“The book of the Bible called Revelation was originally a letter written in the first century by a man named John while living in exile on the island of Patmos to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia (Revelation 1:4). Ancient and modern interpreters have typically dated Revelation to the reigns of Nero (AD 54–68) or Domitian (AD 81–96). Many readers struggle with or misinterpret Revelation because they misunderstand its literary genre. The initial verses indicate that this work belongs to three kinds of ancient literature: apocalypse, prophecy, and epistle, each of which is important for considering the sort of book Revelation is and how we should interpret it.
For many Evangelical Christians who believe the end of the world is coming soon, there is perhaps nothing more fascinating than trying to decipher what could be “signs of the times”. Topics such as the Tribulation, the Rapture, and the Anti-Christ capture the imagination of pop-culture Christianity, but perhaps none more so than the Mark of the Beast. Is it a barcode? Is it a microchip? Is it a one-world currency?