Revelation is the capstone of the Bible, supplying the finishing touch to the whole panorama of history. Revelation is wedded to two Biblical books: Genesis and Revelation unveil the commencement and consummation of all things, respectively; and Revelation fills in the details of Daniel’s outline of history. Herein Jesus Christ reveals Himself, in all His splendor, power and majesty, while unfolding the future from
the first century A.D. through the end times into Eternity.
No matter how dark the day, no matter how severe the opposition, Revelation helps its students be overcomers, gaining the ultimate victory in Christ.
For many people, Revelation is a sealed book because of the vast amount of symbolism used to describe literal persons, circumstances and events. It is considered the most difficult book of the Bible to understand. Even John Calvin, who wrote commentaries on every book of the Bible, skipped Revelation because he did not understand it. Since Calvin’s day, diverse interpretations of this book have contaminated and clouded its message. Many pastors find it easier to avoid Revelation than study it and teach it.
However, the secular world has recently discovered this book. Hollywood has produced numerous films dealing with its themes. Countless novels are developing the prophecies of the Apocalypse. The “Left Behind” series topped the best sellers list. Unsaved people confronted with this bombardment of themes from Revelation often turn to Christians for some word of insight.
The Book of Revelation is prewritten history that predominantly unfolds the circumstances surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on earth. Because Revelation exposes Satan as a deceptive fraud and reveals Christ in His majesty, Satan works to discredit this book and hinder its study.
I have attempted to present a scholarly study of this book in ways that the student may grasp its representation of the future. There is no attempt at a novel approach. Most of the exposition comes out of my futurist and progressive dispensationalist perspective, with a pretribulation and premillennial bias. However, the other major methods of interpretation (historicist, preterist, idealist, amillennial and postmillennial) are presented, mostly without critical comment. Ultimately, it takes history to unfold prophecy. No interpreter possesses infallible understanding of every symbol, detail, and fulfillment of the prophecies of this book. Therefore, we can profit from what others see.
The definitive purpose of Biblical prophecy is to call people to repentance and faith in the LORD, while spurring the saints to holy living. For those who have spiritually illuminated eyes, Revelation is one of the most precious and extraordinary writings in the world.
I am a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary, a retired pastor in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and currently a teacher at Jamaica Bible College and Community Institute, Mandeville, Jamaica W.I. Since retirement from the pastorate, I have continued to preach in churches, teach courses to pastors and laity for continuing education units, and speak at conferences and camps.
Robert P. Conway