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New Testament Notes

The Book of Revelation

The following notes are intended to supplement, not replace, the readings from the Bible and the text book.
Comments or questions should be sent to: Dr. Rollinson.


The Book of Revelation is an example of Apocalyptic Literature
The author calls himself a "servant of Jesus Christ", rather than an apostle, which has led some scholars to suppose that this author is not the same person as the author of the Gospel of John or the Epistles of John.
The style of Greek used differs from that of the Gospel of John, but this may be due to the fact that a secretary or secretaries wrote the Gospel as John dictated it, but there was no secretary available when John was in prison on the island of Patmos.
It is generally accepted that the Apostle John traveled to Ephesus, and was a leader in the Church there, until the Romans sent him to Patmos. It is thought that John was eventually released from Patmos, and returned to Ephesus, where he died, ca. AD 98
Revelation was probably written between AD 81-96, during the persecutions under the reign of Domitian.
The visions and revelations are probably not to be interpreted as a linear sequence of events, but as repeating cycles which are in a time-frame other than that upon earth - there are times in the book when events happen on earth, but there are also accounts of things happening in heaven, which is not bound by terrestrial time.


  • Revelation, chapter 1 : John's introduction
  • Revelation, chapters 2-3 : Messages to the seven Churches
  • Revelation, chapters 4-11 : John's visions of heaven
    • Revelation, chapter 4 : the Throne of God
    • Revelation, chapter 5 : the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God
    • Revelation, chapters 6-8 : the seven seals
      • Revelation 6:1-8 : the four horsemen of the Apocalypse
    • Revelation, chapters 8-11 : the seven angels with trumpets
      • Revelation, chapter 11 : John's vision of the Temple, and the two witnesses of God
  • Revelation, chapter 12 : the woman and the dragon
  • Revelation, chapter 13 : the beast with seven heads, and the beast with two horns
  • Revelation, chapter 14 : the Lamb of God on Mount Zion, and the Fall of Babylon
  • Revelation, chapters 15-16 : the seven angels with the seven last plagues
  • Revelation, chapters 17-18 : Judgment upon evil, and the Fall of Babylon (repeat)
  • Revelation, chapter 19 : Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords
  • Revelation, chapter 20 : Judgment before the Great White Throne
  • Revelation, chapter 21 : new heavens, new earth, new Jerusalem
  • Revelation 22:1-7 : the Lamb of God, and the River of Life
  • Revelation 22:8-21 : John's final testimony


Revelation 1:4 - at the time of the New Testament, "Asia" referred to what we now call "Asia Minor" - the western part of Turkey
Revelation 1:8 - Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega is the last
Revelation 1:9 - Patmos is a small rocky island off the coast of Asia Minor. It was used by the Romans as a penal colony, where prisoners were put to hard labor in the stone quarries
Revelation 1:11 - Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea were seven towns near one another in Asia Minor
Revelation 1:13 - The "Son of Man" was a Messianic title, reflecting the Daniel's vision of heaven - see Daniel 7:13-14
Revelation 2:6, 15 - the Nicolaitans seem to have been a sect which was involved in immoral sexual behavior and false teaching
Revelation 2:10 : - the Greek means "keep on being faithful"
Revelation 2:15 : - see Numbers, chapters 22:1 - 25:9. Although this account does not specifically say that Balaam told Balak to weaken the Israelites by sending women to seduce them and lead them to worship Baal, Jewish tradition holds that that is what happened
Revelation 2:17 : - the Greek word indicates a pebble used for voting - as if Jesus is voting for the person
Revelation 2:20 : the original Jezebel was a foreign queen of Israel who tried to make the people worship Baal - see 1 Kings 16:31-32 & 18:17 - 19:3
Revelation 3:14 : - "Amen" is a Hebrew word, meaning true, faithful, certain, you can depend upon it
Revelation 3:17 : - Laodicea was a wealthy city, and the Christians there had become corrupted by the prevailing attitude
Revelation 4:8 : - compare Isaiah 6:1-3
Revelation 6:6 : - the amounts of grain mentioned would be about enough to feed a man for one day
Revelation 6:8 : - compare Ezekiel 14:21
Revelation 8:11 : - wormwood is an exceedingly bitter herb
Revelation 9:11 : - Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek) both mean "the Destroyer"
Revelation 11:2-3 : - forty-two months, or 1,260 days, are both equal to three and a half years - see also Revelation 12:6, 12:14, 13:5, and Daniel 7:25, and 12:7. Three and a half is half of the "perfect number" 7, so may be of symbolic significance rather than an exact number of days.
Revelation 11:4 : - compare Zechariah 4:1-3, 11-14
Revelation 11:6 : - compare 1 Kings 17:1-16 & 18:41-46, and Exodus 7:14-24
Revelation 11:8 : - see Genesis 18:20-19:28
Revelation 14:20 : - 1,600 furlongs is about 180 miles
Revelation 16:16 : - "Har Megiddo" is Hebrew for Mount Megiddo. Megiddo is a fortress city overlooking the valley of Jezreel, where many major battles were fought in Old Testament times
Revelation 16:21 : - the weight of a talent varied between one culture and another, and also over time - it could have been between 57 and 130 pounds in weight
Revelation 17:5 : - The name "Babylon" probably did not refer to the ancient city in Mesopotamia, but was probably a code name used for Rome. To have written about Rome directly in this context would have carried a death-sentence for treason
Revelation 17:9 : - Rome was famous for being built upon seven hills
Revelation 20:8 : - Gog, of the land of Magog, was a leader of the nations against God - see Ezekiel 38:1 - 39:11
Revelation 20;11-12 : - compare Daniel 7:9-10
Revelation 22:2 : - see Genesis 2:8-9 & 3:22-24
Revelation 22:3 : - see Genesis 3:17

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