Interpretive Considerations

UNDERSTANDING REVELATION. Revelation is based on the chronology and the end time images of the Book of Daniel. It pulls together the vast number of details revealed through the prophet Isaiah about the Antichrist, the judgment of the world, and salvation of mankind and tells how they will be accomplished in the Day of the Lord.

NATURE OF PROPHECY. Predictive prophecy falls into two categories: near-term and far-term. Near term predictions tell what is about to be experienced by those in the prophet’s own generation. Like OT prophecy, much of Revelation is long-term and will be fulfilled long after the death of the prophet’s contemporaries. Interpretation of prophecy is an understanding of a particular moment in history, a divine understanding of a human situation. Some predictions have a double reference, that is, both near-term and far-term fulfillments, such as Daniel 11:31:

Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ (168 B.C.) desolation of the Temple (2 Maccabees 6)
Antichrist’s Desolation of the Temple in the Tribulation Period (Matthew 24:15)

THEMATIC THEME. The fulfillment of God’s purpose for Christ as Judge, Redeemer, and King is the central theme of the Book of Revelation. Judgment, redemption and kingdom are interrelated parts of the establishment of God’s salvation. Judgments are the fate of the unrepentant and the unredeemed, as kingdom is the destiny of the redeemed believers. Redemption exempts believers from judgment, and makes them ready for the kingdom, which will be fulfilled in Christ’s redemptive work as the Kinsman-Redeemer. The actions of Christ in the Apocalypse fulfill the matrix of the Bible (cf. Psalm 105).

KEY VERSES. Many verses might be considered key to the Book of Revelation. The following key verses focus on the giving and receiving of the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, which climaxes in the worship of God.

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John (1:1).

John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne (1:4).

Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later (1:19).

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow-servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (22:8-9).

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