People like to speculate about the Book of Revelation. It has suffered much at the hands of its readers. If you are interested in the symbols of Revelation, I recommend Stafford North’s Unlocking Revelation: Seven Simple Keys. But there are a number of ways to get a handle on Revelation’s message. I think if you grasp the seven letters to the churches of Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3, you have a pretty good idea what the book is about. Revelation contains seven beatitudes (1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, and 22:14). If you understand these beatitudes, I think you have a pretty good idea of the message of the book. But there is even another way.
The sixth beatitude in Revelation reads: “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7, ESV). This beatitude says the book is about doing. Revelation contains 96 commands, but most of those have to do with the dramatic action of the visions. If we narrow the list down to those commands that have application to all Christians, the list is shorter.
- Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. 2:5
- Do not fear what you are about to suffer. 2:10
- Be faithful unto death…. 2:10
Therefore, repent. 2:16
- Only hold fast what you have until I come. 2:25
- Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die… 3:2
- Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. 3:3
- Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 3:11
- … so be zealous and repent. 3:19
- And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 14:7
- Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” 18:20
- And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” 19:5
- Worship God. 19:10, 22:9 (with the implication worship God only)
- Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. 22:11
Read Revelation and pay particular attention to the commands. If you practice these commands, I think you understand the message of Revelation. Jesus and John want us to do the Book of Revelation.