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Purpose of the Revelation

Discussion in 'Bibliology & Hermeneutics' started by Aino, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Aino

    Aino God's own

    I'm not a new christian anymore - I've had living faith or the last five years now. However I think I would still appreciate some insight on the purpose of having Revelation in the Bible, as well as how it were reasonable to read it. I have read through it twice and to me, it seemed to be a prophecy about the end times. The problem is that it seems really hard to see what things it's supposed to mean or not mean - every single age so far has thought that it's all about their time in particular and we still haven't seen the world end, have we? And if t's not supposed to help us see when the end approaches then what function does it serve to know all about it?

    Another interpretation I've heard is that it would have been a form of giving consolation to the early christians who were severely persecuted and that it were written in a secret code language of some sorts so that others wouldn't understand... But how can we then know that it is exactly that and not what it seems to say? Because that just sounds confusing... And then I also don't feel very persecuted, so I don't think it would matter to me if this theory were true. [I understand the Bible is written for others then me too but shouldn't it's content be somewhat relevant to every christian?]
  2. Tim Myers

    Tim Myers Regular Member

    "Another interpretation I've heard is that it would have been a form of giving consolation to the early christians who were severely persecuted....."

    That is my belief, Aino.....and that's all I will say.......
  3. Aino

    Aino God's own

    OK well thanks for that.:)
  4. ittarter

    ittarter Non-Metaphysical Christian Critic

    Not really a secret code language, but they couldn't go right out and say "Nero is the tool of Satan on earth" in writing, lest they subject themselves to even more persecution. To identify their persecutors with the powers of evil which will ultimately be destroyed by Christ -- clearly this gives them hope, perhaps enough to keep them from recanting under pressure.

    Of course the meaning of a lot of the symbolic language of the book is heavily debated so I don't mean to say that we understand it perfectly. However I believe the larger contours are fairly clear -- at least in terms of the book's purpose.

    As to your final question, I don't understand why you'd think that everything in the Bible would always be relevant to you at every second. However if you look at Revelation in terms of "the church is under fire" then of course it is still the case. The church every day is tempted to capitulate to both internal corruption and external force, all over the world. Yet we must stand for something greater than all that and not let go. I'm not persecuted either -- I live in a country where my freedom of religion is a legal right -- but there are other ways of seeing how the truth of the book applies to me, my community, and the global church.
  5. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

  6. MPaul

    MPaul Covered by the Blood

    The main competition to Christianity in ancient times was Greek theater – and attending a drama was an act of worship. Ephesus had the largest theater in the Roman Empire, with seven windows for background art. People came from all over Asia Minor to see the plays and to visit the temple of Artimus. Ephesus was a port, and there was a marble road going straight to the theater with a colonnade.

    The literary structure of Revelation matches the architectural structure of the Ephesus theater perfectly. To follow Revelation easily, note there are seven sections, each with an introduction and seven elements. Note also, that the seven sections then form a chiasmus – an ancient literary structuring device based on inverted parallelism. (For instance – the Illiad and the Odyssey is set out as a chiamus. Or for a biblical for instance, Luke and Acts have a chiastic structure). The center of the chiasmus focused on the main message, and everyone knew to look there for understanding. However, plays did not have to be actually performed. They were often read by people in a social setting – like in the living room after dinner. The very popular plays of Seneca were not performed for a long time.

    Thus, Revelation offered an alternative to pagan religion in a format Greeks understood. It's primary emphasis was to set out end time prophecy, but as a theater production its main purpose was to emphasize that all of life is spiritual warfare – that is emphasized by the center of the chiasmus. Interacting with Revelation as a play, the spectator comes out thinking of his/her utter dependence on God to withstand the attack of the enemy in life.

    This is actually a complex subject, understanding how the bible utilizes drama and requires extensive study to appreciate. A lot of the ancient theater of Ephesus still remains.

    I recommend reading Revelation in the Montgomery New Testament. I think this is the best rendering of the language in English as drama, and when Revelation is set out in its dramatic and chiastic structure, its beauty is overwhelming. I had just noted in another thread, that I thought the Montgomery New Testament was in the public domain now. If so, I intend to set out the book of Revelation on my website in its true literary structure using the Montgomery version. (No, Helen Montgomery was not a relation – the name similarity to mine is just a coincidence). I hope this happens sooner, rather than later, but I have too much going on now.
  7. Mose

    Mose Newbie

    Revelation describes the things that were to shortly happen with the closing of the house of Abraham. Jesus had entered into God's rest and all things were placed under him. The Apostle Paul said there were no more Jews nor Gentiles only whosoever believed that Jesus was the Christ.
  8. plmarquette

    plmarquette Veteran

    Revelation speaks of the end times (apocolyptic times)

    read as any other book of the bible...
    judgements, persecuations, plagues, 2 witnesses, the return of Jesus, the one world apostasy....that we might recognize what is coming and be prepared...
  9. Taylor Lee

    Taylor Lee Oppinionated Self-Acclaimed Apologist

    The book of Revelation is not merely a book describing the endtimes as many will have it to be, although it does, but it does not give great detail of many events and uses symbolism, yet as it says in 2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

    I do not believe there are hidden messages but I believe that the book of Revelation was written for the purpose to of being a Revelation of Christ in glory, omnipotence, omniscience, and holiness.
  10. LinuxUser

    LinuxUser Well-Known Member

    I take the second view. I believe that Revelations was a code for those early Christians it was written to. For along time I thought it was future but everytime something big came up they were the baddies of Revelations. I began to study and that is when I became a Partial Preterist
  11. kc990

    kc990 Blessed Through Christ

    Revelation (Introductions). Right off the Bible.

    That said, yes it was for the people who were suffering and being persecuted during that time. The introductions clearly states Christians of this day would not be able to understand it because of the symbolic language, but nevertheless, I don't think the revelation should be disregarded. The purpose of the Revelation is to make (not only for the persecuted during that time, but) every Christian aware that during the end of times, God will defeat all evil and that we almost must remain faithful for Jesus' second coming, to have a place in Heaven.

    Back in the days when Jesus has not been born, the scriptures of Judaism were also a set of revelations to the people back then. And through Christ many, many, many years later, those prophecies were fulfilled. In the same manner as well, the prophecies in the Revelation will be fulfilled. Just because it doesn't make sense now, it doesn't mean it's not going to happen. It just means the events of Revelation is far from us at the moment. (I don't think you'd want to experience the events anyways).

    For God, the statement "The ending is near" is true, because one day of God is like one century for us.
  12. papaJP

    papaJP Prophet

    I must start this with saying I am close to finishing a word study and commentary on the Book of Revelation. The book of revelation is the last book of the Bible and is the completion chapter that tells us about the end of the age and explains much about the previous books of the Bible.
    Chapters 1 to 4 are summary chapters that tell the story of the end of the age. Chapters 5 through 18 are seperate visions that are not sequential and overlat at times. These visions are to give us details and is written in symbolic language and without God and much prayer will be difficult to understand. Chapter 19 and 20 are the finish and completion of what the end of the age will be.

    If you do not "know" the rest of the Bible revelation will be difficult. I find that almost every verse in revelation points either through words or content back to many verses in the Bible.

    I will tell and continue to tell all who study the Bible to pray first and seek the revelation from God of what He wants you to know during that reading or study.

    After many months I can tell you that I do not have all the answers or never will. However I learn every day and God is faithful to reveal truth every time I open the Bible.
  13. childofdust

    childofdust Newbie


    Well said. And that's one of many reasons I take issue with it (the Apocalypse proper—not the letters) because the gospel message that Yeshua gave to his disciples and that they spread to the world is completely different. Any so-called scripture that tries to hide the truth in shadows and symbols that bewilder even the elect cannot be scripture at all. Although I despise Luther, I have to agree with him:

    You hit the nail on the head with your point—the Revelation has led incalculable believers into trickery and deception. Almost every wayward sect of Christianity was begun by the fruit of Revelation...and it will continue to do so, now and forever more, untold millions being led astray into new cults and end time movements, so that even the very Church of Christ should be rocked for all time. If you know a tree by its fruit, you know that Revelation (the Apocalypse, not the letters) is a scourge of unrighteousness--a foul stain and mockery of Christ.

    Bingo. It doesn't tell us anything useful to our faith as the Church, it doesn't do anything to convert those who are lost, and the person and character of Christ is not known in it. Again, as Luther recognized (and it pains me to agree with the cursed man):

    Christ showed us the way to follow and the early church followed it: persecution, suffering, and death out of love for our enemies – not hiding in seclusion and dreaming of the day when our enemies will be annihilated. Paul himself stood up before all principalities and powers and preached the gospel clearly and boldly. And he was put to death for it. That is the way of Christ and his church. The way of anti-Christ is couching our words in mysteries and refusing to tell the truth to those in power over the earth so we can save our own skins and they can perish.

    It does stink of psuedo-Gnostism – the only way anyone can be sure what it means is if they have some secret, hidden knowledge (Gnosis) about what it's really saying. It is clearly not something a follower of Christ would have written because no one who was blind and was made to see would write something that covers over the eyes of others and makes them unable to.

    You know a tree by its fruit. And you obviously know the fruit of Revelation. So what more do you need?