The book of Revelation is often very hard to understand because of its "visions and elaborate symbolism" (Mounce, 1992, p. 39). Because of the many visions and symbols that come from the book of Revelation there are several different approaches to interpreting it including the idealist view, the preterist view, the historicist view, and the futurist view. This paper will discuss the four main approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation and the approach that is most consistent with my personal beliefs of the book of Revelation.
Idealism, also known as the nonliteral or allegorical approach (Walvoord, 1989, p. 16), interprets the book of Revelation by stripping away "the symbolic language of any predictive value and reduces the prophecy to a picture of the continuous struggle between good and evil, the church and the world, and of the eventual triumph of Christianity" (Gundry, 2003, p. 508). An idealist views the book of Revelation as a "theological poem setting forth the ageless struggle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness" (Mounce, p. 43). The idealist approach ultimately interprets the book of Revelation in a "spiritual" way, meaning that the book of Revelation "reflects the conflict between Satan and God, of evil and of good, that has been going on in this world ever since Eden" (Tenney, 1991, p. 145). The idealist also believes that the conflict between good and evil that is portrayed in the book of Revelation should be applied to the church of the period in which Revelation was written and that the symbols that are in the book of Revelation have no historic connection with any social or political events for that time un...
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...important for the reader of the book of Revelation to understand that focus of the book is on Christ's second coming for which we know not the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36).
Gundry, Robert H. (2003). A survey of the new testament. (4th ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Hanke, Howard A. (1981). The thompson chain-reference bible survey. Waco: Word Books Publisher.
Mears, Henrietta C. (1987). What the bible is all about. Ventura: Regal Books.
Mounce, Robert H. (1992). The new international commentary on the new testament: the book of revelation. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Tenney, Merrill C. (1991). Interpreting revelation. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The Holy Bible. (1997). New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Walvoord, John F. (1989). The revelation of jesus christ. Chicago: Moody Press.
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