The last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, is probably one of the richest books in the entire Bible, but one that many Christians struggle with the most because of the symbolism and language that St. John uses.
In the time before Jesus there was a popular kind of Jewish writing called Apocalyptic writing (AW). This writing had several characteristics including:
- It dealt with the subject of the last age of the world when good triumphs over evil
- It made much use of symbolism taken from the animal kingdom, astrology, numbers, etc.
- AW doesn't use an author's name, but one of a celebrated persona
- AW conceives of this world as being of Satan and incapable of regeneration. Therefore the most that man can hope for is a new world that he can pray for.
- AW has determinism. That is, that there is very little room for personal freedom or conversion.What is, is.
Fr. Barron has some great comments about how we ought to read The Book of Revelation: