Revelation #1 Introduction 7 Keys Necessary To Understand Revelation
What is this book about?
The revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave him to show his
servants what must soon take place.
In the original language, the word revelation is written as “apocalypsis”
which means an
unveiling, a disclosure, and a making known.
2. The next key to understanding Revelation is to realize that the author, John, used a style of writing very familiar at the time that scholars have named Apocalyptic Literature.
literature has some unique characteristics--
win in the end.
f. Dualism--good is pitted against evil.
As John reveals to us
Jesus, he will use all these tools to convey his message.
Any interpretation of what is written can only be valid if the meaning we understand would have made sense to the original audience.
We dare not budge from this principle: The words that the author used can not have meant something other than what the author intended them to mean. John writes from a certain culture, at a certain time, using symbols that were readily understandable in his time. So the next key, actually it’s an extension of the last, we must look to the time and culture and what was happening in the world at the time that John was writing.
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and
kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of
Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
When you know what was going on in the Roman world around 95 AD,
It is easier to
understand the meaning of the words that John has written.
By literal I mean that
we will take the words written at face value and not allow them to have a
figurative or metaphorical meaning. By figurative I mean that we will allow the
words to paint pictures of meaning for us and not take them literally.
John uses primarily
figurative language--That is very much in harmony with the apocalyptic style of
writing he is using to convey his message to us. So we will allow John to use
his words as a painter and the page as his Canvas.
Our brains have been trained to think in a Western culture. When we talk about the end and the future, We usually use those words interchangeably. But there is a distinction.
Revelation 1:19 (NIV)
"Write, therefore, what you have
seen, what is now and what will take place later.
Now that sounds like
double-speak so let me try to explain. Webster defines end to mean: a point
that indicates the full extent of something; the conclusion. Revelation tells
us about the full extent of Jesus' work. John tells us that because of what Jesus
has already done, this is what the rest of history will end up looking like.
7. The seventh key to understanding the book of Revelation is that it communicates the same message to every generation that reads it.
ii. The author used the Apocalyptic genre to communicate his message.
iii. Any interpretation of what is written can only be valid if the meaning we understand would have made sense to the original audience.
iv. John makes use of the Old Testament
v. John wrote in a figurative style
vi. Revelation is a picture of the end, it does not predict the future.
communicates the same message to every generation that reads it.
For next time you can
prepare for the teaching by reading chapter 1 of Revelation.