How to deal with the Book of Revelation

So I have been doing a more deep and personal study of the book of Revelation and I have run into an issue and I wish to see what you all have to say about the issue of interpreting the apocalypse of John? As of now I’m stuck between a Preterist and Futurist as I know Revelation was meant for a based audience in the 90s AD but some of the issues such as certain chapter’s the in the book such as Rev. 1-3 I can put in the 90s AD while the four horsemen I take a Historicist approach to dealing with but after Rev. 7 I enter stuff that seems to be future bound and event’s that I cannot safely put any where else in history and thus I feel to be forced to move a lot of the stuff Rev 8 and onwards to the future. If any one can share their insight in how they have dealt with Revelation that would be much appreciated. Thanks and God bless.

Dear Quinn,
You are not alone. People have been trying for centuries to line up revelations with actual event and predict when the next one will occur. But for me, having accepted that the universe is billions of years old and the Earth has 3+ billions years of useful life left, I have taken a different perspective to revelations.

For a minority of scholars, the book of revelations is a partial history of Heaven and the Fall. In modern terms, Jesus sat John down in front of the heavenly history channel and replayed events for our spiritual past. He saw how the throne of God looked before the Fall and all of the devastating events around the Fall. Imagine that one third of Heaven revolted, and how this tore Heaven apart. For me, revelations is the history I needed to understand the why we are live in a corrupt world.

Good luck on your journey.

I have similar questions myself, but I haven’t done much study of it lately. Does the Preterist view see the apocalyptic language in Revelation as predicting the destruction of the temple?

A large majority does see the event’s in Revelation talking about the fall of Jerusalem and it’s temple but I refuse this view and believe it was never really believed in the early church as all and was made in an attempt to do away with the Jews and make them look like people God had to totally do away with. I take the minor view of the events being placed in the 90s AD for the general audience but I only take this view from Rev. 1 thru 7 as this seems to be based for the original audience and I take a minor Historicist view when it comes to the four horsemen as the early church seems to understand that those events seem to unfold the undoing of the Roman Empire which I feel would have been a theme for the original audience of John’s churches would have needed to hear since Rome propped itself up as unstoppable. I view the sixth seal as a jump to the future of the Day Judgement. But when we get past the intermission of Rev. 7 and into the other stuff the Historicist and Preterist and Idealist views cannot seem to answer a lot of the issues in Rev.8 and onwards as these events I cannot place deep in the past for the Preterist view, any where else in history for Historicist view and I cannot sit comfortably seeing these events as spiritual as from the Idealist view. To me these event’s have to be future bound, they don’t have to be as wild and exaggerated as they are demonstrated in Revelation but I feel these are somehow in some sense still to be fulfilled in the far or near future, epically when dealing with the man of lawlessness/Antichrist and I have accepted that the man of lawlessness/Antichrist will be a future individual who will lead the church into a final apostasy of some type and scale in the future but I refuse to take the Dispensational spin on it. I feel urged to try and understand the event’s of Rev. 8 and onward but don’t want to return to Dispensational Premillennialism but I might sit comfortably with a very liberal slice of Historical Premillennialism though if it comes to it.


Here are a few blogs I have found interesting. I find I am more of a preterist or partial preterist. the author of this blog comes from the Church of Christ tradition, though his view on things tend to the progressive side (he now refers to himself as “post-progressive.”)

and here is another view of Revelation, and I believe Joel Anderson has an Orthodox background. He has a bunch of posts on Revelation that may be a little hard to piece together in order, but well worth the read.


Since my first reaction is avoiding Revelations as too much of a refuge for the cults and crazies, I guess I would gravitate to the preterist view. But I also find strong support for this approach in the context provided by the text since the first chapters and clearest content of the text is all about the churches there in that time. This very much sets a rather immediate time frame for the content of the book.

Thanks for links as I have enjoyed them so far @jpm. I guess the reason my gut reaction for moving stuff Rev. 8 and onwards to a future timeline is probably due to my American Evangelical background (was raised United Methodist and would consider myself a Charismatic Methodist within the UMC since I have hung around Pentecostal’s for a while and believe in their understanding of the signs and wonders gifts) and thus I grew up with the Left Behind Rapture Futurist understanding of Revelation. The vague language of the stuff past Rev. chapter 8 and onwards is alien to me and though I have settled on placing a Preterist and Historicist understanding of stuff Rev. 1 to 7 but I get a gut kicking reaction to place everything else future bound, which would be okay if it wasn’t as early as chapter 8 and not 13 as I would like since I believe that the man of lawlessness/Antichrist will be a future individual and the event’s of Rev. 13 seems to fit this character. :frowning:
Thus I am left on a wedge, I can alleviate this issue by just moving the future portion of Revelation to 13 and try and fill in the blanks prior to that or start the future portion of it at Revelation 8 and figure out what is going on and what that means, I feel I might go for the first and see Rev. 13 and onward as future events and see how I can fill in the gaps prior to it. I have been doing my own study/commentary of Revelation and it has been making me look deeper into what the text says and what it means for the original audience and what it would mean for us today and thus is the reason for my mind going in a circle. Thank you all for you’re input so far. Thanks and God bless. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you, @jpm for these references and also @Sealkin for this discussion. I have grown up in a heavily dispensationalist tradition, and after listening to @DOL 's course online about evolution and faith mention gematriya and the Nero translation of the mark of the beast, was hoping to find more of this sort of preterist interpretation. It seems to make more sense to me. I need to read more. This is a great start

While Nero does in a sense mark up with the mark of the beast I still cannot force myself to see the man of lawlessness as a figure from the past as Scripture in 2nd Thess. 2:3-4 seems to indicate a future individual cause from what I know Nero didn’t lead the church into believing that he was God asides from the Creaser is Lord and Savior of Rome and is the son of the gods. 2nd Thess. 3-4 goes into how the man of lawlessness will exalt himself above God and every other deity and how he will take a seat in “God’s temple” now whether this is a literal rebuilt temple or symbolic for the church I am open to either idea. But from what I can tell is that the man of lawlessness/Antichrist will be a future individual of some type, I don’t leave heavily towards the Dispensationalist view of the Antichrist and lean towards a more classical Historical Premillennialist view of the Antichrist. I love all the discussions so far as they have made me think on all the ideas presented. While I don’t deny that there is a minor Preterist portion of Scripture spanning from Rev. 1-7 I get stuck back 8 and onwards, I can easily fit Rev. 13 and onwards as in the future but there is the in-between of Rev.8-12 that I don’t know what to do with? Do I treat it as stuff in the past or what else? That’s the main issue that is bugging me.

1 Like

I imagine there a millions who feel the same way. It is confusing, to say the least! Thanks for the discussion.

Dear Quinn,
You say you have no problem with Rev 1-7. So, can you tell me what Rev 4 is referring to in your understanding? (The four beasts, Seven Sprits of God and 24 Elders, etc…)
Best Wishes, Shawn

It is a moment that takes place when the apostle John is taken into Heaven and he see’s the various things of the heavenly places before the prophetic area’s of Revelation take place. It’s one of the many intermissions that take place.

Dear Quinn,
When God promised the Hebrews the Land of Milk and Honey he was promising Heaven, not the Israel on Earth. Everything that exists on Earth, has long existed in Heaven. I would suggest when you read Revelations, you keep that in mind and that all of what John is writing about is from Heaven’s perspective. Don’t you think there are the Seven Churches in Heaven?

Best Wishes, Shawn

Does anybody here have any insight on the passage where we’re told the number of the beast, and then there’s an associated footnote in the NRSV that says: “other ancient authorities read 616”.

I’m just hoping it won’t cause a forced re-evaluation of too many creeds or painful faith-shakeups if that number turns out to have been mistranslated. [I imagine there are numerologists whose careers and life-work hang in the balance!]

1 Like

Jesus gives us the natural division of Revelation in 1:19

Past, present, and future. The only question is where you draw the line between present and future. To me that is Chapter 4, but then again I follow a Dispensational Premillennialism interpretation.

The source that I heard from Denis Lamoureux said that 616 and 666 are different versions of the Hebrew Gematria which signifies a given letter assigned to a given number. Therefore, 666 was the Hebrew version of Nero Caesare, and 616s was the Latin version. It was secret because no one could let anybody else know that Nero was talked about in such a fashion.


Dear Randy, the important numbers for a Christina in Revelations are Seven (Spirits of God or Flames), twenty four Elders (heading twelve tribes) and the 1/3 of the stars that fell.

@Bill_II So you don’t believe that the fall of the 1/3 has not yet happened?

Mr Murphy, thanks. This is not about special numbers. It’s actually about how to communicate in code about Nero and the Emperor being the opponent–the mark of the beast. Jews would assign letters numbers, etc, and find patterns.
Gematria - Wikipedia

It is kind of fascinating stuff!


What?!! No Dan Brown intrigue involving the Templar Knights or identifying our current Pope as the antichrist?! Your version is a lot more boring, Randy.

Seriously, though - I had heard the Nero connection. A Latin vs. a Hebrew one sounds like a plausible explanation.

1 Like

I hadn’t even heard of that prior to listening to Lamoureux last summer.