I used to be afraid of the book of Revelation. It is chock full of many still-to-come prophecies that are sometimes hard to understand, and a lot of it frightened me. The beast, the destruction upon the earth, would God really do all of that?
Our wonderful pastor just finished teaching through Revelation last year, and I was able to understand so much more. It is the notes from his sermons that I’ll be using as I go through this book, and any errors, are of course, mine. 🙂 My prayer is that God will continue to use me, and that I’ll stay out of His way!
The apostle John wrote this book while exiled and imprisoned on the island of Patmos. And I’m anxious to talk about him- as I said before, he is my favorite disciple. 🙂 And I love history! However, I should start with hermeneutics- “to study, interpret, understand the Bible in its significant, literal, grammatical, historical, natural meaning.”
When we read a book, we read it as the author wrote it, not reading into it what he may have said or should have said or we thought he said. So, too, should the Bible be read and studied. Our pastor gave us these 7 guidelines:
1. Follow the customary usage of the language. Let the words be understood in the way of that day and time. Also, look at the syntax, where the word is positioned, the voice, mood, and tense.
2. Commit no historical blunders. Look at it in the context of history and its place in the Bible. The writing of the Bible covers a span of 1,500 years. To really dig deeper and make sure you are correct, look at it in the Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek- the original languages it was written in.
3. Make Jesus Christ the center in ALL your interpretation of Scripture- it is all about HIM, all of history is His story.
4. ALWAYS, at ALL times, be conscious of context. Don’t just take a verse out of the passage without reading the verses around it. You need the entire story.
5. Recognize the progress of the Revelation itself. It unfolds to us progressively and gradually as we study through the Bible, from beginning to end. The first prophecy of Messiah is in Genesis 3!
6. Usually only grant one interpretation to each passage. The Bible is God’s Word, and He wrote it to be understood clearly. NO secret codes or mysteries or hidden messages.
7. There are some passages that are double meanings or prophecies- choose the simplest, most logical, most credible, based on the context of the ENTIRE Bible.
Revelation, here we come! 🙂