The untold truth of the Book of Revelation: Exegesis-II
Contribution: Catholic Bishops Commission for Catechetics
Translation: Suzanna Joseph
Earlier we learnt about the author and the title of the Book of Revelation. Now we study the recipients of the book.
It is written in the Book of Revelation that the real readers of this book were the Christian believers of the seven churches in Asia. Christ, who is the Alpha and Omega. Who was and who is to come, had instructed Saint John the Apostle, “It said, “Write down what you see, and send the book to the churches in these seven cities: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:11)
Saint John the Apostle wrote himself; “From John to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace be yours from God, who is, who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits in front of his throne,” (Revelation 1:4) Predominantly these are letters of instruction from Jesus Christ to the seven churches. The message in these letters is read by the addressee.
In, the time of our apostles there were thirty-six provinces in the Roman Empire. Asia, present day West Turkey, was a province of the Roman Empire. Ephesus was the capital of this province. Roman provinces in Asia were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. At the time these places were of great significance. As the apostles preached the Good News many small congregations had already been established. Mostly the believers in these places were Greek speaking Jews, Christians and converts. Recollect that these seven churches were not independent. Instead, Christian believers in these small congregations were a part of the main Church. If we spread the message from Ephesus leading up to Laodicea, it is interesting that the order in which the places have been organized in the book also fall topographically in the same order. “Happy is the one who reads this book, and happy are those who listen to the words of this prophetic message and obey what is written in this book! For the time is near when all these things will happen.” (Revelation 1:3) “I, John, solemnly warn everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: if any add anything to them, God will add to their punishment the plagues described in this book. And if any take anything away from the prophetic words of this book, God will take away from them their share of the fruit of the tree of life and of the Holy City, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
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