The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John,… Revelations 1:1
This will not be a complete tackling of Revelations because I do not know enough about the book outside of the 40 or so books I have read having to do with the end times and a kind of pop eschatology. The reason I want to cover some of Revelations is that in my foolishness I have been able to see the awesomeness of God in this wonderful book. The intricate series of names of Christ which in the first chapter are some double score are amazing.I am not sure I can actually comment using what I have read elsewhere because of copyrights I have heard so.
This first fragment of a sentence from the first chapter is as awesome as anything since the opening of Genesis with “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This is the revealing of the very kingship of Messiah as the Jews understood the coming Lion to be. What the disciples understood to be happening at the apex of Christ’s life was the overthrow of Rome and a fulfillment of certain messianic promises made by Isaiah and others through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. No other book of scripture begins so tremendously, especially the prophets of the Old Testament. This is the actual and continuing vision of Christ himself as we will see illustrated for us in the various acts of the Apocalypse which is the word for revelation as apokalupsis or apokalypsis which indicate meaning an unveiling as a picture or a light turned on to show what was in the darkness.
We see throughout the first chapter of Revelations a whole list of characteristics packed into a dense wall of words. They describe Jesus Christ in all his glory as God of the universe who is finally going to show who is in charge after all the things ungodly sinners have said in an ungodly way concerning him and now their judgement which has not been sleeping but has been awake will overtake them.
The line of transmission apparently goes this way. From God to Jesus to an angel to the Apostle John to the churches.
In Revelations 22:18, it says anyone who adds anything to this book will have plagues from this book happen to him. So if anyone detects folly in what I am saying please let me know so I can avoid that fate. I am from a New Testament church background which is sort of like the Southern Baptist I believe or noninstrumental Churches of Christ. (The church of my youth is instrumental a bit although I have come to believe the modern worship service with guitars and drums is kind of not what God had in mind for worship.)
I am kind of going back and forth but what I need to clarify is that Revelations is for his servants, hence how little over time men have attempted to add to Revelations in the literature of the world. Revelations has an aversion for imitators. Anyway, these servants are shown things which must shortly come to pass. Commentators go back and forth with the word shortly saying it means variously at the time of the first century or since time is different with God means in His conception of time (a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day) or last and most likely means happening at a great celerity at the time it happens which maybe in the future still.
Preterism holds that the events of Revelations happened in the first century of the Year of our Lord. I may in the future do a bit on Preterism but for now let me say I don’t believe in it. However, there is a very competent book by R.C. Sproul called The Last Days According To Jesus, which is Preterist and I am sure there are many more that take a similar tact. Jesus at times seemed to hold that the second coming would happen when the Apostles were still alive. Nevertheless, many intelligent folks on all sides whether Preterist, Futurist, Allegorical, or Historicist have put forward what seem to be reasonable arguments. I would say that I believe the arguments on the side of interpreting Revelations pretty much literally and as predominately still being in the future. However, similar prophecies in Daniel 11 may need a dusting off because current events would seem to point to modern day fulfillment.
Well, I realize this has been a rather rambling discourse on various topics but if you have differing views let me know what you think. As long as you don’t try to force any opinion into me I think we will be fine. We can always agree to disagree. I probably in the future will skip around the book to talk about what I want to. I hope I do not seem flippant I take God’s word extremely seriously. For those of you who don’t want to listen to my talks on Revelations I will try to label them notably so you can just skip them.