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The Book of Revelation: Prophetic Visions - or the Paranoid Ravings of a Mad Man?

Updated on October 3, 2010

The Final Call

“Behold, I am coming soon, to repay everyone for what he has done, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first, and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:12)

These mesmerizing words of warning are more than two thousand years old but when read or heard, they still cause fear and trembling in the minds of 21st century man. They are the words found in the last, and for many - the most dangerous book of the Bible – the bloody, end-time Apocalypse known as “The Revelation”.

In a series of strange and powerful visions the book of Revelation foretells the story of God’s final judgment on humanity and the terrible annihilation of all life on earth. Its most dreadful symbols are described as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, representing Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. Millions of believers are confident that the book of Revelation is the inspired word of God, given to His saint as a warning to mankind to get their spiritual act together or suffer the ultimate consequences. While non believers think the book is nothing more than the paranoid ravings of mad men seeking revenge against their oppressors who in the absence of military power, had as their only true defense visions and hopes for a spiritual condemnation on their enemies. Visions brought on by hatred, fear, and the need for revenge..

The book of Revelation is a series of letters written to seven churches during the first century of the Common Era. It contains dark, nightmarish images predicting a bloody, merciless end of the world. In 1993 the tragic confrontation between the FBI and the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas stunned the United States and proved that despite its ancient origins the book of Revelation is still a powerful force today. So what is the true origin of this book that holds so many modern minds in its ancient powerful grip, and why do millions still believe that its terrifying visions might someday come true? And finally, who was the author, or authors of this apocalyptic writing and what were their mind sets?

Theologians gives the authorship of this remarkable book to one man who is just as much a mystery as the book itself. The writer is recognized as a visionary known only as John. Traditional thinking suggests that this was John the Apostle, the same John who wrote the Gospel of John. However, most biblical scholars today, after comparing the difference in theology and writing styles between the book of John and the book of Revelation, have concluded that the Book of Revelation was written by another John – but who? If not John the Apostle then perhaps it was St. John the Divine? Careful analysis of this theory and literary style has convinced other biblical scholars that it was neither John the Baptist or St. John the Divine. They linked the content of Revelation to the contents of the Book of Daniel which was written over two hundred years earlier and have concluded that Revelation may have been written by Daniel and handed down through time. Another possible author could have been one of the rebellious leaders of Judea, while fleeing Roman persecution visited John on the Island of Patmos to get John’s support on his visions for revenge against the Romans. John then blessed the visions and they were published as a series of letters as warnings to the seven churches perhaps persuading them to take a stand against Roman persecution or suffer the ultimate consequences. Other biblical scholars think the original author was an ancient Persian Prophet named Zoroaster ( has intrigued historians for decades. Centuries before the history of Jews and Christians, even before the time of Daniel, Zoroaster predicted final battles between good and evil ending in a final judgment on the earth which was to be harsh and bloody - similar to the book of Revelation.

Is the book of Revelation a timeless moral drama written by a mad man or is it truly a ghastly blueprint depicting the end of time? Why do these men predict a bloody, violent end when the teaching on the second coming of Christ suggests a peaceful return? Could it be that the second coming is an aftermath of the events described in the book of Revelation?

Despite the originators of the book of Revelation or their mind set, it has been accepted by biblical scholars as well as humanity that God was, and is, the ultimate source of all that is in the book. Whether the visions originated centuries before the birth of John or was in fact, given to John on the Island of Patmos is irrelevant. Biblical scholars of Christian doctrine all agree that the inspiration originated from God, and was given to Jesus Christ, who then delivered it by "His angel" to John the Apostle who was being held as a prisoner by the Romans on The Island of Patmos some time after 90 AD. John then addressed the writings to The Seven Churches of Asia, as instructed by God in Revelation 1:11.

Whatever one’s conclusion regarding its origin, or its author, the ancient visions of the book of Revelation lives on and has been accepted as the blue print for mankind’s final stand on earth. The book is a moving plea for compassion and love - and a bitter cry for vengeance and annihilation. After more than two thousand years there are no signs that humanity will ever lose its fascination with the Bible’s final book – or that we will ever know who truly wrote this book. Nor will we ever be able to unravel its apocalyptic messages. However, even in the absence of hard core evidence, mature Christians have no doubt about the books authenticity, or its author. Their source of confidence is found in the book of 2 Corinthians 5:7 which suggests that…………

“We walk by Faith – and not by sight”

Peace be with you!


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    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 8 years ago from United States of America

      opinion duck - I think you're right on track with the intent of the hub. In the absence of truth the believer is left with is faith.

    • profile image

      opinion duck 8 years ago


      I am two months late on this comment but the hub is enticing me to comment.

      As a background for my comments on this hub, I went to a Catholic elementary school and pretty much followed the rules. It was comforting to think that someone knew the road to Heaven. If I followed the road, I would get to Heaven. If I deviated from the road, I would go to Purgatory or Hell.

      As I grew older, questions and doubts would arise that weren't answered satisfactorily. I also never questioned Santa Claus, but one day the ugly truth came out.

      I was impressed with Catholic Priests and Nuns giving their lives to God. This seemed to connect human life with God, but as we know today priests don't necessarily make good baby sitters.

      Catholics then didn't have Bibles, they were given Missals. These Missals had all the religion that you need to know about. Catechism was the entire religious world, it had all that your needed to know to serve God.

      The truth appears to be that neither the Bible or the Missal had real answers. For example, Genesis doesn't have real answers about the universe or even our Solar System. If Copernicus had implicit Faith in the Church and its teachings we would have still believed that the Sun revolves around the Earth.

      Is the Bible a real account of the world and God, or is it a story like that of Santa Claus. Their messages are similar, do good and be rewarded, do bad and be punished. The rewards and the punishment are different, but that is just a matter of degree.

      BTW, I have a difficult time trying to relax and not question plots in movies.

      A parting thought, it has been said that our brains are computing machines that process everything to a solution. If they cannot process the real solution, they will make up a solution, just so the brain can stop processing and move onto the next problem. I believe that FAITH provides such a solution.

      I hope that I didn't misinterpret the intent of this hub.


    • Carrie Bradshaw profile image

      Carrie Bradshaw 8 years ago from Manhattan

      Praise God. Love you guys!

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 8 years ago from United States of America

      Thanks for the response Carrie. I think it's amazing how a book written centuries ago could have forseen future events to such exact specifications. I believe the end time writing is on the wall but we view it as grafitti and ignore it. I also believe John was the inspired author, however I am more concerened about its content than the author.

      I think your analysis of Anna's baby fit quite well in explaining the 21st century attitude towards end time events.

    • Carrie Bradshaw profile image

      Carrie Bradshaw 8 years ago from Manhattan

      Hi jxb! I enjoyed the hub and your perspective. Because all the books of the Bible identify the writer, I do believe the book of Revelation was written by John, and we know he was in a severe physical and spiritual state of mind when the Revelation ocurred, which might explain the difference in prose.

      Our fascination with Revelation is growing daily as we see the "birth pangs" Jesus told us would happen, as we watch the one-world government come to fruition. We are definitely getting closer!! Kind of like everyone's happy while Anna is pregnant, but as soon as she goes into labor, everyone pays attention, right up till the baby's birth! Good hub!

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 9 years ago from United States of America

      Single Mama: Sounds great! You've inspired me to re-read the book with a different approach. Congrats on acing the test.

    • Single Mama profile image

      Single Mama 9 years ago

      I think Ephesians was awesome. Reiterated to me how important relationshiops are with friends/family/people. I enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure I aced my final. I also liked how it emphasized the importance of prayer.

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 9 years ago from United States of America

      Thanks for the feedback scott - I believe that John the Baptist wrote the book but whomever authored it I believe the powerful visions were inspired by God and are currently in effect.

      Have a good one!

    • scottaye73 profile image

      scottaye73 9 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I like this hub jxb! This was very well written and I like your approach. I have studied the Bible, but did not know that Daniel could possibly be an author of Revelations. Thanks for writing this, and I hope you have a great day. ~ Scott

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 9 years ago from United States of America

      So do I.  I am one of those people who like to challenge the Bible looking for more information, more truth.  However, no matter what I find I always come back to one important fact - the Bible is the inspired word of God!

      Best wishes on your finals - I know you're going to max it!  So, what do you think about the book on Ephesians?!  If I am not mistaken the book was written by the apostle Paul addressed to wealthy believers in Ephesus who did not know they were wealthy. As a result they were living like religious gypsies.

    • Single Mama profile image

      Single Mama 9 years ago

      I believe everything/every book in the Bible is inspired by the word of God. I take my final for my Ephesians class this Saturday. I enjoyed it.

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 9 years ago from United States of America

      jacobt2: Thanks for the feedback.

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 9 years ago from United States of America

      Everyday Miracles: The Book of Revelation is definitely not for the faint of heart. Like yourself, I am an ardent student of Revelation. What people don't realized is that the actions of the four horesemen are actually in effect today and their warnings are very clear.

      Thanks for the comments!

    • profile image

      jacobt2 9 years ago

      very good and helpful insight

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      This is my favorite book of the Bible. My husband thinks that I am strange for this being the case, but I believe that Revelation truly gives us much of what we need to live as moral Christian people. The first four chapters are very significant to me.

      Thank you for writing this. I enjoyed the fact that you left the conclusion open-ended for the reader to draw their own conclusions.

      I truly enjoy your hubs and am glad to be a fan! I can't wait to keep reading, and will read the one you recommended to einron next!

    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 9 years ago from United States of America

      Thanks einron - I am an ardudent student of the Book of Daniel and Revelation and yet, I learn something new everytime I read the two books.

      Read my article titled "What do you do when you've done all you can" I wold appreciate your feedback.

      God bless

    • einron profile image

      einron 9 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Well written. Thanks for your explanation.


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