Revelation Chapter 1. The Preterist Interpretation. Typical Outline: Revelation 1-3 records messages to 7 literal churches of the 1 st century Revelation 4-20 symbolizes the 1 st century church’s immediate past, present, and immediate future
It is recent in origin
It is a minority view
It does not seem to work well with passages throughout the book that present “end of the age” imagery
The extreme version that denies a future second coming of Christ is an unnatural reading
A reasonable interpretative method will listen to the preterist emphasis upon the 1st century context, but will not limit the book
Not popular until recently
Used by some Protestant Reformers
Dose not work well with the emphasis in the opening chapter that the message of Revelation is relevant to its 1st century readers
Conclusions constantly being revised
Strong liberal hermeneutic of this view does not fit apocalyptic literature
Too elaborate unless you take the dispensational premillennial view
1-3 records messages to 7 literal churches of the 1st century
4-19 depicts key historical events and periods from the 1st century to Christ’s return
20 depicts a 1,000 year millennial reign on earth from Christ and the nation of Israel (or spiritual Israel)
21-22 depicts heaven
Goes back to the Middle Ages
Conclusions drawn form this methodology are constantly being revised as history continues
Does not work well with passages that introduce events out of chronological order
Minimal relevance to the original 1st century readers
If you are not a dispensational premillenialist it does not work well
This approach emphasizes the symbolism of Revelation as teaching spiritual lessons rather than expecting literal fulfillment.
The prevailing lesson pertains to the constant warfare between good and evil, both in Heaven and on earth.
Very popular with some throughout history
What is the problem with this?
Does not see the future aspects or the historical aspects that are evident
1-3 messages to 7 literal churches of 1st century
4-20 symbolizes the conditions in which the church must always live and minister (done is six different ways)
21-22 symbolizes the ultimate destiny of the church (heaven)
Apparent in the early Church
Augustine made it very popular (354-430 AD)
Best accounts for the apparent repetition of events throughout the book
Follows precedent of the other prophetic passages in which God uses repeated visions with different story lines to tell the same basic idea
Seems best to fulfill the intent of the book that it is relevant to the 1st century reader and to the all subsequent readers
Purpose of the book:
The emphasis of the book is to encourage Christians to persevere in their commitment to Christ even in the midst of suffering
Key text is Rev. 1:9
It is both a promise and a demand
Promise of His Providence
Demand to be His witnesses
First, one ought not to expect to receive here a guaranteed, valid interpretation of all figures. God cannot tell us of the future with such a certainty that takes away the freedom of man’s will as he lives out his period of probation
Second, one should not to expect to put the figurative on a literal screen.
Finally, one should not expect for everyone to agree
First, a focus on the main point of God’s purpose in revealing the truths recorded in Revelation.
Second, one should expect to think and imagine.
Third, one should be encouraged to be alert to the signs of the time.
Last, one should expect to apply the principles urged in the book of Revelation to one’s own life
God is awesomely majestic, as well as sovereign in our troubles
The sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God ultimately brings complete deliverance for those who trust Him
God brings judgment on the world to avenge His people
In the end God will judge, no matter how it looks now
We can view our early sufferings from a different perspective from heaven
When we proclaim Christ, persecution is not far behind in this age
Christ is worth dying for
There is a great contrast between God’s Kingdom (the bride, the new Jeruslem) and the world’s values (the prostitute and Babylon)
God will include all people groups of all times in His plans
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
Tells us that symbolism is going to play a large role.
To communicate with signs and symbols
John 12:32-33 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.
John 21:18-19 "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.“ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."
Daniel 2:28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end."
God’s time is not our time 2 Peter 3:8
He may well be waiting patiently for more to come to Him Matt. 24:14; 2 Peter 3:9, 12
We should be ready at any time Mark 13:32-37; 1 Thess. 5:2
However, we should not set deadlines on God’s plan
1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near
14:13 ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’
16:15 Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.
19:9 ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’
20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
22:7Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.
22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Luke 11:28 But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, "Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on."
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne
Significance of the number 7
Colossians 4:16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
Father Exodus 3:14-15
Isaiah 11:2-3 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears
and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Why do you think he put Jesus last in the list?
The word is marturia
Jesus was the original marturia
Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.“ Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"
What does this mean?
He was the first with immortality
We will be the second
This is a passage of hope
Col. 1:18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.
1 Cor. 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
He conquered death and won the victory
Why would this be comforting to readers? Why would it be for us?
Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.
It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky." Selah
Speaks of the blood redeeming
He says we are a kingdom of priests
Exodus 19:6 ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
How would you define a kingdom?
What is needed to have a kingdom?
Is the kingdom in place right now?
Col. 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love
Notice that verse 6 says made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father
What does it mean to be a priest?
What is the role of a priest?
Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name
Hebrews 13:16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Romans 15:16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 2:17-18 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.