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Exploring the Book of Revelation

With the release of the new Left Behind movie, Christians once again are discussing the end times. In 2011, the Baptist Messenger produced this original series entitled Exploring the Book of Revelation: Expert Views on the End Times. Click on any of the articles or resources to explore expert analysis of the Book of Revelation.

Why have we asked some of the most respected scholars in Southern Baptist life to address the topic of the various approaches to interpretation of the book of Revelation and end times? Read these next words slowly and absorb them: “Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near!” (Rev. 1:3) I can think of no better reason to challenge you to read and seek to understand this fascinating, yet powerful, book inspired by the Holy Spirit than this charge and promise from Scripture itself. Continue reading…

I grew up being taught that one of the most important doctrines in the Bible was the future coming of Christ and His 1,000-year reign. Through attending countless prophecy conferences, hearing multiple messages on “The Signs of the Times,” and constantly charting current events, I began to teach the dispensational approach to eschatology made popular by Hal Lindsay‘s bestselling 1970 book The Late, Great Planet Earth.

Then, something happened. Continue Reading…

Interpreting the book of Revelation from an amillennial perspective has a long history in the Church and, in fact, has been the predominant eschatological position of Christianity since the time of Augustine (though it was not called “amillennialism” until more recent times).

It is also a position many Baptists have embraced, including Hershey Davis, W. T. Conner, Herschel Hobbs, Edward McDowell, H. E. Dana, Ray Summers and James Leo Garrett. Indeed, some have claimed it was the dominant view of Southwestern Seminary from the 1930s–1990s. Even John Walvoord (a dispensational premillennialist) admits, “The weight of organized Christianity has largely been on the side of amillennialism” (Millennial Kingdom, 61). Continue reading…

Many people today find the book of Revelation both mysterious and fascinating. It’s mysterious because it’s filled with visions composed of strange and striking imagery. What is one supposed to make of all that? Hearing that there are differing interpretations of what already seems strange, some lose heart at the outset and prefer to avoid the book altogether. However, its mysteriousness is also fascinating and beckons the reader not to turn aside. Furthermore, features of the book—such as its name, Apocalypse, and its climatic conflict, Armageddon—have entered into public imagination and discourse, so that it cannot be entirely avoided. But there is a more important reason why believers need to pay attention to the book of Revelation. Revelation is the last communication given by Jesus to the churches. It explicitly concerns His coming. As such, we must not only give attention to it, but also heed the Lord’s instruction. If we do, the book specifically promises us a blessing (Rev. 1:3). Continue reading…

In the earliest period after the apostles, most of the discussions on the end-times focused on the nature of the future Kingdom of Christ when he comes to inaugurate 1,000 years of ruling with the resurrected saints on Earth based on Rev. 20:1-6.

The belief in a literal 1,000-year earthly reign of Christ to be realized at some point in the future is called chiliasm—from the Greek word for a thousand. The vast majority of interpreters during the second and third centuries were chiliasts. Their literalistic interpretation of Rev 20:1-6, however, was eclipsed by more allegorical and spiritual approaches emphasizing the timeless and successive fulfillment of these prophecies throughout church history. Continue reading…

The book of Revelation was divinely inspired in the First Century, but it presents a powerful, vibrant and essential message for the present, as it reveals the future.

While no other book in the Bible has been as difficult to interpret, no other book in the Bible is so compelling and fascinating. There are lions, lambs and locusts, alongside of angels and Armegeddon. We read of Babylon and the Beast, the Dragon and doom.

There is a unique promise to bless those who read and obey its message. This book reveals both a vital message for the church today and an unusual glimpse at the future and eternity. We offer this package of articles with the hope that you will read Revelation again with diligent study, humble obedience and faith. The writers are all experienced expositors of the Book of Revelation. They will present differing views on the understanding of the book, but if you read closely, you will discover an amazing unity on its central message. Continue reading…

 

Staff

Author: Staff

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