Over the past centuries theologians have
held, or been influenced by four interpretative views of Revelation.
These views have gone through modification and development as theologians
have studied scripture. Let us briefly look at those views.
The first is what is called the preterist view. It places the events of Revelation in the past. This view holds that John was addressing his world and his times. So this view holds that the literal aspects of Revelation have been fulfilled. Therefore the relevance to today's reader is held to be that of encouragement. God does intervene in the affairs of man.
The second view is the symbolic view. Revelation is seen to portray the continuing conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil. What John sees and describes is symbolic of that conflict. Here, like the preterist view, the purpose of the book is to give encouragement. That encouragement is found in the fact that in the end good will triumph.
The third view is the futuristic view. This is a view that was popularized by the rise of dispensational theology. This view places the events of Revelation, particularly chapters 4 and following, into the future. It is held that John describes what Jesus referred to as the tribulation. (Matt. 24) That tribulation is held to be seven years long, and divided into three and a half year segments.
The fourth view is called the historicist view. This is the view held by the reformers. They saw the book of Revelation as giving a panorama of history from the first century until the return of Christ. Since it was difficult to correlate the events of history with the things that John described, this view was eclipsed with the popularization of dispensational theology.
In these studies I support the historical view. Revelation is a New Testament book. It is the “revelation of Jesus Christ” given to John and sent to the Church. She is expected to use Revelation to fulfill her calling and purpose.
I trust that these studies will cause you to look at the book of Revelation in a different light. Studies will be added about every month, until the book of Revelation is completed. Your observations and comments are welcomed. Enjoy!
or Futuristic / Literal or Figurative
Study Two Revelation 5: The Throne and The Sealed Book
Study Three Revelation 6: The Lamb Breaks the Seven Seals
Study Four The 144,000 of Revelation 7
Study Five Revelation 8: The Seven Trumpets of the Opened Book
Study Six Three Woes
Study Seven A Mighty Angel, A Little Book and Seven Thunders
Study Eight Two Witneses
Study Nine The Seventh Trumpet
Study Ten That Which Is: A Woman in Heaven; The Church
Study Eleven That Which Was: The Two Beasts of Revelation 13
Study Twelve God's Wrath is Good News
Study Thirteen Back to the Future: The Church
Study Fourteen Seven Last Plaques