The Purpose of the Book of Revelation compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
The original purpose of the Book of Revelation is NOT to scare people, NOR to predict future calamities (that will supposedly be fulfilled in our own day and age), BUT RATHER to encourage Christians of the late first century (and all later eras too!) to persevere in their faith despite and in the midst of trials and tribulations!
Note how often the words “patient endurance” (Gk hypomonē) and “to hold fast” (Gk kratein) and “to keep” (Gk tērein) appear in this book:
1:9 – “I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island
called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
2:1-3 – “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks
among the seven golden lampstands: / “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate
evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. / I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary.”
2:13-16 – “I know where you are living, where Satan's throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in
me even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. / But I have a few things
against you: you have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of
Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication. / So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the
2:19 – “I know your works--your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first.”
2:25 – “…only hold fast to what you have until I come.”
3:10-11 – “Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole
world to test the inhabitants of the earth. / I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
13:10 – “If you are to be taken captive, into captivity you go; if you kill with the sword, with the sword you must be killed. Here is a call for
the endurance and faith of the saints.”
14:12 – “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.”
22:7 – “See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Note also all the promises made to “those who conquer” (Gk nikan), especially (but not only) in the "seven letters" near the beginning of the book:
2:7 – Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to
eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.
2:11 – Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the
2:17 – Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the
hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who
2:26 – To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end, I will give authority over the nations;
3:5 – If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your
name before my Father and before his angels.
3:12 – If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God,
and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
3:21 – To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on
5:5 – Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he
can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6:2 – I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.
11:7 – When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,
12:11 – But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in
the face of death.
13:7 – Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. It was given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation,
15:2 – And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the
number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.
17:14 – they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him
are called and chosen and faithful.”
21:7 – Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
CONTEXTUAL HISTORY: Roman Emperors in the New Testament Era: