August 24, 2023

How to Approach the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation has fascinated and perplexed readers for centuries. Some people view it as a code to be cracked, others as a scary book to be avoided.  But one thing remains clear: the church needs it.

In this episode, Whit and Casey talk about how we should approach the book of Revelation and its significance both for the historical church and our own personal journeys.

Check Out the Episode:

Revelation is a Prophecy and a Letter.

Most of us know Revelation as a picture of what’s to come. But what will happen at the end won’t only be happening at the end. We have to realize the reality of what’s happening in the drama of Revelation is already happening.

While Revelation does offer a glimpse into the future, it is equally a letter that speaks to the concerns of the past.  John is writing to people and churches he most likely personally knew: real people going through real persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire.

If we make the book purely about our future, we stripped it of its meaning for the people it was written to at the time it was written. But if we look at it only as a relic of the past, we miss its prophetic power.

The drama depicted in its pages is not confined to a distant finale; it resonates with the present reality.

We are Called to Obey It.

Revelation is not just meant to stimulate interest but to influence action.

Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” The word “keep” can be understood to mean obedience.

This is the nature of the Word of God. We are supposed to hear and do (James 1:22-25).

Revelation challenges us to live each day with intentionality, to make choices in light of the imminent return of Christ. It’s not a call to abandon our responsibilities in this world but rather to infuse every facet of our lives with the hope we have in Christ’s second coming.

Navigating Apocalyptic Literature

The word “apocalypse” may remind you of the countless movies portraying zombies or explosions. But the word simply means a revelation, a revealing, an uncovering.

John writes in imaginative language, which can sometimes blur the lines between symbolism and literal representation. This is why we can’t separate it from the context of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of apocalyptic literature.

If we read it in a story format, what we’re meant to feel and take away from it becomes clear. The story unfolds like an epic drama and the imagery ignites our imagination.

Being taken out of our world helps us see what we wouldn’t see otherwise. Just like being out in creation looking at a beautiful mountain or a starry night sky can change our perspective, Revelation helps us see things we otherwise wouldn’t see.

Revelation Calls Us to Worship.

People  often don’t come to the book in worship but out of curiosity. However, eschatology (the study of end things) should always begin with doxology (praise to God).

We must come to the book with the desire to see Jesus for who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s doing.

Revelation should be beautiful. It should draw our heart. It reveals Christ for who He and reminds us of God’s sovereignty across all ages. It’s a story that reframes our perspective, strengthens our resolve, and calls us to worship. 

The book is both a letter to the present and the future–from the God who is, who was, and is to come.


Show notes:

Watch the Message: How to Navigate the Book of Revelation 



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