The book of Revelation happens now


The revelation to John

The prophetic book of the New Testament, the Revelation of John, begins with seven letters to churches in Asia Minor, in which the author encourages, admonishes and comforts them. The visions and images of the remaining chapters also have the same meaning: Despite all the oppression by state violence, God's victory is finally certain.

With its rich imagery, the revelation is fascinating and difficult to understand at the same time. This is probably related to the fact that it influenced popular belief in a special way. A whole series of ideas of popular piety have their origin here; B:

  • Accepting purgatory
  • The expectation of judgment before the throne
  • The fight between angels and devils
  • The images of trumpet angels, apocalyptic riders and the heavenly Jerusalem
  • The number symbolism

Contrary to popular belief, Revelation is not a "road map" for events at the end of time, but rather a scripture to hold out for Christians in the face of persecution.

The revelation of John was probably written at the end of the first century for the church in Asia Minor, which was persecuted by the Roman state.

The word revelation is called apocalypsis in Greek. It's about making things manifest, revealing or bringing them to light. The term ¬Ľapocalyptic¬ę indicates that this book belongs to a certain genre of literature.

The motto of the book is summed up in the first verse: This is the revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what is about to happen. (Rev 1,1) With this the content of the book is shown as secret knowledge about the future. The events that are then presented in the book depict, on the one hand, the threatening presence and, on the other hand, they show that victory was achieved through Christ and that a wonderful service is already being celebrated in heaven. Revelation formulates images of hope for those Christians who have remained true to their faith in times of personal hostility.

The book is believed to be at the end of the 1st century AD. originated in Asia Minor, the western part of today's Turkey. The area then belonged to the Roman Empire. Emperor Domitian, who from 81 to 96 AD. ruled, tried to enforce his rule through a rigorous religious policy. As the first Roman emperor, he required all of his subjects to be worshiped as a god while they were still alive. He enforced this imperial cult with all severity. The Christians, a small minority in this area, got into a serious conflict of conscience. Their belief in God did not tolerate compromise. The Christians could easily have evaded persecution by the Roman state by participating in the imperial cult. Many chose this option in order to survive. Others suffered the death penalty and became martyrs of the Christian faith.

This pressing situation is the background on which John writes his revelation. This John is not identical with the author of the Gospel of John. But he is undoubtedly one of the great figures of the early Church. We learn from him that he has withdrawn to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea and received his visions there.

In the first chapter of Revelation he introduces himself as a servant of God and as a prophet. Obviously he is very concerned about how Christians will prove themselves in the situation of persecution. In seven letters, the so-called missions, he addresses seven individual congregations, which he admonishes and comforts. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life, (Rev 2:10) it says in the letter to the church in Smyrna.

The main part of the book are the visions of the eschatological catastrophe, which are presented in ever new and terrible images. The battle rages between God and the unleashed satanic forces. They wield a reign of terror in the form of fearsome animals. Although the anti-divine powers seem to be triumphing, John lets his churches know that they will shortly be overcome. Christ appears in the form of a lamb who bears the traces of the crucifixion and is allowed to take a seat next to the throne of God.

When John speaks of the fall of the whore Babylon, his readers know very well that the capital Rome is encoded.

Afterwards I saw another angel descending from heaven, who had great power, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. And he cried out in a mighty voice: She has fallen, she has fallen, Babylon the great, and has become a dwelling place for devils and a prison for all unclean spirits. (Revelation 18: 1-2)

The beast from the abyss that can be worshiped can only refer to the Emperor Domitian.

And he was given power to give spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could speak and make that all who did not worship the image of the beast would be killed. (Revelation 13:15)

Because it was dangerous to speak directly in the Roman Empire, the events described are encoded with the help of mysterious symbols and images from Jewish apocalyptic.

Revelation ends with a vision of a new heaven and a new earth in which there will be an unadulterated communion with God.