The Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation


This contribution to The New International Commentary on the New Testament is a revision of Robert Mounce's original entry on the book of Revelation and reflects more than twenty additional years of mature thought and the latest in scholarship.


The book of Revelation is normally considered as belonging to a class of literature referred to as apocalyptic. the term “apocalypse” used to denote a literary genre is derived from Rev. 1:1, where it designates the supernatural unveiling of that which is about to take place. in contemporary discussion “apocalyptic” applies more broadly to a group of writings that flourished in the biblical world between 200 b.c. and a.d. 100 and to the basic concepts contained in those writings. While it is not possible to establish with any precision the exact boundaries of apocalyptic (it often verges off into other literary styles and conceptual modes), it is generally true that an apocalypse normally purports to be a divine disclosure, usually through a celestial intermediary to some prominent figure in the past, in which God promises to intervene in human history to bring times of trouble to an end and destroy all wickedness. the writers were

1. Thompson distinguishes between apocalypse (“a set of writings, a literature, that includes such works as Daniel, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, and the Book of Revelation”), apocalyptic eschatology (“a ‘religious perspective … that involves certain beliefs about the world and the place of humans in it”), and apocalypticism (“social aspects of apocalypses and transcendent eschatology”) (Revelation, 23).

2. Michaels writes that “many literary theorists have suggested that good, and especially great works never quite belong to a single genre. They are highly individual creations that expand the categories to the breaking point” (Interpreting the Book of Revelation, 31).

3. the sbl Genres Project defined apocalyptic as “a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial insofar as it involves another, supernatural world” (cited in J. Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 4). Rist defines apocalypticism as “the eschatological belief that the power of evil (Satan), who is now in control of this temporal and hopelessly evil age of human history in which the righteous are afflicted by

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