I’ve been wondering about something lately. I have been told by some Catholics that Revelation is simply an allegory, a way to tell people about the Gospel (disguised as a story), when Christians were persecuted harshly everywhere. And yet most Catholics (and it seems the Church leadership) take it seriously as what will happen in the end. Which is more correct or the official teaching?
I suggest you check out some of the things the *Catechism of the Catholic Church *says about what the last days in paragraphs 671-677.
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. Rev 1
6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.
7 “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 But he *said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”
10 And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Rev 22
Some things in the Book of Revelation have already occurred, some were contemporary to the time of writing, some are the sorts of things which will always be happening to Christians living in this world, and some of them are prophecies of future events at the very end.
It’s an interesting book. But you’ll definitely want to read Daniel and Ezekiel in order to study it.
The Book of Revelation was written to address the problem of emperor worship in Asia Minor.
Asia Minor was the center of emperor worship cults with many temples to the emperors. Christians were being ostracized, exiled, banned from commerce and even killed for refusing to worship the emperors. This is historical fact and the reason why the book was written. The message is very simple, that if you persevere to the end you will be saved.
All other meanings of the book flow from this.
What I know about Revelation agrees with the other members. It was used for a specific purpose to motivate Christians to remain faithful through persecution. The lesson being imparted is universal, though, and could be used for any time when there are persecutions and hardships and anti-Christs.
Also, I want to say, that Scott Hahn wrote an awesome book called ‘The Lamb’s Supper’
It is a great explanation of how the Book of Revelation is a description of the Divine Liturgy, (the Mass). It’s CRAZY! If you read it, you will never look at mass the same way again.
This is from the introduction of the Book of Revelation from "The Didache Bible:'
'Revelation belongs to the category of apocalyptic literature, and its literary devices, symbolic language, and imagery make it difficult to interpret. Directed toward a people suffering persecution, its message ultimately was one of hope and encouragement to persevere because the present trials and tribulations will pass, and justice and righteousness will prevail in the end. This message is still applicable today since we know Christ will ultimately vanquish all evil and draw his faithful people into God’s heavenly kingdom.
The complexity of the book lends itself to several layers of interpretation. It can be seen as a reflection of the historical challenges facing the Church at the end of the first century and a reassurance to the persecuted Christians that their Roman persecutors and their emperor, who claimed divinity for himself, would not reign for long. It can also be interpreted as taking a longer view of Church history, both in the past and the future, showing how the Church of the New Covenant will prosper in the wake of the definitive end of the Old Covenant. It can be read as symbolic of all salvation history or simply of the struggles between good and evil that will face the Church in every age; and it can be viewed as a prophecy of the end of time, the Second Coming of Christ, and the events that must take place.
The Book of Revelation is a mystery that leads to still greater mysteries, and as always it is best to read it in the light of the authoritative teachings of the Church and the totality of Scripture and Tradition.’