Showing posts with the label Interpretation

New Testament Language

What was the original language of the documents that became the New Testament? For centuries, the scholarly consensus has been that it was written in the Koiné Greek dialect of the Eastern Roman Empire in the first century. However, there is a growing minority within the church that claims the New Testament was composed in the Hebrew or Aramaic language.

Hidden Mysteries Revealed

The Bible speaks of the “ mysteries ” of God, His ways that are hidden from human wisdom and defy our expectations. In his teachings, Jesus declared that not everyone can understand the “ mysteries of the kingdom .” It is God who reveals the deep and obscure things to whomever He pleases. And in His Son, He has done so for all who have “eyes that can see” to behold.

Jesus Interprets the Father

The prologue of  John  introduces key themes of his gospel -  Life, Light, Witness, Truth , and  Grace . Jesus is the Light of the world, the source of Grace and Truth, the True Tabernacle, the only born Son of God, and the only one who has seen the Father. It concludes by declaring that he is the only one who is qualified to interpret the unseen God.

Jesus is the Key

Jesus is the key that unlocks the Hebrew Scriptures and reveals the nature and redemptive purpose of God . Not only does Jesus play the central role in unveiling the plans of God, but he also is the very center of all his Father’s plans, especially the redemption of humanity. Only in Christ is the glory of the Creator of all things revealed, and only His Son is qualified to reveal His true nature. In him, all the promises of God find their fulfillment.

Unlocking Prophecy

Jesus, the Word become flesh, is the interpretive key that opens the Hebrew scriptures and the book of Revelation .  Jesus is the one who unveils the plans and mysteries of God, and only he is qualified to reveal the nature of the “ unseen God .” In him, all the promises of God find their fulfillment. He is the  INTERPRETIVE KEY  that unlocks the Hebrew scriptures and provides the correct understanding of prophecy, and this is especially so in the book of  Revelation .

Seven Bowls - Overview

Chapter 15 introduces the seven angels who unleash the “ seven last plagues on the earth ,” and chapter 16 describes their effects. These plagues are labeled “ last ” because they complete God’s “ wrath .” The “ seven bowls ” comprise the third sevenfold series of the book. Each series concludes with “ flashes of lightning, voices, and claps of thunder .”

I Came to be in Spirit

On four different occasions, John found himself “in the Spirit” and was transported to a new location where he received another vision .  In his first vision, John came to be “ in the spirit ” where he saw a vision of “ one like a son of man ” standing among the “ seven golden lampstands .” Now, in the fourth chapter, he “ came to be in the spirit  and was summoned to heaven to receive a vision about the “ throne ,” the “ sealed scroll ,” and the “ slain Lamb .”

Linear Chronological Sequence?

Are  Revelation ’s visions presented in chronological sequence as they unfold? If we assume this is the case, things quickly become untenable as key events are repeated over several visions. For example, the  “ sixth seal ”  culminates in the final day of wrath accompanied by celestial and terrestrial upheaval, yet the same events also occur in the “ seventh trumpet .”

Common Errors Interpreting Revelation

The relevance of Revelation for today is lost if we ignore its historical context and read it with incorrect presuppositions .  The book of  Revelation  presents a sweeping picture of the church age that highlights the real “wars” being waged behind the scenes of history, “battles” that manifest in the daily struggles of the church. Its visions show God working through the “ Lamb ” to implement His kingdom, and it begins in the first century with the “ seven churches of Asia .”

Call to Action

Through a series of seven beatitudes, Revelation summons believers to faithfulness despite hostility and persecution .  The book of  Revelation  is not a tool of divination for deciphering future mysteries. Instead, it summons God’s people to vigilance, right living, and perseverance in testimony during persecution. Its concern is not  when  certain events will occur, but  how  the churches must “ overcome ” and thus  arrive at the city of “ New Jerusalem .”

Second Division - Outline

The book of  Revelation  is divided into four main literary units, each identifiable by the entry of John “ into the Spirit ” and his relocation to a new visionary vantage point (Patmos, the Throne, the wilderness, “ great high mountain ”). Each division is easily subdivided into smaller units; for example, the series of “ seven trumpets ” - ( Revelation 1:9, 4:1-3, 17:3, 21:10 ).

Fourfold Structure

The book of Revelation is comprised of a prologue, the vision proper, and an epilogue. The vision falls into four recognizable divisions, and each commences when John finds himself “ in the spirit ” and is transported to a specific location. For example, the first vision begins with John on Patmos where he “ comes to be in spirit ” and sees a vision of the one “ like a son of man .”

Provided Interpretations

The book of  Revelation  itself provides several interpretations of its images. For example, it states that the “ seven golden lampstands ” represent seven churches. Likewise, “ stars ” are said to represent angels, “ incense ” portrays the “ prayers of the saints ,” and so on.

Revelation is an Unsealed Book

SYNOPSIS: Christians do not need to wait until History’s final years to understand the message of Revelation. The understanding of its visions was made plain to the first-century churches of Asia. Today, some voices claim that the correct understanding of many end-time prophecies will not be revealed until the “ last generation ” before the return of Jesus. Information still veiled will be decoded only in the last few years prior to the end of the age. Frequently, a key passage from the  book of Daniel  is cited to validate this claim.

Introduction to Revelation

The book of  Revelation  is an account of the visions received by John while in exile on the Isle of Patmos - “ on account of the testimony of Jesus .” The document was addressed to first-century Christian congregations located in seven cities of the Roman province of Asia, and most likely, it was penned in the late first century when Domitian was emperor (A.D. 81-96).

Introduction to Daniel

An introduction to the book of Daniel with a brief overview of how the book of Revelation applies passages from it .  The book of  Daniel  is a well-structured literary work, not a collection of folk stories or random and unrelated visions. At the very beginning, the key themes of the book are presented in brief, then worked out in detail in its subsequent chapters, and each new vision builds on the preceding ones.

Seven Churches - Overview

The visitation of Jesus to the churches of Asia prepares the reader for the visions that follow the seven letters .  In his vision, John sees a glorious figure “ like a Son of Man…in the midst of seven golden lampstands .” In the interpretation, it becomes clear that this is Jesus (“ I was dead, and I am alive forevermore ”), and the “ lampstands ” are identified as the “ seven churches of Asia ” that are under his ever-watchful care.

Revelation's Recipients

In its entirety, Revelation is addressed to seven churches located in the Roman province of Asia in the first century A.D .  From start to finish, the book of  Revelation  is addressed to the “ seven churches of Asia ,” and they do not fade from the picture in the later sections of the book. While it may include a larger audience,  Revelation  is first and foremost a message for those seven assemblies, and the significance of its visions cannot be understood apart from them.

Prologue to Revelation

The prologue presents the basic themes of the book and declares that the season of fulfillment has arrived  –  Revelation 1:1-3 .  Revelation’s  first paragraph details its purpose, key themes, main characters, and  how it communicates . Its purpose is  to reveal . Its protagonists are  God ,  Jesus , and the “ his servants .”   It is “ the prophecy ,” and its source is  God . The contents concern “ what things must come to pass ,” which provides its chronological perspective (“ soon ”).

Unsealed Scroll

At the close of his visions, an angel commanded Daniel “ to close the words and seal the book until the season of the end .” In contrast, in  Revelation , the “ scroll ” is unsealed, revealing its contents for all to see. Daniel was told to “ seal the scroll ,” but John is commanded  NOT  to do so. The verbal parallels are deliberate and telling.