The Theology of the Book of Revelation
Revelation is, at heart, a book about the end times. Although some see it as recounting the distant past (from our vantage point), the best interpretation of it is that it describes events surrounding the end of time. Revelation tells the end of the story – that God ultimately triumphs. Even as many times in the Old Testament, including the first prophecy of the Deliverer in Genesis 3:15, and the time of Abraham (Gen 12), in which events far into the future are predicted (2 Pet 3:1b-14), so the Revelation of John speaks of events, though not likely known to John, that would transpire many centuries after the prophecies; yet they are beneficial for the current people of God (2 Pet 3:11-13).
One must remember in approaching the Revelation of John, that it is patterned after another apocalyptic-prophetic book that included a combination of historical narrative, predictions, angelic activity, and many symbols. Though this is so, a number of future events become clear in the book, such as the rise and demise of future kingdoms, and even the presentation of the divine Son of Man, and the kingdom that would be established by Him.
Distinction between Persecution and Tribulation
It is important to separate the persecutions suffered by Christians under the Anti-Christ and the Tribulation period where God is pouring out his wrath on those who reject Him in the book of Revelation. One is an evil, sinful act perpetrated by men on innocent saints. The other is God’s just punishment of those sinners.
Jesus the Messiah
In Revelation Jesus is shown as the Glorified Son of Man (1:12-16), the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:16) who rules the earth (20:4-6). Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension are also recounted (1:5; 12:5) and given as the means by which sinners are offered redemption and eternal life (22:14, 17).
The “Soon” Coming of Jesus
One of the problems that one encounters in the Revelation is the reference to Jesus coming “soon.” If this is so, why did He not come during the period of the first century, or a few years thereafter? The problem is a misunderstanding of the word soon. Let us look at some examples in the Revelation first.
1) The events “must shortly(ταχός) take place.” (1:1)
2) “For the time is near.” (ἐγγύς) (1:3)
3) “I am coming to you quickly (ταχύς).” (2:16)
4) “I am coming quickly (ταχύς).” (3:11)
5) “The third woe is coming quickly (ταχύς).” (11:14)
6) “The things which must shortly(ταχός) take place.” (22:6)
7) “Behold, I am coming quickly (ταχύς).” (22:7)
8) “For the time is near.” (ἐγγύς) (22:10)
9) “Behold, I am coming quickly (ταχός).” (22:12)
10) “Yes, I am coming (ταχύς) (22:20)
The word ταχύς is defined in BDAG as “speed, quickness.” The issue is whether the adverb is one of “time” or “manner”—“when” or “how.”
The Septuagint (LXX) uses ταχύς in texts that conservatively could not have occurred for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Isaiah 13:22: “. . . her (Israel) fateful time also will soon come. . . .” This was written circa 700 B.C., foretelling of the destruction of Babylon in 539 B.C.
Isaiah 5:26 speaks of the manner, not the time frame, by which the Assyrian invasion of Israel “will come with speed swiftly.”
Isaiah 51:5 says, “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands will wait for Me, and for My arm they will wait expectantly.” This passage probably will be fulfilled in the millennium, but no interpreter would place it sooner than Christ's first coming, at least 700 years after it was given.
Isaiah 58:8 speaks of Israel’s recovery as “speedily spring(ing) forth.” If it is a “timing passage,” then the earliest it could have happened is 700 years later, but most likely it has yet to occur. Many other citations in the Septuagint from the táchos family can be noted in support of the futurist interpretation of the usage in Revelation.
 3:1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
[The Day of the Lord]
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
 Dan 2:28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”
 Dan 7:13 “I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.
Walter Bauer, Frederick William Danker, W. F. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, revised by Frederick William Danker (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000).