The book of Revelation is the last book in the Christian bible. As Esposito, Fasching, and Lewis explain, the book is believed to have been written by a man identified as John (136). Christians believe that John wrote the book after he received visions while on the Island of Patmos. Despite being written out of visions, the Book of Revelation provokes controversy among Christians as there is no consensus on how it should be read or applied in Christianity. Over the years, the Book of Revelation has provoked both fear and hope among the Christian faithful as they try to understand its complex symbolic visions.
While most parts of the New Testament focus on the birth, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the book of Revelation talks about the second coming of the lord. According to Esposito et al., Revelation predicts that the end time is coming, a time when Jesus will come back (136). The book details that the first 1000 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus were to be marked by peace on earth. However, this period was to be followed by a period of fierce battle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. The battle would lead to the defeat of the satanic forces after which a New Jerusalem will come to the earth. This is the moment when Jesus Christ will come back to the earth, raise the dead, and end all the suffering.
The controversy surrounding the book of Revelation did not just start with the modern Christianity as even the ancient churches questioned its genuineness. As Esposito et al. elaborates, many communities in the ancient Eastern Greek-speaking Christianity had rejected the book. The early Christians did not think that the book was a true revelation. However, the Latin churches of the European Christianity later accepted the book as part of the Christian bible but some Christians across the world still continued to doubt the book. In as late as the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther still expressed reservation about the book f Revelation.
Among the controversies in the book of Revelation is in its possible interpretation, given that the book is written in symbolism. Esposito et al. notes that Christians are not sure on whether the book is supposed to be read literally or symbolically (137). The book uses mysterious symbols to relate and describe scenarios. Some symbols are, however, scaring and provokes fear among the readers.
In addition to questioning the possible meaning of the indirect imagery and symbols used in the book of Revelation, some Christians have also challenged the authenticity of the message communicated by the book. Notably, some themes advanced in the book of revelation such as the prediction of the second coming of Jesus Christ contrasts the ideas developed by the other books in the new Testament. Esposito et al. cites an example of Jesus’ own sentiments in Mathew 24: 36 where he allegedly said that no one knows when he will come back (137). According to the author of Mathew, even Jesus himself did not have an idea about his second coming, only God himself knows. Yet, the author of Revelation gives the people signs to watch out to know the end time is approaching. Based on Revelation, many generations of Christians have believed that Jesus was about to come based on what they observe in their own time. However, it remains uncertain on whether the predictions given in the book of Revelation are anything to believe in or whether to believe in the book of Mathew that no one can really know the time when Jesus will come back.
In conclusion, the book of Revelation is the last of the 27 books in the New Testaments. While most of the other books in the new testament focus on the life and gospel of Jesus Christ, the book of Revelation reveals what will be expected just before and during the second coming of Jesus. The book is written using symbolism, provoking questions in whether Christians are supposed to take its literal meaning or should attempt to interpret the symbols. Historically, Christians have questioned the sincerity of the book of Revelation, with some Christian groups rejecting the book all together. However, other readers have been convinced by the book and tend to think that they were living in the end time as predicted in Revelation.
Esposito, John, Darrell Fasching, and Todd Lewis. Word Religions Today. 2018. Oxford University Press