Coolhand

The Book Of Revelation

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I have taken interest in the Book of Revelation these days. I have never really been interested it that much other than reading through it but not really studying it seriously. I have decide to devote some time and serious study to it. I have not really gotten started yet. I have been brushing up on my biblical Greek and some of the fundamental of the language. I intent on leaning heavily on the Greek and the Greek Old Testament for references to the Old Testament. It appears that the allusions to the Old Testament are sometimes from the Hebrew and sometimes from the Greek.

I haven't quite made up my mind in regard to how I feel about the book, other than I think it is interesting. I have been told/taught all my life that it was describing future events, but I'm not sure that I buy into the futuristic interpretation as a legitimate approach. They say there are four ways to approach the book: preterist, allegorical, ideological, and futurist; I kind of lean towards the preterist view currently, but am still undecided.

I have bought some exegetical commentaries on Revelation to assist. I have several of the regular type commentaries and though they seem to find some devotional value to the text, I am more interested in a high level of study. I was able to find four exegetical commentaries, so we'll see what they have to say.

I would be interested in hearing any opinions that people currently have about Revelation as well as any discoveries made from study of Revelations.

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I personally believe Revelation is 90% futuristic and allegorical, not so much preterism or ideological.. What you understand it to mean will be greatly influenced by whether you apply and interpret the symbolism to past or future events. jmo

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From an external point of view, prophecy of any form and in any book would have to be specific in order to be deemed as true prophecy. I have done little research in the area myself, but every single piece I have viewed and heard translated and interpreted could be said to describe numerous events, at which point the prophecy becomes too vague. Just my opinion, of course. It still can be interesting to study.

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Why?

One reason is personal interest. Another is the challenge because of the layers of symbolism. Also the familiarity of other biblical books (and possibly non biblical) required to make sense of the content of the book.

I've been told Revelation is like a crown jewel of Scripture that presupposes a mastery of all the other biblical work to really understand, however, I have heard and read opinions about what the book is supposed to be saying and have never been that impressed or convinced that anyone really knows.

It claims to be an unveiling or a revealing of Jesus Christ and his ultimate victory. That would make sense as a Bible book. The author seems to be a mystery, who or what the beasts and creatures in the book seem to be a mystery, when it was written also seems to be a mystery, and how to interpret the symbols also seems to be a mystery. I personally have wondered why the book was even in the biblical canon.

For centuries people have sought to find fulfillment of these symbols, beasts, creatures, and events within their own generation. As long as I can remember people in the churches that I was associated with in the past have used this book in a futuristic sense to prove the end is coming and is right around the corner and you better get ready.

I have read though it many times but never put any effort into study of it, and there is some Christian theology in there, but it is not explained, it is rather presumed that the reader gets it, I kinda like that. Much of the theology discussed in the Bible studies and sermons I have heard seems to get stuck on the smaller parts that make up the whole, and seems deductive where as the theology in Revelation is more big picture and more inductive; it doesn't really explain itself but gives the results (Chapters 2-4, the letters to the churches).

The best answer to "why" is probably personal interest.

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I know that the previous Arch Bishop of Canterbury referred to Revelations as a horrible book that only just made it into the bible. I also know that not all Christians like Revaltions and find Revelations as a contradiction to the teachings of Paul -See:- http://www.christian-community.org/library/revelheresy.html

I note that some Christians still do note accept it. The link also makes the point that revelations was only included into the canon in 508 AD and then under some protest.

Still this is about what you make of the writings rather than what others think of the book of Revelations.

Me - I think you know I am not impressed.

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And in the end, if I were Christian, I would not be living my life forward, but rather in the present. It is in the here and now that Christians make or break their way into heaven, yes? What does it ultimately matter what revelations says, when compared with the belief that those events will come to pass? If I personally believed in the bible, I would try my best to follow the teachings, and the book in question would not be of consequence, since it is supposed to be a series of future events that have not happened yet. I guess I would boil it down by saying, live as the best Christian you can, not because of some possible horrible future fate if you don't, but because of the message within the rest of the bible, if that makes sense? I can certainly understand studying for the sake of interest, however. I have done that with many MANY things. Ah, useless knowledge, such a wonderful tool for trivia night.

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Christianity is varied. Most would go with being a Christian by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus for their salvation. Some respect the bible's every word and some look for what has meaning or has context of the times. Sure they do not have total agreement between Christians but most recognise that the human race has a limited time on the earth before we all die. Most would agree with that as so would secular viewpoints. Christians believe they have been given a way to go forward despite this and that is found in Jesus. Hence, they try to gain understanding of the god they believe gave them that salvation and they believe one way is to study the bible. Others study the world and nature and the guiding Spirit. Some believe in creationism and others believe in evolution. Christianity is incredibly varied. Therefore I can understand where Cool is coming from even if I personally do not believe it is on a secure premise. Like I say it is not Christianity I have issue with or indeed any faith but its the dogma that some cannot see beyond that I feel threatened by. Just like Islam is nowadays is seen as a threat but the vast majority of followers are no threat at all. Its the extremists who justify terrible things by their unquestioning adherence to a flawed doctrine that are the problem (imo). Not Christians or indeed Muslims or any other faith.

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I for one hope Coolhand does get back to us on what his findings are in Revelation. I have read several other books on the subject and one thing is for sure...everyone studying it comes away with a different take. I'm one of those that likes to pile all the different takes together, shake 'em up and see what comes out in the pile.

I have to agree with Cool on part, so far I don't think anyone has figured out what Revelation is really saying...past, present or future...

Best of study prowess to ya Coolhand, please let us know what you discover!

Blessings of Peace,

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Whenever a street preacher hands me a tract about the end times; Revelation is cited as being about the future.  I'm not in position to say this is or is not correct.  I do know this is what is being pushed at street level.

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As I understand it - Revelations was written at a time of intense persecution. It seeks to talk about the church and what the writer feels are its errors. It then goes on to a near prediction and then an extreme prediction. Some say it uses visual language to hide its meaning from those who persecute. It is said to be a message of hope that there would be an end of the persecution. The language is vague and having multi interpretations (imo) and this is picked on many street preachers who wanting to impress people with fear and proof of the end times. Trouble is it can be applied to many periods of history. Thus giving some much to apply it too. Same goes when it is applied to the book of Daniel and some try to combine the predictions and make more permutations from it.  However, each to their own. 

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One thing many people fail to add into the mix when citing Biblical or other ancient Scripture is the differences in society. "Freedom of Speech" is a relatively new process guaranteed to only a part of the world even today. Cryptic and hidden messages were in nearly every work of writing in the Apostle's times, unless coming from the top leadership down, then it was pretty straight forward ...so YES Pete, agree fully Revelation written during times of persecution, and worst, if all taken into account..

In the early centuries CE most societies had a form of writing or poetry that disguised the author's intentions. During the times of Nostradamus and Shakespeare (two notorious rebels of their day) when their works are put into context of date and language, scathing to say the least. I can't help but think the same about Revelation.

Blessings of Peace,

(PS: Being in cryptic mode... I do not like not having the font choice when posting. I simply can't think in Arial! But then I am certain the peasantry did somehow pisseth off the guard, thus perpetuating their own limit of choices. Stoopid peasants. All hail the king! :(:rofl: )

Edited by Atwater Vitki

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True. If I was a Jew or a Christian in the times after the invasion of Jerusalem in 70AD you can bet I would want to disguise who I was and what I was saying. The Romans were murderous. Having slaughtered anyone in Jerusalem and crucifying those trying to escape and then to follow this up many brutal suppressions throughout the eastern empire.  It would pay to be very cautious. (imo).

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I'm getting off to a slow start in regard to my Revelations study. I have been listening to it audio bible style and also the Gospel of John. I'm curious about the author of Revelations. The author claims to be John, and it seems that there could be a couple of people that "john" could refer to. It seems to be a common thought that John is the apostle John. This is why I have taken to reading the Gospel John and Revelation to the similarities. There does seem to be a common theme of good and evil, and the thought that God and Jesus want to take residence with believers. I'm not saying that John the apostle is without a doubt the author, but that he could be.

I have been wondering about what is the appropriate hermeneutic approach to use with Revelation, and the bible in general. One might think with the number of classes I have taken in Bible College and seminary that I would have a good answer for that. I bring this up because of the authorship question. If it is the apostle John, then it would seem that the date would be mid-late to late first century. I can’t recall for certain, but I think Revelation was quoted by other writers as early as 125 AD.

Regarding the hermeneutic question, it seems the approach used by theologians and scholars is not he hermeneutic that was used by example of the biblical authors. Trained theologians seem to want to study the history, grammar, syntax, etc., try to determine authorial intent, and the original audience. By looking at how the New Testament writers handle the Old Testament, I have made the following conclusions:

1) The linguistics, grammar, and syntax don’t seem to be a thought or even discussed. The New Testament writers seem to refer to ancient translations as comfortably as the Hebrew text. The translation whether it is good or poor doesn’t seem to be an issue.

2) The New Testament writers don’t seem to be concerned with taking the parts of the Old Testament that they are quoting in any kind of context. They seem to make allusions out of narrative, and generally interpret things in a Christological sense even though it wouldn’t appear as if that was the Old Testament writer’s perspective. Almost like the New Testament writers high-jacked the Hebrew Scriptures to serve as illustrations for Christian topics.

3) Timothy says about the Bible ( probably referring to the Old Testament- I’m not sure what he would have had for New Testament scriptures, and what he would have thought would have been New Testament scripture) that it is profitable for correction, teaching, rebuke, and instruction in righteousness. He believed it was inspired or “God breathed”. To me that seems different than conservative viewpoint of infallible or inerrant. I don’t doubt the reliability of the Bible, but I don’t think the reliability of it can be measured without have all of the background, actual authorial intent, and context. Some of the books in the Bible they are not sure who wrote them, or when they were written, or what the point of them being written was. It is hard to use something with that much question surrounding for anything but devotional value, assuming that can be found in it.

 

Those things aside, I will say God speaks to me through the Bible, and he illuminates things to me that may not be in context with what the poetry or prose I and reading is saying; so I do believe in some kind of inspiration even though I know I don’t (can’t) interpret everything I read in there correctly.

 

My original intent was use the 4th Revised Edition Greek text to study the book, and I may get back to that, but I have abandoned that for the moment, mainly because of the numerous distractions that presents to someone like me. At one time I thought the study of Scripture would be best if done in the Hebrew for the Old Testament, and Greek for the New Testament. Then I got turned on to the Pe**ta (pesheeta in case the bad word filter blanks it out) which I was told was supposed to be the complete Aramaic New Testament which was about 100 years earlier than the oldest complete Greek text. That turned out to be a 4th century or later Syriac translation of the Greek. Syriac is like Aramaic but it is not what I thought it was. The Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament texts are not just one text that they found somewhere that clear up any and every doubt that  person like me can have. Rather, they are an aggregate translation/version in the original language that has been corrected and clarified by other translations/and versions both more and less recent, using other translations/version that are easier to understand to correct and understand some of the more confusing Hebrew and Greek parts. I am now trying to avoid the endless rabbit trails of following variant readings and the significance of each in favor of using a couple of English translations (NIV, NRSV, ESV) which use the most accurate and reliable manuscripts and versions, and the peer review of 100 scholars, 75 scholars, and 100 scholars respectively.

 

Having spent time recently in the Gospel of John and Revelation I feel I have a more simple approach and thoughts about Christianity, a return to the simplicity of the faith so to speak. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in 2015, stuff became really upside down for a while, and then I wound up discarding most of what I thought was important and worthwhile for the last 10-15 years. Spending time in the book of John has helped reaffirm the power of a simple faith in Jesus Christ, and the power of my own personal testimony, of what God has done in my life. In regard to the Christian faith, I would say that John is probably the most important book and that John 3:16 is the most important verse; just my opinion, but there seems to be such power in them.

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5 hours ago, Coolhand said:

Having spent time recently in the Gospel of John and Revelation I feel I have a more simple approach and thoughts about Christianity, a return to the simplicity of the faith so to speak.

A wise approach in which I believe the bible was meant to be read and absorbed. The many differing opinions of theologians and scholars only serve to cloud what was intended to be simple. Too much analysis confounds the simplicity of the gospel, and makes a simple message confusing. "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Matthew 11:25). Just read Revelation without all the conflicting opinions, its really not difficult to understand. jmo

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Yep! So simple Dan that people have been getting Revelations wrong for centuries.  I defy even you to explain all the beasts imagery. 

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23 minutes ago, Pete said:

Yep! So simple Dan that people have been getting Revelations wrong for centuries.  I defy even you to explain all the beasts imagery. 

They've been getting it wrong? REALLY? Who made YOU the arbiter of right and wrong in a book in which you have little or no regard?

Edited by Songster

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30 minutes ago, Songster said:

They've been getting it wrong? REALLY? Who made YOU the arbiter of right and wrong in a book in which you have little or no regard?

With so many interpretations, some people are bound to get it wrong.

Personally, I have no idea who is and who isn't.

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