Introduction to the Apocalypse----
Though the author of 1 Peter (2:13ff) and Paul (Romans 13) both talk about the merits and responsibility
to “honor the emperor” and “be subject to the authority and the government.” That was/is not always an
easy thing to do. This was especially true at the time of the writing of 1 Peter and, later, the Apocalypse.
Persecution of Christians by the government was rampant, and yet, the author of 1 Peter stated that
Christians are to do what is right even when oppressed by the government (emperor) and by masters if
you are a slave/servant. He writes this to encourage them in their suffering and reminds his readers that
Christ suffered and was abused unjustly. Therefore, Christians are to follow Christ’s example, for there
is no credit or reward to obey only when treated well. The true test is when treated unfairly. This is a lot
easier to say than do, but it is the example toward which to strive.
While times were tough after the persecution of Christians by Nero, they became more difficult late in
the first century CE (AD). It is during these traumatic times that the Apocalypse to John is written.
Before looking at the dates and what was occurring, we will look first at some characteristics of
First, the word “apocalypse” means “to reveal or unveil,” hence our word “Revelation.”
also note that it is the “Apocalypse to John” not “of John.” This was given to the author and was not his
own concoction. Also, most of the time people think that “Revelation” or the Apocalypse is meant to tell
us literally how and when the world will end. As a result of this “misunderstanding,” some authors and
evangelists have gotten rich off of their interpretation, which may not really be even “in the ballpark.”
For example, Hal Lindsey wrote a book in the 1970’s entitled The Late, Great Planet Earth in which he
claimed to tell readers how, when and who would be each beast and nation at the end of the world,
according to his interpretation of Revelation, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Some years later, when his prediction
didn’t pan out, he wrote a sequel to explain how he had misunderstood some things. Both of these sold
millions of copies and earned him a great deal of money. Yet, Jesus said in Acts 1 that only God knows,
NOT US. There are many others who have done similar things, which often take away the true
emphasis. The primary message of ANY apocalypse is a message of hope for people in desperate times.
Though it may look like the bad guys are going to win, God will overcome them and reward those who
remain loyal. Therefore, remain steadfast and hopeful in your life with God, even unto death.
What of other characteristics of Apocalyptic? Apocalyptic books are often written under a pseudonym or