INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION
I. AUTHOR AND DATE:
A. The "author" identifies himself as John-Rev. 1:1, 4, 9; From the second century, tradition has identified the author as
John, the Son of Zebedee, one of the 12 Apostles
B. Traditionally the date for the book has been given as 94-96 A.D.
II. THE PURPOSE AND MESSAGE OF REVELATION
A. The basic purpose is to encourage Christians by showing them that the Justice of God, Jesus, and the people of God will
ultimately triumph over evil and the Evil One. Sufferings and persecutions will come, but the faithful have their victory
B. The message of the book is that Christians must remain firm and courageous in the fight of Christ and His disciples
against Satan. Christians must persevere in hope because the final victory will come along with the second coming of the
Lord Jesus Christ.
III. VARIOUS INTEPRETATIONS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
A. The futurist interpretation
1. This interpretation understands the book as only dealing with events concerning the end of the world.
2. Those that favor this interpretation also see the book to be literal rather than symbolic. They believe that the
numbers have a literal rather than
a symbolic significance.
3. Generally those holding this view also believe that Christ will reign a thousand years on the earth when He returns.
4. Against this interpretation is the fact that this view ignores the problems of the first century Christians to whom
the "letter" was written.
B. The Preterist Interpretation
1. This interpretation says that all of the events in the book have already taken place.
2. Those holding this view believe that it was directed to those of the first century. According to them all the events
took place before the reign of the emperor, Constantine. They see the message as dealing with the struggles of the
first Christians with the evil forces represented by the Roman Empire.
3. According to them Revelation is not now prophecy but rather history.
4. Although this interpretation makes the book very significant for those of the first century, it limits its significance
for those living since that time and ignores references to the end of all things.
C. The Continuist History Interpretation
1. This interpretation understands the book as a blueprint for the history of western Europe from the time of the
Reformation until the return of the Lord.
2. With this view the principal attention of the book focuses on the Roman Catholic Church and its apostasy.
3. Many protestants of the last century took this position.
4. Although it shows the fight between good and evil in history, it limits God's interest to the events that took place in
5. This view also limits the significance of the book for Christians of the 1st century.
D. The Symbolic Interpretation (Philosophy of History)
1. This interpretation says that the book is to inspire the church in her fight against evil across the centuries.
2. In this view there is no massage to any particular age in history, rather the symbols serve to describe the triumph
of God over evil.
E. Our Point of View
1. We see the book as having profound roots in the first century, speaking God's message to the needs of first
2. We also recognize that there are several places in the book where the end of the world is in focus.
3. There are some principles represented in the book that are seen throughout the history of the church.
4. We see the book's importance today as assuring Christians that the will of God is going to triumph in history and
at the last day.
1. T F The Preterist interpretation sees all the book of Revelations as having been fulfilled.
2. What is the problem with the Continuous History interpretation?
3. What is the problem with the Futurist interpretation?
4. What is the purpose of the book of Revelation?
5. What importance does the book have for us today?