New Testament Survey: The Book Of Revelation

Written By: Steve Shirley


The Book Of Revelation

Author:  John (Son of Zebedee) Mentioned by name 4 times: (Rev 1:1,4,9)(Rev 22:8)
(For more on John see: Survey: Gospel of John)

1. In addition to the universal agreement of the early church fathers, all other tradition confirms John was the author. In fact, only a few years had passed after the death of John until Revelation was quoted and ascribed to him by writers who either knew him in person, or who had derived their information (i.e. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus) from those who sat at his feet.

2. The Bible tells us in (Gal 2:9) that John (along with Peter and James the Lord's brother) was a "pillar" of the church in Jerusalem. Tradition says that John remained in Jerusalem as a leader in the church until Paul was martyred in 67 A.D. After this, but before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D., John moved to Ephesus, where he became the "superintendent" of the churches in that area. It is almost certain that the 7 churches of Asia Minor that John focuses on in (Rev 2 & 3) are the churches he was in charge of for the rest of his life.

3. There are a number of key words that Revelation shares with the Gospel of John:

(Revelation also shares with John's other writings the contrasts of light and darkness, good vs. evil, love vs. hatred, etc...)

The Stats:

Date Written:

** Note: Remember the important chain we discussed in our New Testament Survey: Pre-Survey, that Irenaeus (130 A.D.-200 A.D.) was a pupil of Polycarp (69-155 A.D.), and Polycarp was a pupil of John, therefore, there was only one link between Irenaeus (who was one of the most prolific Christian writers in history) and John.

1. Since John did not even move to Ephesus until about 67 A.D., it would have been impossible for him to have established his ministry for a long enough time to write to the 7 churches.

2. The 7 churches were not even founded until about 55-58 A.D., and showed no sign of spiritual decay from this time to the 60's when Paul visited them. (They were in decay in Revelation: 2:4,14,20 3:1,15-18.)

3. The term used for Sunday, "the Lord's Day" (Rev 1:10), wasn't used until late in the 1st century and from the 2nd century onward. Before this time, it was called "the first day of the week" (Acts 20:7)(1 Cor 16:2).

4. The false teaching Nicolaitans of (Rev 2:6,15) are not even mentioned in Paul's letters, and almost certainly did not gain prominence until well after his death.

5. The question should also be asked, why would Nero murder Paul and Peter, but only exile John?

Place Written: 

Written To: 

Key Verses:  (Rev 1:3,19)(Rev 13:16-18)(Rev 19:11-16)(Rev 20:11-21:4)(Rev 22:18-20)

Question: Who is the Almighty? Answer will be: God.

Reply: Ok, let's see if you are correct.

First verse: (Rev 1:8) Show them they are correct. Alpha/Omega, Beginning/End, right?

Second verse: (Rev 21:5-7) Again correct. Alpha/Omega, Beginning/End

Third verse: (Rev 22:13) Again correct. Alpha/Omega, Beginning/End, First/Last.

Fourth verse: (Rev 1:17) Read then STOP, confirm it is the same as the previous verses. Then continue to (Rev 1:18).

Question: Are you saying God died??

Facts About Revelation: 

The word "Revelation" comes from the Greek word "Apokalupsis" which means an uncovering or unveiling of something that was previously hidden.

The original title of Revelation (not Revelations) has always been "Apokalupsis Ioannou" or "Revelation of John."

Most consider Revelation a book of prophecy (more below). Jesus revealed the book to John in a series of visions, which John then recorded. He uses the term "I saw" 37 times.

Revelation is a book filled with symbols and signs such as numbers, colors, animals, jewels, objects, etc... with each referring to a different person or thing. Some are clearly identified in the text (i.e. "the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks (lampstands) are the seven churches" (Rev 1:20) and "the dragon... called the Devil, and Satan" (Rev 12:9). Others have to be interpreted elsewhere in the Bible (i.e. the "woman" (Rev 12:1-17) who represents Israel (Isa 54:5-6)(Jer 3:6-8)(Jer 31:32)(Ezek 16:32)(Hos 2:16) and "the great whore (harlot)" (Rev 17:1,15-16)(Rev 19:2) who represents the apostate church (Jer 3:6-9)(Ezek 16:30)(Ezek 20:30)(Hos 4:15)(Hos 5:3) (Hos 6:10)(Hos 9:1)

About two-thirds of the 404 verses in revelation refer back to the Old Testament.

The events in Revelation are not in chronological order.

There are four different methods that are used to interpret Revelation: 

1. Preterist: The prophecies of Revelation have all been fulfilled in the past, mainly in the later 1st century events of the Roman Empire.

2. Historicist: Revelation is viewed as a progressive history of the church from John's time until the Second Coming of Christ. Some see it predicting such events as the rise of the Roman Catholic Church (ch.12), the Reformation (ch. 10), and Islam.

3. Idealist: Revelation is simply symbolic of the eternal struggle between good and evil. It contains no history or prophecy.

4. Futurist: Almost the whole book of Revelation, except for the first 3 chapters, prophecies future events that will occur before the end of time. Events are described such as the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, the Millennium, and the eternal state.


Special Emphasis:

"Son of God"(Rev 2:18)
"the Almighty"(Rev 1:8)
"the Alpha and Omega"(Rev 1:11)(Rev 22:13)
"the beginning and the ending"(Rev 1:8)
"the first and last"(Rev 1:11,17)
"the Lord"(Rev 1:8)
"Son of Man"(Rev 1:13)
"He that liveth and was dead" but now is "alive forevermore"(Rev 1:18)
"the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead"(Rev 1:5)
"the prince of the kings of the earth"(Rev 1:5)
"holy and true"(Rev 3:7)
"the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God"(Rev 3:14)
"the Lion of the tribe of Judah"(Rev 5:5)
"worthy Lamb"(Rev 5:12)
"the Lamb"(Rev 5:6,8)(Rev 6:1)(Rev 7:17)
"Christ"(Rev 11:15)
"Faithful and True"(Rev 19:11)
"the Word of God"(Rev 19:13)
"the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star"(Rev 22:16)(Also see: Rev 5:5)
"Lord Jesus Christ"(Rev 22:21)
Portrayed as the bridegroom(Rev 19:7-9)
"seven churches" (Rev 1:4,11)"seven trumpets" (Rev 8:2,6)(Rev 15:6)
"seven spirits" (Rev 1:4)(Rev 4:5)"seven thunders" (Rev 10:3)
"seven golden candlesticks" (Rev 1:12-13)"seven heads and seven crowns" (Rev 12:3)
"seven stars" (Rev 1:16)"seven plagues" (Rev 15:1,6)
"seven lamps" (Rev 4:5)"seven golden vials (bowls)" (Rev 15:7)
"seven seals" (Rev 5:1)"seven mountains" (Rev 17:9)
"seven horns and seven eyes" (Rev 5:6)"seven kings" (Rev 17:10)
"seven angels" (Rev 8:2,6)(Rev 15:6)

In addition, the "Lamb" was slain to receive "power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Rev 5:12). (Seven things)

Those in white robes worshipped God saying, "blessing and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God" (Rev 7:12). (Seven things)

The word "blessed" is used 7 times: (Rev 1:3)(Rev 14:13)(Rev 16:15)(Rev 19:9)(Rev 20:6)(Rev 22:7,14).


1. Things past, "the things thou hast seen," i.e. the Patmos vision, 1:1-20.

2. Things present, "the things which are,"  i.e. things then existing - obviously the churches, 2:1-3:22.

3. Things future, "things which shall be hereafter," lit. "after these," i.e. after the church period ends, 4:1-22:21.

(Survey from Scofield Reference Notes [1917 ed.]: Public Domain)