In this series of articles we will examine the book of Revelation. It is a book about which many are confused. This partly has to do with the nature of the book since it is written in apocalyptic style; something with which our age is unfamiliar. It is also—and largely—due to false teachers spreading error and/or promoting their pet theories from the book.
A source I used extensively is Homer Hailey’s commentary on the Revelation. For those of you familiar with his work, you will recognize some similarities. However, other sources were used in the research and occasionally I had an original thought (that is supposed to be funny). Anyway, have your Bible open and consider the things we have to say with regard to this final book of the New Testament.
Let us turn our attention to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Various people have differing attitudes about different books in the Bible. Some neglect the Old Testament because they do not feel it is relevant today. Of course, Romans 15:4 says it is. Others are obsessed with Revelation and cannot seem to think about any other portion of Scripture. Still, there are those who avoid studying Revelation at all costs. They view it as too confusing and difficult to understand, let alone apply in their daily lives. This is truly sad because God did not reveal and preserve this book for His own amusement. We have it today by His grace and for our benefit.
All Scripture is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). This includes Old Testament examples (1 Cor. 10:11). The Bible gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). Revelation, as stated before, can be a blessing to us. If we ignore it, we are ignoring that which is profitable. A proper understanding of the book will encourage us in our faith and trials.
Basic Facts & Thoughts
The author of the book is John the apostle (Rev. 1:1). It is interesting to note that when Peter was told about his future and he asked Jesus about John, that Jesus said, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” (Jn. 21:22). Did Jesus have the Revelation in mind?
Various views are held about when the book was written. Some hold that John penned it before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Many others believe it was written around 96 A.D. The former view believes Revelation is focused on Jerusalem and the Jews, while the latter sees the book talking about Rome and its fight against Christians. As we study through the book we will see evidence that leans in favor of the later date, 96 A.D.
Yes, there are many, many people in the denominational world at-large that hold Revelation is addressing modern-day events. They see it being fulfilled now or very shortly. There are two basic problems with this. First, there have been countless modern-day applications/interpretations that confusion reigns and proves the futility of all such speculations. Second, the book itself tells us the basic time-frame of fulfillment, “things which must shortly take place” (Rev. 1:1). This forces us to understand the primary application of the book was centuries ago, not now. More on this later.
The title of the book is Revelation or Apocalypse, which basically means “laying bear, making naked” or “an uncovering.” The idea is that God is uncovering a message for His people. Something they could not see and did not understand would be made know in the series of visions.
We will continue in the next article by looking at symbolic language and some basic rules of interpretation.
Steven F. Deaton
 Thayer, Joseph Henry. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, A. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
 Vine, W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.