In other words, it had a message for the 1st Century believers. And it carries a message to every century believers. Let me say that another way. While Revelation ultimately describes the culmination of human history as we know it, the cycle of Revelation has played itself out many times in history. Theologians call this the tension between history and eschatology in Revelation. I simply say Revelation is meant to speak to every generation. Here are some examples.
We know that, in the final chapter of human history, someone referred to as the Antichrist will come on the scene. But John, the author of Revelation, also says that, This is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. 1JN 2:18. Apparently, throughout history there have been many antichrists.
Or consider the Abomination of Desolation predicted in Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation. We know it happened in the 2nd Century B.C., when Antiochus Epiphanes placed a pagan altar to Zeus in temple at Jerusalem. We know it happened when Rome destroyed temple in 70 A.D. And I believe it is still said to be coming, as predicted, in Revelation 13.
Or consider this. We know that the Great Tribulation is still coming to culminate history. But it is also fair to say that every believer, of every age (if they live long enough) will experience “great” tribulation. There is something about the Great Tribulation of the final days that is characteristic of all of the tribulations you and I face.
Because Revelation is meant to speak to every generation.