The Book of Revelation and the Interpretation of the Three Angels

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The Book of Revelation and the Interpretation of the Three


The last of the Johannine writings and the last book of the New Testament

is the Apocalypse. Literally meaning "revelation", it is the strangest book of the

New Testament. It is written in such a difficult and complex style that many

otherwise devoted readers of the sacred texts are tempted to throw their hands in

despair. However, if one has some knowledge of the authors, their backgrounds,

situations, styles, and purpose, the Apocalypse turns out to be quite a fascinating

and rewarding piece of literature.

Apocalyptic literature, a very common and complex literary style, began to

emerge in Jewish circles around the time of the Babylonian Exile. Its development

was sparked by the need for a secrecy of communication during times of

persecution. Words of encouragement had to be relayed to the Jews to help them

retain their faith in God, despite attacks from militant paganism and attempts of

oppression. These words, intended for Jews alone, had to be cast in terms only

they could understand. If the pagans uncovered the real meanings of writings,

there would have been a savage retaliation, hence the dire need for a secret code.

Examples of Apocalyptic writings can be found in Is. 24-27 and Zach. 9-12.

Daniel is written for the most part in this style, as well as Ezechiel

Apocalyptic writing was also extremely popular with Christians. This

literary form came quite naturally to St. John, an early Christian deeply versed in

the writing of his people, sacred and otherwise. Credited as being one of the

authors of the Book of Revelation, John's work was a reflection of his own

suffering and hope for salvation. He, as were thousand of his fellow Christians,

was persecuted and oppressed. Christians were confused and...