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What Does the Bible Say About..Interpreting Revelation?

My sister needs a better understanding of Revelations. Could you send me a better understanding of it for me please? Thank you so much.


The book of the Revelation is really quite simple to understand when you get past all the symbols that had meaning to the Christians when it was written but have no meaning to us. The simple message of the book is “Christians have overcome.” One writer appropriately titled his commentary about the Revelation “More Than Conquerors,” because the message of the book is the same as Romans 8:37. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

The key verse to the whole book is the first verse. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” This says that everything in the book was something that would happen soon after it was written, which was somewhere between 68 and 90 AD. Thus the prophecies of the book were generally fulfilled over 1800 years ago. It does not predict events in our future, and probably says nothing about the end of the world.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is about a spiritual war between Christ and Satan. The book is full of symbols about such a war. These symbols may have had a spiritual meaning, or even a physical meaning, at one time. Most of them applied at the time it was written, but have no meaning to us now.

The first three chapters are general messages to “the seven churches of Asia.” These were seven congregations in what is now western Turkey, near the ancient city of Troy. These congregations had certain characteristics that represent most of the different problems of churches throughout time. These letters, then, give the most practical advice to us of the entire book. Their message is to endure persecution and you will be rewarded in heaven.

Chapters 4 through 20 are essentially a prediction of the persecution of the church by the Roman government. This is made clear in chapter 17, beginning in verse 9. Here he describes the “beast” as a city on seven hills. This has been a description of Rome since before the time of Jesus. He then talks about some emperors (kings) that had already ruled, and some that were soon to rule. So most of the book applies to us only in general terms, because the specific prophecies were fulfilled many years ago.

Chapters 21 and 22 are often interpreted as a picture of heaven. There are some problems with that view. Most importantly, these chapters are about the “New Jerusalem,” which John says he saw coming down out of heaven. How could heaven come out of heaven? Some people, therefore, look at these chapters as a symbolic picture of the church of Jesus Christ. It is a “city” open to all people, where there is no more sin (it is forgiven) and where Christians can be in God’s presence.

That is a quick overview of the book of the Revelation. It is so simple that people want to make it more complicated than it is. Just think of it as saying to us that we will overcome Satan, just as the early church survived the persecution of Rome and became strong. With God on our side we have to win. Nobody can beat God or his people.

I hope this helps you and your sister to understand the book better. Sometimes people today put so much emphasis on this book that they forget to study the rest of the Bible, which teaches us how to live so that we can be among those who overcome.