The Book of REVELATION is an “apocalypse” or a revelation by Jesus Christ about the near future events in the time of the 1st century audience to which is was written. It is written by John to the seven churches in Asia, while he was a prisoner on the island called Patmos near Ephesus (Rev. 1:1; 1:9-l 1).
In the REVELATION, Jesus told the churches that the unbelieving Jews were not really “true Jews.” They said they were, but were not. They were unbelieving Jews, who rejected the Messiah Jesus. His “true Jews” were those who were Jews inwardly by faith in Christ.
“9Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who SAY THEY ARE JEWS AND ARE NOT, BUT LIE—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world (Greek = Oikoumene. Diaspora of Jews throughout the Roman Empire), TO TEST THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH” (Greek = Ge, meaning: Land, re: Israel) (Rev. 3:9-10).
The REVELATION BOOK was written in c.AD 62 before the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred during Christ’s second coming Parousia in AD 66-70. It was written while the temple was still standing before it was completely destroyed in AD 70.
“1 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and MEASURE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, the altar, and those who worship there. 2But leave out THE COURT which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been GIVEN TO THE GENTILES. And they will tread the holy city underfoot FOR FORTY-TWO MONTHS.” (3 ½ years. Time, times, and half a time.) (Rev. 11:1-2).
The Roman armies trampled the city of Jerusalem and the courts outside the temple during the three and one-half years of the Jewish-Roman war ending in AD 70.
When the REVELATION BOOK was written the ruling Emperor of Rome was Domitius Nero. He was born on December 15, AD 37. He became Emperor in AD 54 at the age of seventeen. He was an extremely brutal and evil ruler. He ordered the execution of his brother (Britannicus) and the death of his own mother (Agrippina), who was a scheming woman. He also murdered his 19-year old wife so he could marry his mistress (Poppaea Sabina), who was possibly a Jewish proselyte. Nero then later killed her in AD 65 and he was no longer sympathetic to the Jews.
Nero set Rome on fire in AD 64, blaming it on the Christians. He brought extreme persecutions of torture and death upon the Christians. The Neronic persecutions against Christians began in AD 62-63 and intensified to the utmost between AD 64-66 (The Great Tribulation). Not many weeks after the May AD 66 rapture of the Christians, Eleazar b. Ananias stopped the daily sacrifices for the Gentiles (including Nero), which in effect was declaring war against Rome. Nero then turned his hate and persecutions against the Jews as preparations began for war. The Jewish Zealots intensified their rebellion against Roman rule and the war against Israel officially started in AD 67.
In Mid-AD 63, Peter was already referring to the church in Jerusalem as the church in “Babylon,” as he wrote to the saints: “She (Church) who is in “Babylon” (Jerusalem), elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.” (1 Pet. 5:13).
The city of Jerusalem was destroyed in the vision of John (Rev. 14:8; 18:2). He described it as the “GREAT CITY, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5). God’s wrath was poured out on Jerusalem resulting in its total desolation (Rev. 16-17).
The REVELATION BOOK describes the final judgments which would begin first with the faithful believers (the house of God) (1 Pet. 4:17). The Great Neronic Tribulation on the church culminated the separating of the “sheep from the goats” (wheat from the tares), and purified the remaining living genuine believers whom Christ rescued/raptured from this visible world to be with Him in the spiritual realm (aer) at His Parousia on the night of Pentecost May 30 AD 66. Those remaining living believers were rescued out of that present danger and coming wrath of God upon Jerusalem and the covenant breaking Hebrew people. They were changed in the twinkling of an eye to the unseen realm (raptured) where they joined all the faithful believing souls which had been RESURRECTED out of Hades/Sheol, and they would be caught together with them where they all would receive their individual perfect immortal heavenly bodies to meet Christ in the aer of the unseen realm to forever be with Him and to later enter the visible presence of God in the New heavenly Jerusalem forever.
The JUDGMENTS of AD 66-70 would also be on Babylon (“That great city” Old Covenant Jerusalem “where our Lord was crucified.” Rev. 11:8) and the remaining nation of Israel which would culminate with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The FINAL/GENERAL RESURRECTION would also be completed for all of the dead unbelievers (Rev. 20:12-13). Their souls would be raised out of Hades/Sheol and all would be found guilty of being unrighteous, rebellious, and unredeemed sinners, and would be sentenced to the Lake of Fire for eternity according to their wages of sin (Rev. 20:13, 15; Rom. 6:23a).
Human history would continue forever. Death (The Death Angel) and Hades (the pre-resurrection waiting place) would be cast into the Lake of Fire in AD 70 (Rev. 20:14). From AD 70 onward, upon their deaths, every faithful believer now would receive their new immortal, perfect, individual heavenly body and go directly to heaven, and every unbeliever would be judged for his/her wages of sin and go directly to the Lake of Fire forever.
The REVELATION BOOK tells us when Christ would return at His second coming (Parousia), which would be soon, at hand, shortly, and quickly in the first century AD.
“1The REVELATION of Jesus Christ’ which God gave Him to show His servants— THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” (Rev. 1:1).
“11Behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11).
“10And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is AT HAND.” (Rev. 22:10).
“20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I AM COMING QUICKLY.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study on the entire book of Revelation see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 1 thru 10”]