A book I have found quite helpful for this Revelation series is Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation. It’s written by J. Nelson Kraybill who is the former President of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, where I attended, and is the current President of Mennonite World Conference. It’s written in a way that is accessible to the non-academic and would be a great resource for anyone – or any small group – wanting to dive deeper into Revelation. It’s not a verse by verse commentary but addresses different passages throughout Revelation with chapter titles like “A Prophet in Trouble,” “Stampeding Empires,” “Beastly Worship,” “The Lamb is the Lord of History,” “A Harlot Drunk with Blood,” “The Economics of Worship,” and “Long-Term Hope.”
One of the highlights of the book is that it contains 80+ images from the ancient world that pertain to Revelation. Here are four of them (with gratitude to Google, which better not be the Beast because it’s so cool):
A coin issued by the Emperor Domitian (Reigned 81-96 CE, most likely during the writing of Revelation) which shows the “divine” son of the emperor sitting on the globe surrounded by seven stars. John counters this claim in Revelation 1:16 when he sees the Christ holding seven stars in his right hand.
Present day ruins of the Roman temple in Pergamum, one of the first cities to implement emperor worship, and home to one of the seven churches of Revelation (2:12-17).
The Arch of Titus in Rome portraying the army leading a triumphal procession through the streets of Rome, with defeated Jews carrying the menorah and other utensils from the destroyed temple.
Early Christian artwork in the catacombs of Rome. The Lamb of God (Revelation 5).