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Who wrote the book of Revelation? Who was the author of Revelation?

author of Revelation

The book of Revelation is the final book in the New Testament and brings the entire Bible to a close. Revelation derives its title from the Greek word apokalypsis, related to our word apocalypse, and translated “revelation.” The word signifies the unveiling of something as yet unseen. Revelation encapsulates events leading to the promised new heaven and earth. While Revelation has sparked considerable debate over how to best interpret it, its main purpose is not for arguments. The book aims at challenging and encouraging persecuted believers. It envisions a future where God will dwell among His people, erasing pain, suffering, and the broken order (Revelation 21:3–4).

The author identifies himself in the opening line, stating, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John” (Revelation 1:1). John further emphasizes his authorship within the text (Revelation 1:4, 9; 22:8). Additionally, early church figures like Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Clement of Alexandria attribute the eschatological text to John.

‬‬ John penned the book of Revelation around AD 95 while on the Island of Patmos. According to Christian tradition, John was the only disciple not martyred. After unsuccessful attempts to kill him, he was exiled to the island. He originally wrote the book in Koine Greek. Revelation is classified as apocalyptic literature, but it blends elements from various genres. Its salutation aligns with the epistles, but it also uses apocalyptic symbols and carries prophetic undertones. The use of symbols and obscure imagery renders Revelation challenging to interpret. The difficulty is made more evident by the absence of a parallel genre in modern times.

Modern scholars often express skepticism regarding Johannine authorship, citing the ambiguity concerning the popular name “John.” Some prefer to attribute authorship to an unknown “John of Patmos,” while others settle for anonymity. However, John the Apostle stands out as a prominent figure in early Christianity. He would not have required further clarification in using his name. The salutation also makes anonymous claims unlikely. Coupled with external attestations, it’s reasonable to conclude that John the Apostle wrote the book of Revelation.

The book of Revelation intimidates and perplexes many modern readers due to its imagery and emphasis on ultimate judgment. Nonetheless, it paints a vivid picture of paradise regained and earth renewed. We may not fully grasp God’s present activities in a broken world, but we know the end is both perfect justice and a return to Eden.

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Who wrote the book of Revelation? Who was the author of Revelation?
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This page last updated: April 2, 2024