In order to understand the book of Revelation theologians use general models of interpretation to try to correlate the visions of Revelation with events on earth.
If you have already read books or watched videos on Revelation you have probably encountered the terms “preterist, historicist and futurist”. These are models of interpretation that many commentators start out with as they seek to make sense of what is arguably the most confusing book of the Bible.
But how helpful are they?
The most common models are preterism, which sees the visions as applying to the time they were written (first and second centuries); futurism, which applies most of Revelation to the future “time of trouble”; and historicism, which interprets the prophecies as covering the span of history.
The short overview of the development of these models of interpretation shows us that they had less to do with an analysis of Revelation and the Bible, and more to do with the factions and rivalries within the Christian Church. These three models, along with idealism which treats Revelation as an allegory, are still the most widely used frameworks for interpreting Revelation.
We need to bear in mind that if we start our study of Revelation with a preconceived model, we are likely to let the model determine our interpretation rather than the Bible.
For example, if my theology supports a preterist model, I will search for wars and disasters during the Roman empire that could fit with the Seven Seals, trumpets, and bowls. The antichrist, mark of the beast, and 666 would apply to oppressive emperors such as Nero. This approach may be interesting to history buffs, but it makes Revelation largely irrelevant to most of us today.
The careless use of these models can create a bias that interferes with finding the true meaning of Revelation. This video will show that it makes a lot more sense to interpret the meaning of symbols and prophetic language of Revelation using the keys that God inspired John to put within the book in order to help us unlock its meaning.
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Historicist model of Interpretation
Sealed scroll of Revelation opened by Jesus
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