Revelation is about Hope

"This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; ... I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God's Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus." {Revelation 1:4, 9 NLT}

Revelation was written around 95 ad by the Apostle John while he was in exile on the island of Patmos.  It is a letter written to the seven churches in Asia Minor and by extension to the entire church body.  It is a letter written to a persecuted, suffering church.  Emperor Nero is infamous for his persecution of the church during his reign from 54 to 68 ad, during which time he executed both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul.  Emperor Domitian also persecuted the church during his reign from 81 to 96 ad.  It was Domitian who had the Apostle John boiled in oil and exiled to Patmos.  Roman persecution would continue even after this book was written with Emperor Trajan ruling from 98 to 117 ad.

Revelation is a scary book written during a scary time in church history.  In its pages it describes global famine and disease, natural disasters that will kill billions, worldwide persecution that will make Hitler look like a walk in the park, even demon armies set loose upon mankind, all of which occurring during a seven year period.

While Revelation predicts a troubled future, it is not a book about war or death or evil or judgment or persecution.  It contains all those topics but that is not what the book is about.  Revelation is about Jesus and Revelation is about hope.

Yes, the emperor has tortured and exiled John, but God is still on the throne.  Yes, Rome is slaughtering our fellow believers, burning them like candles and feeding them alive to wild dogs and lions, but Jesus is coming soon.  Yes, it is bad for the church right now and will get worse in future, but God is still in control and Jesus is still on His way and when He comes He will right the wrongs inflicted on His people, He will judge those who oppose Him and comfort those who serve Him.

"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."" {Revelation 21:3-4 NLT}

“I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right.”  -Billy Graham

The Bible is a collection of 66 books that tells one consistent story; Jesus is king, savior and the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  The story of the Bible is the history of mankind.  It begins with the creation and the fall and ends with forgiveness or judgment for each individual and creation is reborn in fire.

Revelation ties all the themes of the Bible together and gives a striking contrast between the first three and last three chapters of the Bible.

Talk Thru the Bible page 515

In Revelation, the four Biblical covenants are fulfilled.  The Israelites receive the entirety of the Promised Land (Abrahamic covenant, Genesis 12-17, Revelation 20:1-6).  The law will judge and remove sin forever (Mosaic covenant, Romans 2, Revelation 20:12).  David will rule over Israel in Jerusalem and Jesus will rule over the world from New Jerusalem (Davidic covenant, 2 Samuel 7:9-17, Ezekiel 34:22-24, Revelation 21).  The church, as the bride of Christ, will be in the presence of Jesus forever (New Covenant Luke 22:20, Revelation 19).

Revelation is a dramatic interplay between heaven and earth.  God is on the throne of creation and Satan is on earth deceiving mankind and uselessly struggling against the will of God.  Divine judgment is interspersed with songs and declarations for the character and works of God as He purifies creation, wipes out sin and death, restores creation to perfection, rewards those who have trusted Him and removes those who have rejected Him.