Bible Study – Interpreting Revelation
In a continuation of our introduction to the Book of Revelation last week Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Rob Sauers tackle the issues of Biblical Interpretation that are important to solid, Biblical understanding of Revelation (as well as all the rest of the Bible). The literary structure of Revelation varies. The book opens in a way similar to other New Testament books, but the majority of the book is described as being figurative or symbolic in the opening verses. The events are real events, but they are described with picture language. Revelation is not to be taken literally, but literarily or depending on the kind of writing that is being intended by the writer. Some important rules of Biblical Interpretation include 1) The Bible interprets the Bible (use clear passages of Scripture interpret the less clear, not the other way around). 2) Don’t take passages out of context (of Scripture or the individual book or section). One example of bad Biblical Interpretation is found in Revelation 20 and the 1,000 years or “the Millennium”. Numbers in Revelation are symbolic, not literal. The pictures of the angel, the dragon are not literal either. Rather the 1,000 years refer to the New Testament Era (amillennialism). The first resurrection of that chapter refers to a spiritual resurrection (conversion) as seen in John 5:24-29. This does not indicate multiple physical resurrections as many millenialists say. The purpose of Revelation is to point us to Jesus and the victory which He won for us over sin, death and the Devil through His life and death. If we keep that in mind, the Book of Revelation is very easy to understand!