In this essay I will be explaining why the book of Revelation was written, and who it was written to, I will be discussing how Revelation can be interpreted. I will also be attempting to explain the four most common view points concerning its interpretation. These views are the Idealist Interpretation, Preterist (Past) Interpretation, the Historic Interpretation, and finally the Futuristic Interpretation. One day in about the year 95 A.D., a man named John had a vision from heaven. The book of Revelation is John's written record of that vision. John was said to be a Christian leader from a Jewish background who was exiled to the Roman prison island of Patmos. The book of Revelation has also been called The Revelation of John, or The Revelation of St. John the Divine. Revelation is an example of "apocalyptic" writing". The style of "apocalyptic writing" delivers a message using symbols, images and numbers. Some of the symbols and images in the book of Revelation compare the Roman emperor with the Devil and the ancient Roman Empire as the ultimate evil. John wrote Revelation to explain a crisis, when the seemingly all powerful Roman Empire was persecuting the Christians, because the Romans worshipped their Emperor instead of the one true God. The book of Revelation is also a prophecy from God. God gave John the spirit of prophecy which enabled him to see and write down what the Lord was showing him in a vision.
Revelation was written as a letter to be passed around among the seven Christian churches of Asia Minor, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. There had been several accounts of the persecution of Christians by the Roman authorities, and the vision that God had given to John was meant to encourage and give hope to the Christians in Asia Minor who were being persecuted. Assuring them that God was still in control, and that all evil whether it be the present persecution from the Roman Empire, or future hardships, would eventually be completely destroyed, and that their suffering had not been in vain.