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"Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this." Revelation 1:19

I don’t believe that anyone has problems with the fact that Revelation is a prophecy. The problem in studying Revelation is a modern belief that it's an “end day prophecy”, as in only applicable to a few years before the world ends. Contemporary beliefs of prophecies place the purpose of Revelation on foretelling future events from OUR time rather than Johns. Even with prophecies for the Jews in the Old Testament, there is always a foretelling of events, but this is not the purpose of prophecy. The purpose of prophecies is a correction for God's people.

The book of Revelation should be approached in the same manner as prophecies in the Old Testament. The main difference is that Old Testament prophecies were specific for the people of God under the old covenant and the actions they were doing at the time of the prophecy; and Revelation is specific for the people of God under the
Renewed Covenant and the actions which God foreknew they would fall into from the time which the apostles would retire to their grave to the time which the Messiah would return. The first understanding we must grab onto is that Revelation is relative to the 1st century and to the 21st century, as well as ALL era’s of time between. This is why there's a blessing for anyone who reads, hears, and does what is written in the book (Revelation 1:3) - ANYONE.

In chapter 1:19 we see where Christ tells John to write what he has seen, the things that are taking place in his time, and the things that will take place in the future. There's three statements of time here and we need to remember these three statements when studying this book. Unfortunately, human nature tends to grab ahold of only the last statement or question in a series. This is often the case as with
Matthew 24 where Jesus was asked three questions and people only relate what He said to the last question. Revelation is no different on how people translate it.

Revelation needs to be understood on three levels.
1. There's a generational level. Each generation will deal with what is written in this prophecy. It's a prophecy correcting the condition of the church through all ages. Remember, this was written to the church's in Asia but there's also a blessing for anyone who reads, hears, and does what is written.

2. There's a personal level. Each person and/or church must deal with what is written in this prophecy. The blessing for "he who reads", or anyone who reads, does not only tell us this prophecy is for each generation but this prophecy is personal. In your Christian walk, and even a churches walk, you will have to deal with events in this prophecy in your personal life. This is why we must properly grasp the symbolism being used or we will miss the warning.

3. There's a historical level from the time of John. I wanted to include "from the time of John" because the
end days has been going on for some time. End days is not talking about the last few days, months, years of the world's history but rather the last age of this world planned by God. There was 2000 years from creation to Abraham (one age), 2000 years from Abraham to Christ (second age), and will be 2000 years from Christ to His return (last age).

Therefore, when studying this book be sure to look at the warnings and don't think future alone and don't get caught up in trying to figure out if the symbols mean something in the world today. Rather, take a look at your walk with God and see if you may be suffering from what is being warned about because Revelation is a warning to God's people. We will tend to walk through these different issues personally.

Speaking of symbols…John was told to "write what you see in a book…" (1:11). I want you imagine taking a person who never left a small town in central America, who never saw a TV, never saw a cell phone, never saw a computer or movie, they've only read books. Take that person and place them at the edge of the Grand Canyon and tell them to write what they see in a book. What they will do is write what they know from their culture and books they've read. They will use what they know to describe what they see and this will allow people they know to better understand what is being seen as well.

The scenario above is exactly what's happening in Revelation. John taps into Old Testament text to describe what he is seeing. The people in the church of Asia knew what he was talking about but we miss this truth because of bad interpretation by trying to connect the symbols to things of today. This book was written to the first-century church and they understood the symbols otherwise this book would not be a blessing for them as they wouldn't understand what was being said. Things like 666, beasts, crowns, women, whores and harlots, and many more things were used in Old Testament writings. We need to connect the meanings in those texts to what we are reading and we will understand, at least a little better, how this prophecy effects all generations, each Christian personally, and the church in the end of an age.

I will not tell you that I have a full grasp on this book. If anyone says they do then I'd suggest turning around and walking the other direction. We know in part and we prophecy (teach) in part (1 Corinthians 13:9-12). What I do understand is the purpose of the book and who it was written to. The book tells us the truths, as I have shown. The portions that I believe I understand I will have in this prophecy section and hopefully I will be able to explain them in a way that you will better understand how to read the book and gain knowledge in areas I may not have at this time.

God Bless