Contemporary analysis of the world that produced the Book of Revelation suggests that Patmos was not a penal settlement, and there is little evidence that Domitian systematically persecuted Christians. The Emperor Cult was widely practiced, but Christians were not being persecuted for lack of participation. The document makes much of God’s victory in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the slain and standing Lamb (Rev 5:6). The “saints” were not persecuted Asian Christians but, under the influence of the Book of Daniel, John’s presentation of those from Israel’s sacred history who lived by the Word of God and accepted the messianic witness of the prophets (8:3–4; 11:18; 13:7, 10; 14:12; 16:6; 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:8; 20:6, 9). They already have life, the application of the saving effects of the slain and risen lamb “from the foundation of the world” (13:8). John addresses late first-century Asian Christians, presenting the model of these “saints,” offering them hope as they are tempted by the allure of the Greco-Roman world and its mores. He invites them into the life and light of the New Jerusalem, the Christian church (22:1–5).
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