Revelation: Introduction

My small group wanted to look at Daniel and Revelation.  The theme of both books is basically the same:  God is in control, or God wins out in the end.  In both books the people the book was delivered to would be in serious doubt as to whether God was really in control of anything.  In the case of the Book of Revelation Roman persecution was on the rise and many of God’s people were losing their lives for not worshipping the emperor.  John was exiled to Patmos, a Greek Isle.  He lived an exceptionally long time and wrote this book after a vision in about 95 A.D.

The book is written in the apocalyptic genre.  Like Daniel, the imagery is highly symbolic. For example the number 7 shows completeness. In many cases the book tells us what the symbolism represents, but in many cases we must use our imagination.  Using our fallen imagination can result in a level of understanding, but we can not be overly dogmatic.  Some people have seen symbolic portrayal of nuclear war and helicopters, others think that the events of Revelation have already happened.  The main four interpretations of Revelation are:

  1. Preterist:  Everything has happened.
  2. Historicists:  The book lays out an overview of history as a whole.
  3. Futurists:  The book is mostly set in the End Times.
  4. Idealists:  The book relays events that occur in cycles at various times.

I am in the futurist camp.


  1. Who wrote Revelation?
  2. When was it written?
  3. Why was it written?
  4. What kind of writing is it?
  5. What are the four modes of interpretation of Revelation?

Going Deeper

Not how an artist like Prince writes his song 7 in an apocalyptic style.  He draws heavily from the kind of imagery Revelation is written in.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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