Interpretive Logic: The Revelation
It is helpful to recall that symbols in prophetic literature convey literal truths, and it is these truths that are meant to be revealed whilst not getting lost in the symbolism. To spiritualize or allegorize overtly is to deny the purpose of prophecy, specifically the book of Revelation whereas the purpose is to reveal a former mystery, not further mystify it.
…This entry will expand the previous, Interpretive Logic, from which I quote: “Antecedent mention is a key to correct interpretation in that throughout Scripture one will find words and phrases previously and repetitively mentioned. In reference to this it is nigh unto impossible to gain a comprehensive grasp of the book of Revelation whilst ignorant of all previous Scripture. Indeed, there is both chronological and foundational logic concerning Revelation’s placement at the end of the Biblical canon [it is illogical to turn first to the end of an unread book wherein confusion manifests as ignorance of the complete narrative is realized]. Likewise, there is tremendous significance to Genesis being not only the book of origins, but the foundation to the entirety of Scripture, including prophecy. The language of Genesis assumes basic knowledge on the part of the reader, who is expected to responsibly utilize God-given intellect, reason, and logic…
…”Through Moses, the Lord God revealed to humanity the intricacies of Creation in a very plain, ordered, scientific, and logical manner; a fact easily accepted when the book of Genesis is taken literally… Divorced from faith in taking God’s Word as His Word indeed, one who relies on only human intellect to comprehend Creation will fail in their conclusions, stumbling over fanciful theories, endless reevaluation, and divisive dogmatism in violation of Rev. 22:18-19. Likewise, those who refuse to believe what is written as it is written and have fallen to human reason and overt spiritualization have also failed to comprehend the book of Revelation. Therefore, if one strips the Creation of its literality, then one undermines the literality of the entire Word of God, whitewashing prophetic Truth in the process and thus denying oneself of any sincere and unbiased approach toward Spirit-led revelation, for no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation and never came by the will of man, but from the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).”
…The book of Revelation reveals exactly Who Jesus is, what He has accomplished, and what He will bring to fruition, yet needless trepidation often manifests at the mere mention of “the Revelation.” The reason behind the legions of assorted emotions and/or differing views concerning this revelatory book is primarily due to minimal widespread understanding of prophetic literature as well as minimal time spent in personal prayerful study of this magnificent book. The prophetic literary style prevalent in Revelation hearkens back to Old Testament prophetic literature found in books such as Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, Joel, and others. Without a working knowledge of the makeup of prophetic literature (as found in the Old Testament) and how it is used, one cannot hope to comprehend the deeper revelation to be found in the book of Revelation. Effective personal discipline toward constant study (2 Tim. 2:15) is well rewarded with a continuous and systematic revelation of Truth as Christ opens our understanding that we might comprehend the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).
…2 Timothy 2:16 admonishes us to “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” This passage is a warning to shy away from the act of simply taking someone’s word for absolute truth concerning God’s Word. Unfortunately, many people (even Christians) are ‘kept in the dark’ when it comes to subjects and topics involving the book of Revelation (or prophecy in general), all because ‘someone else’ said that there is no need to study the book (or prophecy) for whatever reason. When one relies solely on the information passed along by pastors, professors, teachers, friends, television, radio, commentaries, etc., rather than learning directly from the Holy Writ and the Holy Spirit, one can become complacent and unknowingly expose themselves to (and possibly adopt) a false or compromised doctrinal belief. One must spend maximum time with God in prayer and in His Word in order to properly discern His Truth from the chatter of human intellect and world influence.
…Admittedly, much of Bible prophecy and specifically the book of Revelation is intimidating when one first approaches it and is confronted with the oft times peculiar language, including symbols, metaphors, historical reflections, types and shadows of things/events to come, double meanings, etc. It can be daunting and difficult to determine what is to be taken as literal, spiritual, metephorical, and/or any combination of the aforesaid, thus quantifying the necessity of a real and tangible relationship with Jesus Christ Who enlightens our spirit by His Own.
…There are instances, however, when passages cannot be understood fully in the literal sense by the surface text alone due to symbolic referencing or other prophetic literary devices. In such instances Scripture interprets itself through prior and/or later passages relative to the passage of study; thus cross-referencing is a vital aspect in studying eschatology (study of the last days), for it is such referencing that illuminates the literal truths conveyed by the symbolic.
…Another vital practice to be mindful of whilst interpreting prophecy is that of time and place. Upon observing what is happening, one must discern when it is happening and where it is happening. Examine Rev. 5:7-10. After taking the scroll from the right hand of His Father, Jesus prepares to open it, but must first break the seven seals, an act that begins the systematic Judgment of Israel, unbelievers, and the earth. Mark the observation that Christ is in heaven as He initiates the Judgment that befalls the earth; hence, there is a direct correlation between the two distinct places in that heavily symbolic but literal acts in heaven unleash steadily increasing judgment on the earth that is itself heavily symbolic and literal.
…Thus, we can now answer What is happening?: The Judgment of Israel, unbelievers, and the earth. When is it happening?: In the future time of said Judgment after Christ takes the scroll and begins breaking the seven seals. Where is it happening?: Christ is in heaven initiating Judgment to occur on the earth. Prayerfully approaching study and interpretation of Scripture in a plain, ordered, scientific, and logical manner will bring less confusion and greater satisfaction to the student of the Word and disciple of Christ. Moreover, upon exposure to the Truth in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (and indeed the entire Word of God) it is of utmost import that one be disciplined in practicing exegesis as opposed to eisegesis. These Greek terms express the proper and improper way to undertake Scriptural interpretation; Exegesis means “reading from,” to be understood as reading from God’s Word as it is written, i.e. what is God saying? Eisegesis means “reading into,” to be understood as reading into God’s Word what one may wish God to mean so that a particular man-devised theory and/or theology can be thus “proven,” i.e. humanity tells God what He means regardless of what He is saying.
…Whitewashing prophecy with the allegorical, mystical, and overtly historical brushes leads to more confusion and questions than is necessary. It cannot be stressed enough that the literal understanding of even the most difficult passages leads to greater understanding and a more thorough appreciation of both the Word of God and its Author.