The eagle of St John

THE APOCALYPSE: Prophecy and Witness


The Apocalypse or the book of Revelation has an important message for us today. Yet for many people, it is an unkown and so regarded with caution. The book expresses itself in a way which is unfamiliar to us.
We need therefore a map and a guide to make us familiar with this book and encourage us to understand what it is saying. Why indeed it is the last of the books of the New Testament.

My present intention is to use this page as a base to which I can attach articles about the Apocalypse in pdf format. These will not be guided reading as with the three Gospels. They will more like commentaries in style.

The origins of this project are that many years ago I wrote my dissertation on the Apocalypse as prophecy and witness. It was a good experience so that gave me a life long interest in this book.

The Apocalypse: opening comments

I follow Catholic Tradition and call this book The Apocalypse. The alternative, The Book of Revelation, is the Protestant title.

The most important resource for John, the author of this book was the Old Testament. This must be the starting point for our reading. There is everything there from direct quotations through to vague allusions. Spotting those is the essential first step to opening up this book. That this book is a re-reading of the Old Testament may be the reason the book made it into the New Testament. It was probably the last book to be accepted by the Church, around 400AD.

Traditionally, the book is seen as part of the writings of John the Apostles and evangelist. I have therefore used the eagle of St John as the image on this page.
However there is nothing in fact to link John the prophet with St John the apostle.

The Apocalypse: a prophecy

The book tells us it is a prophecy, similar to the prophets of the Old Testament. Like them, John is critical of the Churches. More importantly for him is the hope and encouragment he wished to give to small isolated Christian communities in the intolerant and oppressive world which was the Roman Empire.

As a prophecy, the final words of the book which are the final words of the New Testament, are "Come, Lord Jesus". This book points the Church down through the ages as it awaits the coming in glory of Jesus.
It thus complements the Old Testament prophets who also come at the end so that they point towards the first coming of Jesus.