Apocalypse 22.1-7; Ps 94; Lk 21.34-36
The final days of the church’s liturgical year direct our attention to the final book of the Bible, called the Apocalypse (derived from the Greek word for ‘revelation’ or ‘uncovering’, the first word of the book). This book may have been written by the same St John the Apostle and Evangelist traditionally credited with writing the fourth Gospel and three New Testament epistles; however, as early as the second century careful readers have noted divergence in vocabulary and style between these works and the Apocalypse and have considered this last book to be the work of a different author, often called ‘John the Divine’ (that is, ‘Seer’).
He was exiled to the island of Patmos [Apoc 1.9] during the persecution of the Emperor Domitian (reg. 81-96). There he was accorded a series of visions on the Lord’s Day (that is, Sunday) which he was commanded to send as a letter to seven churches of Asia Minor (the Roman province which is roughly the modern nation of Turkey).
Christians in Roman Asia were clearly suffering for their withdrawal from, and defiance of, larger Roman society. The Apocalypse presents ultimate reality as a victory over this suffering, the imperial city of Rome being equated with the ancient city of Babylon that had held ancient Israel in captivity until Babylon itself was conquered.