Hi people! 😀 I would like to know what you think about the book of Revelation. Is it all symbolic and so difficult to understand that we must neglect it?
I intend to set my heart to gaining understanding and revelation from this book.
Firstly, i believe we’ve all made it too complex by making everything in the book symbolic. Quoting from Dake’s Annotated Bible, ‘As to the literalness of the events of the 7 trumpets, they are to be just as literal as the revelation gives them. Should we make symbolic that which is plainly literal? The plagues in Egypt were literal so why not these? Some interpret the earthquake of 6:12-17 as the breaking up of society; the sun darkened as Christ rejected and God dethroned; the moon turned to blood as the destruction of derived authority; the stars falling as the downfall of religious leaders from the ecclesiastical heavens; the heavens departed as the destruction of organized Christianity;…’
WOW. That’s a whole lotta symbols right there. Looking at old testament messianic prophecies about the 1st coming of Jesus, can give us clues on how to interpret biblical prophecy i believe. It was prophesied that He will be sold for thirty pieces of silver. ‘Silver’ did not mean some transformation or wealth or something weird. It said that He will ride a donkey into Jerusalem. That was fulfilled literally during His procession to Jerusalem on a donkey as the prophets prophesied.
So, let’s get rid of myth number 1- The book of Revelation is for all Christians to understand. It is not just for theologians with a degree in theology, although they can be really helpful! It is for those who have the Holy Spirit living inside them. He is the great Teacher.
I love this quote from Mike Bickle on the book of Revelation- “Jesus uses the least severe means to reach the most people at the deepest level of love, without violating their free will”. This is so true. Jesus is coming and revealing Himself as Bridegroom, King and Judge. He will judge the nations that rage against Him(Psalm 2), whilst at the same time purifying the Bride of all that hinders love. He will come as a King- LITERALLY! That blows my mind but it is true! One day a Jewish Man, who is fully God, will come to the planet and will get rid of evil and rule all the nations. All 232(?) of them! He is the One that is worthy to take the scrolls and open the seals of judgements, as He judges the end time Antichrist’s empire(Revelation 4:2). You might be thinking, how can this be? How can a God of Love, be so intense? How can the gentle Lamb of God, be the One that causes people to kill one another in Revelation 6:4. How can He be the one that causes a third part of men to be slain in Revelation 9:15?! Imagine that happening today- one third of the population of the earth dying in a war of some kind. There are about 7 billion people on the earth today? one third of that is over 2 billion people dying at the same time! This is chaotic. The worst disasters in human history thus far, are nothing close to what is to come. And most of the church is unprepared. These events are offensive to the human mind. Almost confusing if we don’t understand the why behind the what. This book however says that the people of God are in agreement with the judgements of God as they sing in Revelation 19:2 ‘For true and righteous are His judgements…’ The saints won’t be offended, or confused. Some will. I believe part of the great falling away of many from the church will be from the offense and confusion as people question the righteousness of the judgements of Jesus.
However, we must realise that God is judging evil, and the antichrist. He isn’t judging the church. I used to believe in the pretribulation rapture- which basically says we go up to be with Jesus so we ‘escape’ the judgements. I’m starting to think otherwise now. The why behind the what(at least part of it) is that Jesus is removing all that hinders love. I honor believers that believe in the pretribulation rapture, however, i would advise that we diligently search the scriptures for truth. There are huge implications if we don’t get raptured during the great tribulation. I don’t think we have to argue about this in a way that will not be godly or in a humble spirit, but we do have to know the truth. We need to study this book for decades. We don’t know the day or the hour of the return of Jesus, but He gave us ‘Signs of the times’. We must be watchful. We must read the old testament prophets such as Isaiah, Zechariah, and many others that give very detailed information about this time in human history referred to as the ‘great and terrible day of the Lord’. Yes, God will be terrible in His judgements. But the scriptures also speak about a great day! A day of the greatest end time revival- Greater than the book of acts! This is an exciting time, but also a time we need a specific watchfulness and focus to prepare ourselves for. There is a release of the spirit of prophecy in a major way in that generation with the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11.
I’ve made a lot of statements that many may not agree with, but the point is we all need to be searching the scriptures in a posture of watchfulness for the coming of Jesus. He is not coming, until the church is made glorious, and His bride has made herself ready. I believe the bride is far from ready now. 2 Peter 3:12 also implies we can ‘hasten the Lord’s return’, by making ourselves ready. We must be wise. We must meditate on these scriptures and pray for wisdom and understanding. We must rend out hearts, and go after a unique understanding of the end times. God will raise up John the Baptists. He will raise up prophetic messengers who live a radical lifestyle of abandonment to Him, and will prepare His people to respond rightly to Him in the day that He shakes everything that can be shaken. At the end of the story, there’s an eternal celebration. Everything that hinders love is removed. We are eternally married to the Lamb. This is a mystery as Paul rightly states. We rule the nations with Him. We live on the earth forever and forever. I feel like a pilgrim, one at the beginning of the beginning of my destiny. God is a beautiful mystery. His ways are past finding out. He will fascinate us with the revelation of His heart for billions and billions of years. He is eternally exciting and so not boring!
I want to conclude this with an exhortation that the Holy Spirit gives in His wisdom and love to the church on the right attitude to relating to the book of Revelation. Again, we want to spend decades like John the Baptist in studying this book with its many layers of revelation and insight into the heart of Jesus and the events at the end of the age. Practical advice from me to you- Schedule time to do this! Find some commentaries. Pray for the spirit of revelation and wisdom. Don’t just do ‘Bible study’- turn your ‘Bible study’ into conversation with Jesus. His desire was to show us what must shortly come to pass(Revelation 1:1) not hide anything from us! He wants to give you understanding more than you want understanding. Another practical principle is ‘little by little’. You won’t get a download and prophetic insight into this book in 5 mins or 5 hours. But if you devote yourself to prayerfully studying it, in the next decade you’ll be shocked at how much this book has transformed your mind, and your understanding of Jesus.
Revelation 1:3- Blessed is the one that reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.