John wrote the book of Revelation in a literary style called “apocalyptic.” It uses fantastic images and symbols to describe God’s judgment and victory over evil.

Program Transcript

name of the book of Revelation is taken from its first verse which reads: “The
revelation of Jesus Christ.” The word revelation here is translated from
the Greek word apokalypsos, which means “unveiling” or “revealing.”

wrote Revelation in a special literary style well known to Jews and early
Christians called “apocalyptic.” Apocalyptic uses fantastic images and symbols
to describe God’s judgment and victory over the oppressors of his people and
all evil. It was popular during the last two centuries B.C. and the first
century A.D. The symbols and figures in apocalyptic writing were not to be
taken literally, but were to be understood in the context of the apocalyptic
style, similar to the way we might understand the symbolism of a political
cartoon today.

symbols found in Revelation might appear strange to Christians of later
centuries, and they have certainly been the subject of great debate and
mystery. But John used them because they were understood by the Christians of his
day. Revelation was not a secret code book to enable Christians of future
generations to decipher when Jesus would return. It was a book of hope and
encouragement to Christians of the first century, written to assure them that
in spite of all evidence to the contrary, Jesus Christ had already won the
final victory over all tyrants and tyranny.

if the faithful saints must face martyrdom at the hands of the enemies of God,
in time they will be vindicated, raised from the dead, and reign with Christ. Revelation
urges the faithful to trust Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of
the world, and resist any temptation to give their allegiance to those who
stand against him.

message has the same striking force for Christians today. Whatever despots
arise, wherever tyranny takes hold, Christians are assured by the message of
Revelation that the day of their deliverance and vindication is coming. “He
will wipe every tear from their eyes,” Revelation 21:4 tells us. “There will be
no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has
passed away.”

throughout history Christians have faced persecution and oppression, even as
many do today in various parts of the world, they have found John’s apocalyptic
book a source of great faith-building joy. Because Jesus reigns, every
believer’s story, no matter how dismal it might be in the present, will end

Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.