God willing, beginning next Sunday night I will be presenting a study of The Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ (The last book in the Bible). As part of my preparation I have been probing people for their views of the End Times, their understanding of Revelation, and asking them what was both clear and unclear to them about eschatology (The study of last things).
I have come to a few conclusions: 1) Many in the church aren’t sure what to make of The Revelation. 2) There is a lot of confusion about Revelation and what it means. 3) It seems that most people came to their belief by listening to others and reading novels than studying the Scripture. 4) Most people think that Revelation is beyond their ability to understand.
Here are some of the comments and questions I’ve received…
“I don’t know enough about it to know what to ask!”
When is the rapture?
Why do some believe in a pre, mid, and post tribulation rapture?
When is the Tribulation?
What did the book mean to people in the first century? (Best question I’ve had asked!)
Who is the Antichrist?
What is meant by a millennial reign?
“How does this affect me? And after that, I could care less!”
What about the persecution mentioned in Revelation?
Who are the two witnesses?
“It seems everyone want to know only about themselves to avoid pain. What about the lost… those ‘Left Behind?'”
What do all the numbers mean?
Is the book relevant for today?!
Why are there so many different views on everything in the book?
What is literal and what is symbolic?
Interestingly, those are the very things I have wondered about through the years. I also realize that in myself I am incapable of answering any of those questions… but God through His Holy Spirit can and will answer them all.
Realizations. 1) To understand will take work, prayer, study, and reflection. 2) The hardest thing there is to overcome are preconceived beliefs about what the book means. 3) It is wrong to do anything other than let the text stand on its own. 4) It is impossible to understand The Revelation apart from…. a) Historical Context, b) Genre of writing, c) The Old Testament.
If you don’t mind… would you ask God to give me wisdom, insight, and discernment as I seek to understand His Word in order that I will glorify Him in the presentation of truth AND encourage His people as they hear? Thank you!