Reflections on Revelation #4

Day 4

Revelation 1:1 states that “He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” The Greek word translated “signify” (NLT has “present”) means to show by symbolic signs. While John is seeking to explain and not obscure, all John’s visions are housed in symbolic language that draws entirely from the Old Testament writings. All the books of the Bible culminate in Revelation. All the imagery, symbolism, illusions, quotes, references and typology come from the OT. In following the threads through the maze this is a vital key that will unlock our understanding. The book of Revelation must be interpreted by the Bible alone and not men’s ’ideas.’ When we understand this, it helps us avoid panic theology or newspaper exegesis. It also helps us make correct interpretations that are not based on speculation. So the key for today – allow scripture only to interpret the book of Revelation. Think like a Jew or fail!

Thus for the most part, the language used to describe Revelation’s prophecies must not be interpreted literally, unless it clearly points to a literal meaning. While the scenes and events predicted are real, they usually were expressed in symbolic language. Keeping in mind the largely symbolic character of Revelation will safe guard us against distorting the prophetic message and imposing a meaning that comes from human imagination or the current meaning of these symbols in contemporary culture. God has portrayed the future, in the language of the past, because we know how He has acted in the past and we can therefore have confidence in what He will do in the future. Whatever our present circumstance we must keep a view of the big picture before us.

God’s final victory is GAURANTEED because the decisive battle has ALREADY been fought and WON. Revelation was written to spiritually arm 1st Century Christians for the task of the universal spread of the Gospel.

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