Who was the author? Revelation was written by the beloved disciple, the apostle and evangelist John, the brother of James and fellow son of Zebedee and co-"son of thunder", a Jew who also wrote the Gospel according to St. John, and the letters known as 1, 2, and 3 John.
What is the book? The book of Revelation may be regarded as a letter, or epistle, that begins with seven short letters to specific congregations but primarily consists of a letter to the church at large detailing a revelation from the Lord Jesus to St. John, given in highly apocalyptic imagery.
Where was it written? The book may have been written while John was in Ephesus before John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he is held to have died of natural causes.
When was it written? The church father Irenaeus says the book was written near the end of the reign of the emperor Domitian's reign, so we might date the book around 95-96 A.D., making it the last canonical New Testament book to have been written.
Why? In addition to revealing Jesus Christ as the only Savior from sin, the book of Revelation especially comforts the Church, troubled by false teachers and persecuted by the world ("church" and "state") in these latter days, and calls Her to prepare for the Lord's final coming.
How? Written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Revelation accomplishes its purposes of strengthening and comforting the saints by painting various scenes of the difficulties the Church must experience but essentially concluding each with a picture of the Church triumphing by faith in Christ and joining in His eternal worship and leading Her to pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!"
For further reading on the book of Revelation:
- Brighton, Louis A. Revelation, Concordia Commentary: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture, eds. Jonathan F. Grothe et. al. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. (A relatively recent and scholarly, though accessible, commentary.)
- Poellot, Luther. Revelation: An Explanation of the Last Book in the Bible. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing Hosue, 1962. (A very accessible though a bit dated treatment.)