In the 1st century, being Christian was like being part of a really small, really unpopular club. The social pressure to conform must have been immense, and many Christians were probably close to throwing in the towel. That's where Revelation comes in. The book wants to encourage Christians to keep going even in the face of adversity—and death, don't forget death. John's visions convey all the rewards that wait for those who make it, along with the horrors for those that don't. Gulp.