Introduction: Learn how to interpret the Book of Revelation. The book of Revelation consists of two primary sections; the first part contains Messiah Yeshua’s moral evaluations of the seven Christian churches in Asia Minor (Turkey), and the second part is composed of extraordinary visions decorated with allegories and symbols that have been the subject to many interpretations throughout history. A popular interpretation is that Revelation deals with the early Christian crisis of faith because of Roman persecutions.
The narrative encourages Christians to remain unwavering in their faith and hold firm to the expectation that God will eventually annihilate their enemies. Allusions to a thousand years have led many scholars to believe that the final triumph over iniquity will arrive following the conclusion of a millennium. Conservative scholars believe that the book was written by St. John the Apostle in the late 1st century AD.
Step 1: Learn that interpreters of the book of Revelation normally fall within four groups, which are the preterists, historicists, eschatologists, and idealists. The preterist and idealists interpretations are found in many liberal Christian Churches, while the historicists and eschatologists are found within many conservative Christian communities. Many modern prophecy scholars belong to the eschatologists and historicists communities.
Step 2: Understand the preterists view of Revelation. Preterists read the book exclusively in terms of its first-century setting. They claim that most of its events have already taken place. In other words, the preterist interpretation of Scripture regards the book of Revelation as a symbolic picture of early church history, not a description of what will occur in the future. Preterism rejects the futuristic eschatological excellence of the book of Revelation. Preterism teaches that Revelation should be interpreted allegorically and spiritually, but never futuristically. The preterist movement teaches that all the end-times prophecies of the New Testament Christian Scriptures were fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Romans 10th legend attacked and destroyed Jerusalem and Israel.
Step 3: Study the historicist perspective of the Apocalypse. Historicists believe that Revelation is describing the long chain of events from Patmos to the end of history. The historicist interpretation of Revelation attempts to map the events described in the book to historical events, which offers readers a panoramic perspective of Church history beginning from John’s days to the end of the age. In other words, the seven Churches of Asia reflect seven specific Church eras before the seven year tribulation commences.
Step 4: Ascertain the eschatological view of Revelation. Eschatologists place the book primarily in the end times. The end times deals with the restoration of the Jewish State of Israel, Rapture of the Church, the rise of the Anti-Messiah, the creation of the new Babylon, the natural disasters, and the Middle Eastern wars preceding Messiah Yeshua’s return.
Step 5: Find out the idealists view of the Apocalypse. Idealists spiritualize the symbolic imagery found in the book of Revelation. Many Idealists believe that Revelation never refers to any historical or future event, but rather it is an allegorical sketch of the struggle between good versus evil.
Step 6: Finally, understand that the fundamental truths of Revelation can be found in all four primary interpretations. These truths are available to all readers who will study the book for its overall message and resist the temptation to become overly captivated with the symbolic details written in this eschatological masterpiece.
Tips: Remember that the book of Revelation encourages Christians to remain unwavering in their faith and hold firm to the expectation that God will eventually destroy all evil and Messiah Yeshua will return to Earth before the millennium.
Related Sources: The Book of Revelation, Larry R. Helyer, PhD; 2008; The Bible, Jim Bell and Stan Campbell, 1999; The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy, Stephen M. Miller, 2010; The Last Days; Richard H. Perry; 2006.