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Description of the Book
The book was probably written around AD96. As we commence we might well ask the question, “Why should we spend such time as this in studying the Revelation?” Among the many possible reasons may be the fundamental fact that it is the one and only communication from the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.
He had experienced all of his trials on earth, his crucifixion and resurrection, and he writes a final message from his Father’s side in Heaven to those who are to follow him. When one contemplates the vast content of all of the other Scriptures with all the information, which they impart, we would believe that there must be something of signal importance that Jesus is communicating in this last letter in this way. So surely it must be worthwhile to pay attention to it and we hope that as we go through, we will be able to see what it is that he is telling us, which is unique and apart from the rest of Scripture.
The Book of Revelation may be notionally divided into two Parts – part A chapters 1-11, chapter 11 ending with the return of Christ so far as the Book is concerned and in symbol. Part B chapters 12-22 dealing with the same string of history as part A but taking as its major theme the development and significance of the “Beast”, until Jesus returns. To illustrate – Part A makes a single reference to the word “Beast” but in Part B it occurs no less than 37 times. Plainly the importance of this theme of the “Beast” is a major sign we have to interpret in order to understand the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is Not a Separate Book in Isolation
It has many links with the rest of Scripture. For example:
- The curses in Eden on the earth and mankind are reversed by the end of Revelation.
“So he drove out the man; and he placed…a flaming sword…to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3v24
“…On either side of the river was there the tree of life…which yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations, And there shall be no more curse…” Revelation 22v2,3
- The dreams and visions in the book of Daniel are confirmed and expanded upon.
- Many of the signs and symbols in Revelation are in fact used in the rest of Scripture so you will find them de-mystified! This means that the message of the book becomes accessible and valuable to you as the Lord Jesus intended his servants to find it.
Different Interpretations of the Book of Revelation
The three main views are:
- Preterist:It can be said right away that in the main the use of the rest of the Bible to elucidate Revelation leads to the emphatic conclusion that practically all the book from chapter 6 onwards applies either:
- To the grim events associated with the Fall of Jerusalem in AD70 and God’s rejection of Israel.
- To the great events prior to and contemporary with the Return of Christ, or
It depends on proving that the Revelation was given to John before the events of AD70.
- Futurist: This form of interpretation aims to give a sequential interpretation of Revelation chapters 6-20 as a steadily unfolding series of events, but all in the future, except for the first 4 seals.
- Continuous Historic: Treats the book as an unfolding history in real-time world events from the time of writing in about AD96 to beyond the Millennium – in the same way as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. The book is divided into two parts and the same line of events are described from different angles.
For further information about the above definitions see pages 1-45 of “The Revelation – Which Interpretation?” by G.Pearce, CSSS 1982.
In this pack the Continuous Historic view has been adopted. Reasons for this decision and a more detailed explanation are put forward in the text.
Structure of the Book
The telescope can introduce us simply to this concept. It is imagined that the prophecy is rather like a closed telescope of seven portions, which gradually opens up as history progresses.