Of all the New Testament writings, the Book of Revelation is perhaps the most difficult to understand. It has certainly given rise to conflicting and sometimes bizarre interpretations, especially as its meaning if often expressed through the use of symbolic language.
We mustn’t ignore the difficulties. At the same time we mustn’t exaggerate them either. God did not give us this book in order to confuse and frighten us, but to reveal his character and purposes and to encourage us to live loyally to Jesus as our King.
Revelation is a book of realism and hope. It will take us through dark times, help us to understand the true nature of the moral, intellectual and spiritual conflict we are in and bring us out into the light of a glorious and eternal future.
There are a variety of ways of approaching Revelation. One is to see it as a database of key information regarding the events and chronology of the final days leading up to the return of Christ. Under this approach, the information supplied by Revelation is then collated with that found in other Bible books such as Daniel with the goal of constructing a systematic understanding of ‘end times’.
While that is a perfectly valid and helpful approach, it is not the approach we are taking in this set of studies. Rather we are attempting to look at Revelation as a book in its own right; exploring how it is organised, highlighting its major themes and identifying and applying its unique message.
We will not be attempting to cover every detail – that would be impossible. This is more of an ‘introduction to the Book of Revelation’. As the book itself tells us, Revelation is all about the ‘things that are’ and ‘the things that are to take place after this’. We encourage you to join us on our journey of discovery in this part of God’s word.