Q&A: What type of Literature is the Book of Revelation?

What type of Literature is the Book of Revelation?

Question

We are studying the Book of Revelation and have many questions. What type of literature is this book considered?

Answer

The Book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature (AP), which deals with prophetic literature of the end times. The English word "apocalypse" comes from the Greek verb apokalypto, meaning to reveal, disclose, or to make known. So, apocalyptic literature is literature that makes known that which is unknown.

Like Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah, the book of Revelation contains many symbolic events. It communicates in large part by using imagery like wool, snow, bronze furnace, and "out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword" (Rev. 1:13-16). It combines visions of the future with exhortations to covenant faithfulness (see exhortation to the churches in Rev. 2-3). It is a poetic tapestry meant to nourish the seven churches of the province of Asia (Rev. 1:1). However, the word "seven" represents completeness (cf. the seven days of creation in Gen. 1). Thus the book is addressed to the "complete church," and it is addressed to us today.

For more notes please see:

Outline of the Book of Revelation

Reference:

IIIM Seminary Study Bible

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).