"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Is it appropriate to interpret Revelation as it relates to current events, or should it be interpreted wholly in light of its 1st century context? Cite references from your reading to support your answer.
One of the most misunderstood and confusing books of the Bible to read and understand may very well be the book of Revelation. Due to its detailed imagery, symbolism, and Old Testament/Jewish cultural references it is difficult to depict what it exactly means by just reading the book alone. In order to carry out a detailed Bible study or exegesis of Revelation, it often requires many resources such as historical dictionaries, concordances, and various commentaries. A book such as this should be treated with the utmost respect and sincerity. My first suggestion for the exegesis of Revelation would to be to learn as much about its form and authorial intent as possible. Secondly, the historical context of the writing would also find itself to be valuable. We must also keep in mind that we will not “get” everything right away from the book of Revelation that it lays down. Some things and revelations will come with time, discernment and the process of repetitive study not just of Revelation, but also the Old Testament itself.
Regarding whether Revelation covers current or historical events, we must study it for ourselves to make this determination and in what majority direction it goes. Our text points out some facts that we may find useful in the interpretive process. It mentions, “Jesus announced the nearness and even (partial) arrival of God’s kingdom (Mark 1:15; Luke 11:20). The presence of God’s kingdom suggests the eschatological fulfillment of the prophetic promises regarding the son of David, the restoration of Israel, and the renewal of creation.” The confusion is not with the symbolism and metaphorical references as our text points out, “No one doubts that Revelation is saturated with symbolism, but not all agree on what those symbols mean.” How we interpret the book of Revelation is all up to how it is viewed and what our preconceived ideas are before viewing it. What are our outside influences such as theological background, culture, experiences, and motives? Our text reiterates this by saying, “Finally, your eschatological perspective becomes the theological lenses which influence how you answer the historical questions and how you interpret the book’s symbols.”
Our text explains that there are “four different and basic interpretive schools of thought,
Preterist: believe the events of Revelation unfolded in the first century.
Historicist: These interpreters believe that, “vision as forecasting the course of history in Western Europe with particular emphasis on popes, kings, and wars.”
Idealist: the Idealist believes in the enhanced symbolism of Revelation and that the events that unfold are the symbolic struggle between that which is evil and good.
Futurist: these believers are under the impression that Revelation is strictly “futuristic” in nature. There are two main schools of thought for futurists, which are “dispensationalists” and “modified/moderate futurism.”
My interpretation is that Revelation provides us with an intricate web of both 1st century past, present, and future which are woven together perfectly to prevent the prediction of the inevitable apocalyptic arrival. It is the typical style and fashion of the Lord Jesus Christ’s way of doing things to shroud it in symbolism and mystery. Today’s church has been the ongoing recipient of the blessings of knowledge regarding God’s Word, in contrast to the world which gains more of man’s foolish knowledge. It is for this reason that I take a balanced approach to say that many of these events may be similar to and speak of spiritual war of the past and present, while most depicts what is to come in the future. I rely upon God’s Word and insightful accurate resources to guide me in a safe direction for determining how to best understand God’s warnings in the book of Revelation.
 Andreas J Köstenberger, and Richard D. Patterson, "Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology." (2011) 518. Accessed July 8th, 2017. , http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/kregel/2011/invitation-to-biblical-interpretation_exploring-the-hermeneutical-triad-of-history-literature-and-theology_ebook_1e.php
 Patterson and Köstenberger. “Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. 518
 Ibid. 522
 Ibid. 522
 Ibid. 523
 Ibid. 523
 Ibid. 524-525