Revelation uses three types of literature. First, it is a letter written by the apostle John to seven churches in Asia Minor. Second, it is prophecy speaking God’s judgment and truth. Finally, it is apocalyptic writing a common form of Jewish literature.
Apocalyptic literature is written to people undergoing persecution. It contains symbolic imagery and visions, and it looks to God’s triumph at the end of time to convey hope to the faithful. Apocalyptic literature is not written in chronological order, but according to literary priorities. In addition, some visions or dreams contain symbols that are imaginative, powerful, and read like fantasy- beast with seven heads and ten horns or locusts with scorpions’ tails and human heads (Revelations 9:19; 13:1).
The reader of Revelation must decide whether a passage is epistolary prophetic, or apocalyptic: then, whether its intention is literal or figurative. The details of this important interpretive process will require your further study through Bible commentaries, original language, and theological reflection.
REVELATIONS 1:1 – 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: