Revelation is complementary to the Gospels. While the gospels reveal Jesus’ ministry on earth, it reveals His work in the plan of redemption since that time. At the very beginning (ch. 1:1), this book announces itself as an apocalypse, an unveiling of the mysteries of the future ending in the triumph of Jesus Christ.
Apocalyptic books had been an important element in Jewish religious literature for more than two centuries. The first-known apocalypse, the book of Daniel, came at the time of the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century B.C. When the Maccabean wars once more brought political independence to the Jews 400 years later, Messianic hopes looking toward the expected new Jewish kingdom were aroused, and apocalyptic literature focused on studying the book of Daniel.
When, in the following century, Roman conquest destroyed the hopes of the Jews, because of their apostasy, for reaching a Messianic kingdom through the Hasmonaeans, Messianic hopes became stronger as the Jews looked for a Messiah who would conqueror the Romans. During the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. such hopes rose and people looked for another apocalyptic book.
In the New Testament, God gave the book of Revelation to reveal His Messianic kingdom. The book is a revelation of Jesus Christ at work perfecting the believers on earth so that they may reflect His perfect character, and leading His church through the ages of history toward the fulfilling of His eternal purpose. In this book more fully than any other book, the curtain that separates the invisible from the visible is taken away to reveal, the counter play of human interests, the agencies of the all-merciful God, quietly, working His own will.
Thus, Revelation was given to lead, comfort, and empower the church, not only in his day, but throughout the Christian Era, to the very end of time. In it, the history of the church was foretold for the benefit of the believers of apostolic era, to Christians of future generations, and to those living in the last days, in order that all might have a understanding of the dangers before them. This book includes prophecies that have both an immediate and a more future fulfillment, and in addition contain principles that are generally applicable at all times.
In His service,