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Guest shiloh357

Interpreting The Book of Revelation

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I've been exposed to End Times interpretations for at least 30 years, and it does seem that interpretations tend to change with the headlines. Case in point, I had not heard of Islam being a key player in prophecy fulfillment until after 9/11 some time. Now it's one of the major interpretations for such.

One interpretation of Revelation that struck me the most was this:

Revelation begins with the statement:

"The revelation of Jesus Christ."

This is not a revelation on the Anti-Christ, nor is it a revelation on the End Times.

It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Reading the book for what it says about Jesus will yield better fruit that reading the book for what it says about the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.

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Guest shiloh357

It is important to keep in mind that geography has changed a lot since John wrote the book of Revelation. Names of countries have changed. There are countries today that did not even exist in John

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I've been exposed to End Times interpretations for at least 30 years, and it does seem that interpretations tend to change with the headlines. Case in point, I had not heard of Islam being a key player in prophecy fulfillment until after 9/11 some time. Now it's one of the major interpretations for such.

One interpretation of Revelation that struck me the most was this:

Revelation begins with the statement:

"The revelation of Jesus Christ."

This is not a revelation on the Anti-Christ, nor is it a revelation on the End Times.

It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Reading the book for what it says about Jesus will yield better fruit that reading the book for what it says about the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.

So true Sis! Makes one wonder why there is so much emphasis on trying to point to everything else in Revelation beside Christ? I have to admit, it is very interesting material to ponder over.

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I've been exposed to End Times interpretations for at least 30 years, and it does seem that interpretations tend to change with the headlines. Case in point, I had not heard of Islam being a key player in prophecy fulfillment until after 9/11 some time. Now it's one of the major interpretations for such.

One interpretation of Revelation that struck me the most was this:

Revelation begins with the statement:

"The revelation of Jesus Christ."

This is not a revelation on the Anti-Christ, nor is it a revelation on the End Times.

It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Reading the book for what it says about Jesus will yield better fruit that reading the book for what it says about the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.

So true Sis! Makes one wonder why there is so much emphasis on trying to point to everything else in Revelation beside Christ? I have to admit, it is very interesting material to ponder over.

Agreed! As I said in an earlier post on this thread.....

What I do think, is that the whole book centers around Jesus.

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Guest shiloh357

The Christology of the Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation, as has been previously indicated, is Christological in nature, meaning its focus is on Jesus. The 1st verse sets the tone; it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is typical of John

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Guest shiloh357

General Overview of the Various Interpretative Views

Revelation gets its title from the first word in the book, apocalypsis. This Greek word means to uncover or reveal. The book is the revelation that Jesus Christ gave to John to proclaim to the seven churches of Asia. As far as genre goes, this book is part epistle, part prophecy, and part apocalyptic.

I. Revelation as Epistle

1. Revelation 1:4 states clearly that the book is for the seven churches of Asia. Chapters 2-3 contain mini-letters with commendation and condemnation.

2. Historical background study will aid interpretation greatly. For example, in the letter to Laodicea, Jesus alludes to the citys material wealth, the medicine it produced, and its woolen industry. Some texts are still ambiguous; is the white stone (2:17) an admission ticket, a jurys vote, or an amulet? What is Satans throne in Pergamum (2:13)?

3. As an epistle then, we must try to interpret the book in light of the present historical circumstances, such as 1st century famines and military threats. We should remember the principle of historical propriety:

The text cannot mean something that would have been completely incomprehensible to its original audience. It cannot mean something now that it never meant before.

For that reason, one cannot inject into or impose on to the text things that did not exist in the 1st century. One cannot read modern nations and governing entities (like the United Nations) that did not exist in the 1st century into the text of Revelation. In addition, one cannot insert modern personalities into the text such as those who claim the Pope is the anti-Christ. The Roman Catholic Church and the office of Pope did not exist at that time, and would have been unknowable by the original audience. The same goes for trying to read Islam into the text of Revelation as well.

II. Revelation as Prophecy

1. Since the closest generic parallels to Revelation appear in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, Revelation should be looked as prophecy too.

2. Interpretive Approaches to the Book:

A. Idealism (eternal or continual view): this approach sees the message of the book as a picture of the ever ongoing struggle between good and evil and the ultimate victory of good over evil; essentially the book is neither historic nor prophetic

B. Preterism (past view): this approach sees the message of the book as prophetic for the seven churches but now historically fulfilled by 70AD; the persecutions of the Roman empire ended with Constantine in AD 312. In this view, Preterism does not hold to a literal second coming of Christ. The Second Coming of Jesus is seen as a metaphor for the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

C. Historicism (past and present view): this approach understands the message of the book to be a symbolic pre-narration of church history from apostolic times until the second coming and final judgment of Christ.

1. Postmillennialism

a. This view dominated the 19th century; abandoned for the most part after the two world wars

b. Christ will return after the golden church age (millennium) in which the world is converted to Christ.

2. Amillennialism

a. This view has been the dominant view in church history, advocated by such men as Jerome, Augustine, Calvin, and Luther.

b. The 1,000 years is not literal, nor future, but symbolic of the Lords present rulership in heaven seated at the right hand of God.

D. Futurism (future view): this approach sees most of the book as prophetic of the future: after the great, terrible tribulation period, Christ will return and set up a literal thousand year kingdom after which the last judgment will occur and the eternal state will begin. Hence, most futurists are premillennialists. Premillennialism can be further divided into four views with regard to Christs meeting the saints in the air (the so-called rapture):

1. Pretribulationism: the rapture occurs before the tribulation

2. Midtribulationism: rapture occurs midway through the tribulation

3. Posttribulationism: the rapture occurs after the tribulation

4. Partial tribulationism: only the godly part of the church is taken

I personally hold to a premillennial view in part because if Postmillennialism and Amillennialism were true, the world and the church should be getting better. If the Amillennialist are right and we are in the millennial reign of Christ right now, the millennium is the biggest failure in all of human history. I reject Preterism on the same grounds because if Preterism were true, the New Heavens and New Earth are metaphors for the church age, and one only needs to look at the world around them to see it bears no resemblance by any stretch of the imagination to the Bibles description of the New Heavens and New Earth.

III. Revelation as Apocalyptic

1. The term apocalypse is used as a technical name for a genre of literature. This literature possesses these features: revelatory of the future, pseudonymity, symbolism, eschatological dualism, non-prophetic or pessimistic view of history, determinism, and ethical passivity. Scholars designate Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation as apocalyptic literature although not all these qualities are found in them. The purpose of this kind of literature is to encourage an alienated or oppressed people to remain faithful to God and to endure because He will intervene in the end time and victory is certain.

2. Author and scholar Leon Morris, in his book, The Book of Revelation on pp. 25-27 shows that there are eight key differences between Revelation and typical apocalypses of the 1st century:

  • Regular references to the book as prophecy;
  • Typically, prophetic warnings and calls for repentance;
  • Lack of pseudonymity;
  • An optimistic worldview;
  • No retracing of past history in the guise of prophecy;
  • Realized eschatology (end times have begun with the first coming of Christ;
  • Little interpretation by angels; and
  • Belief that the Messiah has already come and made atonement

Since Revelation has these distinctives, scholars refer to it as biblical apocalyptic.

3. Be careful how you employ symbolism. Dont fall to the temptation to make everything symbolic or get bogged down with symbolism. William Klein, Craig L. Blomberg and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., in their book Introduction to Biblical Interpretation on pp. 447-48, make the following observation:

"The most crucial axiom is this: Determine the major theological themes of Revelation and avoid getting bogged down in the details. Even with respect to eschatology, we can agree to disagree over details while affirming the reality of Christs future, visible, and universal return to judge all humanity, and to assign to people one of the two only possible destinies awaiting them: Eternal Life or eternal separation from God. We need to learn the lessons of Matt. 24:36 and Acts 1: 6-8 and stop trying to guess if we are living in the final generation or how the latest news might fit in with this or that verse, then we can focus on the grand theological themes of the book and be encouraged about Gods sovereign love, and justice even during our hardest times.

I would commend to you for additional reading on the major themes of Revelation, G. Goldsworthys book The Gospel of Revelation and R. Bauckhams The Theology of the Book of Revelation.

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I've been exposed to End Times interpretations for at least 30 years, and it does seem that interpretations tend to change with the headlines. Case in point, I had not heard of Islam being a key player in prophecy fulfillment until after 9/11 some time. Now it's one of the major interpretations for such.

One interpretation of Revelation that struck me the most was this:

Revelation begins with the statement:

"The revelation of Jesus Christ."

This is not a revelation on the Anti-Christ, nor is it a revelation on the End Times.

It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

It is the unveiling of the Lord Jesus and His body from start to finish. It is not about the world at all.

Reading the book for what it says about Jesus will yield better fruit that reading the book for what it says about the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.

So true Sis! Makes one wonder why there is so much emphasis on trying to point to everything else in Revelation beside Christ? I have to admit, it is very interesting material to ponder over.

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The Book of Revelation is, from start to finish, the unveiling of the Lord Jesus and His body, the Church. It has absolutely nothing to do with "the world." All the keys to interpreting the symbols are contained in the Bible itself. Not in current world events.

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Guest shiloh357

Actually, it is not about the Church at all.

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Actually, it is not about the Church at all.

Nope it is about Jesus

Nothing drives me more insane that these TV guys and others who try to twist words to fit their own take on the book. This means America, this means he is the anti christ, this means Israel, this means the date is, this means the "A" bomb......

As far as Revelation goes, Jesus is coming, and instead of confusing things, sometimes it might be better to just get out of the way....

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