The  faith of the early Christians living under  persecution was sustained by the expectation of Chirsts  imminent second coming  this found literary  expression in the  revelation  of John written at the  end of the  first cent A.D.  an  allegory foretelling  the destruction  of the wicked, the overthrow of satan and the  establishment of Chirsts  kingdom on earth, the new  Jerusalem. It followed  the  tradition  of Jewish apocalyptic writing  going back to Daniel in the 2nd century. B.C. in which  was foreseen the deliverance  of  Israel from her oppressors by a sudden  act of the divine will and  from which  the author of the revation  borrowed  much of his immagery. Popular belief   for  which there is no historical  evidence identified the  writer  whose name was  John with  the  evangelist and he is  so represented  in  apocalyptic  themes, though the  author  is   alluding  to the  contemporary  condition of  Chirtians under the roman empire, succeeding  ages placed their own  interpretation  on the allegory. Thus  the figure  of the beast  or antichrist , which  stands  for the  pagan  emperos (either nero or domitian both of whom caused  teh blood of  many  martyrs to flow).  Come to symbolize  Islam to  crusading  Christians  to catholics at the time of the reformation it stood  for protestant heresy while  lutherans made it a symbol of the corrupt  papacy. The  soquence of fantastic images with their often  obscure symbolism. The  authors  visions  forms a loose  cycle of themes that are  found in religious art from the time of the carolingian renaissance.

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