What is the theme of the book of Revelation?


By BibleAsk Team

The Theme of the Book of Revelation

This prophetic book is a revelation of Jesus Christ perfecting the believers that they may reflect His pure character. It shows His leading to the church through history toward the fulfilling of His eternal plan. The central theme of the book of Revelation is the great controversy between good and evil, with special emphasis upon the end time events of this world and the establishment of the God’s glorious kingdom. Revelation consists of four major divisions:   

  1. The seven churches, chapters 1–3  
  2. The seven seals, chapters 4 to 8:1  
  3. The seven trumpets, chapters 8:2 to 11   
  4. The closing events of the great controversy, chapters 12–22 


The book of Revelation is highly figurative and uses symbolic language, which may not always have a literal interpretation (Ezekiel 1:10).  In some regards, the figurative language of the apocalyptic book is similar to that of the parables. Sometimes the Lord uses symbolism because the literal language is inadequate to reflect the realities of heaven.  

Why the symbols? The prophecies of Revelation were given while the church was being persecuted. One reason God covered the prophecies in symbols was to protect His words to His children. But the Lord promised that the meaning of these symbols will be given to His children yet be hidden from the rest of the world. Jesus said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand” (Luke 8 :10).   

The best method of interpreting Bible symbols is to allow the Bible to interpret itself. Like the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel in the Old Testament also has symbolism and carries an end time message. And much of what was sealed in the book of Daniel (Daniel12:4) is unsealed in the book of Revelation. 

(Also see: What are the symbols in Daniel and Revelation?)


The book of Revelation contains quotations from 28 of the 39 books of the Old Testament. There are 505 quotations, 325 of them are from the prophetic books of the Old Testament—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. And there are also allusions to Zechariah, Joel, Amos, and Hosea. Additionally, there are references to Exodus and Psalms (Luke 24:44). As for the New Testament books, there are citations from the books of Matthew, Luke, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians.   

A clear comprehension of these references in their context of the Old Testament is essential to understanding their meaning in Revelation. This applies to the names of persons, locations, and events. Many of the symbols of the book of Revelation were already known in Jewish apocalyptic writings, which make it easy for us to decipher.   


The book of Revelation was given to comfort and lead the church through the ages. Although the names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of history, yet the messages they convey benefit every church. Some of such prophecies have both an immediate and a more remote fulfillment.

In His service, 
BibleAsk Team  

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