· The whole book of Revelation is one letter.
· That letter was to be taken by a courier and read out aloud in churches along a road that ran from Ephesus to Laodicea. The author was very familiar with each of the churches.
· Those Christians were experiencing intense persecution.
· The letter was designed to encourage these first-century Christians to “overcome”. It told them that the end was imminent (“soon”) and they had to remain faithful, to the point of being prepared to losing their lives.
· John had gone to Patmos in order to compose (“receive”) the message. He put his words into the mouth of Jesus, and others.
· Very cleverly, John employed the lurid imagery of apocalyptic writing in order to support the Christians while at the same time using the symbolism to hide the messages from their persecutors. This technique had been used by the 2nd century BCE writer of the Book of Daniel when Antiochus Epiphanes was persecuting Jews. John relied heavily on the Book of Daniel.
· None of John’s expectations came to pass. He got it all wrong
John did not write the Apocalypse in order to provide a detailed time-table of events that would unfold thousands of years in the future. Instead, John wrote to affect and move his hearers at the end of the first century, to motivate them to reject idolatrous compromise with the surrounding cultural and political institutions and to overcome through repentance, worship, witness, perseverance, and obedience.