on the inspiration of God, and how God will selects certain human beings to speak and to be spokespeople for his will whether it be a excellent inspiring message to tell or in the words of prophet Jeremiah, someone will have to speak (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/explanation/brevelation.html).