The Four Views Of Revelation

Since revelation is the most profound book after the New Testament with lots of imagery and very hard to interpret there are four views if i remember correctly .Preterism,classical,idealist and futuristic. Now i dont know all of them in what they teach but my question is this: If someone knows what all of those above teach which one do you think its the most compatible with the book ir if you have one yourself feel free to share. Thanks and God bless.

It all depends on one’s epistemology.


Revelation has a wide variety of interpretations, ranging from the simple historical interpretation, to a prophetic view on what will happen in the future by way of the Will of God and the Woman’s victory on Satan (“symbolic interpretation”), to different end time scenarios (“futurist interpretation”), to the views of critics who deny any spiritual value to Revelation at all, ascribing it to a human-inherited archetype.

~Most Christian interpretations fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Historicism, which sees in Revelation a broad view of history;
  • Preterism, in which Revelation mostly refers to the events of the apostolic era (1st century) or, at the latest, the fall of the Roman Empire;
  • Amillennialism, which rejects a literal interpretation of the “millennium” and treats the content of the book as symbolic;
  • Postmillennialism, also rejects a literal interpretation of the “millennium” and sees the world becoming better and better, with the entire world eventually becoming “Christianized;"
  • Futurism, which believes that Revelation describes future events (modern believers in this interpretation are often called “millennialists”); and
  • Idealism/Allegoricalism, which holds that Revelation does not refer to actual people or events, but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil.

Aesthetic and literary


That’s 4 too.

I personally tend towards preterism. I think a very good case for an earlier writing of Revelation is made in the book “Before Jerusalem Fell” by Gentry. But that aside, I think something a lot of people don’t consider is the placement of Revelation in our NT. One reason it is at the end (it was not always so), is because Martin Luther didn’t really like it. It was not placed at the end because of it’s sense of an ending (beginning). It was because he thought it’s message was “further” from the gospel and Paul’s letters. I will include his own preface to the book here.

“About this Book of the Revelation of John, I leave everyone free to hold his own opinions. I would not have anyone bound to my opinion or judgment. I say what I feel. I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic.

First and foremost, the apostles do not deal with visions, but prophesy in clear and plain words, as do Peter and Paul, and Christ in the gospel. For it befits the apostolic office to speak clearly of Christ and his deeds, without images and visions. Moreover there is no prophet in the Old Testament, to say nothing of the New, who deals so exclusively with visions and images. For myself, I think it approximates the Fourth Book of Esdras; I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.

Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly [Revelation 22]—indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important—and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc. Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep.

Many of the fathers also rejected this book a long time ago; although St. Jerome, to be sure, refers to it in exalted terms and says that it is above all praise and that there are as many mysteries in it as words. Still, Jerome cannot prove this at all, and his praise at numerous places is too generous.

Finally, let everyone think of it as his own spirit leads him. My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it. But to teach Christ, this is the thing which an apostle is bound above all else to do; as Christ says in Acts 1[:8], “You shall be my witnesses.” Therefore I stick to the books which present Christ to me clearly and purely.

The 1522 “Preface to the Revelation of St. John” in Luther’s translation of the New Testament. Pages 398-399 in Luther’s Works Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I (ed. E. Theodore Bachmann; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1960).“


I whould like to point out that Jesus himself said he whould return. So if the book is not to be “that return” which return did Jesus spoke of? Thanks for the answer!!

Wikipedia is not entirely accurate here.

Futurists are not often called Millennialist (to my knowledge at least) since futurism is a broad interpretive framework whereas millennialism deals with one’s view on the 1000 year reign of Christ which Revelation speaks of.

On this point, Pre-millennialism suggests that the Jesus will return before (pre) his 1000 year reign begins.

Post-millennialism argues that things on earth will get better and better for the church until all who live at that time become Christians. This will continue for 1000 years and then Jesus will return.

Amillennialism however, suggest that the 1000 years represents the entire church age from the time of Christ’s ascension to the time of his return. That is to say, he is ruling but his rule is not yet unopposed (FWIW, this is my position). This, however, has nothing to do with how they read the rest of Revelation since that is governed by whatever interpretive framework one lands on.

I hope that provides some helpful clarity for folks. Since it was not part of the OPs question, those wanting to look at this topic a bit closer might want to pick up this resource.

For my part, I am predominantly a preterist. The letter to the seven churches (which is what revelation is) was written to specific people, in a specific place, at a specific time and so it must have made sense to them for the church to read it and preserve it. Seems strange that they would say “well Silas, it might not mean much to you now but give it 2000 years…” That said, like all the other books in the bible, I think it stills speaks to the church in all ages, places and times.

I do however hold a preterist position with a sprinkling of futurism on top. In my mind, New Creation, the final judgement, Christ’s return, etc. are all described as future events.

As always questions and comments welcome. :slight_smile:


It is clear to me that Jesus says he will return and Paul expounds on that hope in his letters. Questioning Revelation does not mean (for me) a rejection of Jesus’ return. It is only questioning the “how”. I do not think that it will be as people imagine it. I especially do NOT think it will resemble anything like what the Left Behind series has implanted in the collective Christian Consciousness.


A form of preterism is also what I lean towards as well. But I’m still studying it out. I’ve been studying genesis for last few months alone and so it will honestly be a few years before I get to revelation and dig in deeply. But that’s still the direction I get from what I have studied.

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It’s the opposite for me. :slight_smile: I have been studying Revelations and related issues for a couple of years and am just now making it to Genesis! For me, “figuring out” Revelations was more urgent.

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I lean towards a mix of both Futurism, Preterism and Idealism as I see that Revelation had a meaning to the 1st century church and it has a universal meaning to the church in all ages and it has some stuff that can be seen as prophecy, mostly Rev. 13 in where I see the beast as both past and future in it refers to Nero Cesar to the first century church and it relates to a future individual who is also spoken of by Paul as the man of lawlessness (2nd Thess. 2:3-4) and Daniel(Dan. 7:8) as the little horn. For me this future and final beast will be like Nero in that he will force the world to worship him and he will declare himself as Cesar and Lord and offer a Pax Terra (peace on earth) as much in how the Roman emperors offered Pax Romana (peace in Rome). Rev.19-22 speaks of the future return of Christ, the millennial reign and the New Jerusalem. Other then those things I see Revelation from an Idealist point of view and see it as symbols pointing to that despite all the evil and chaos in the earth Christ will win and be victorious.

I understand. I studied it for 2 years, Revelation and immediately relative verses like Matthew 24 and throughout Daniel and even Paul’s statements about marriage under the present tribulations and so on. Then while studying out various phrases such as “no sea in the restored earth” and was curious what was that all about. So while studying that I ran into how in genesis the Hebrew word for ocean is a play on chaos for chaotic water ( a theme within ancient Mesopotamian faiths ) and that it all tied into why it starts out with God hovering over anformless and good earth of just water. I also ran into the phrases of eternal torment , animals feasting on carcasses, and so on and how that tied into examples of destruction of body and soul in the lake of fire which is different from hades the grave. Hell which is the lake of fire is different from hades the grave. So eventually after jumping around I realized the word was given to us in a specific order and to truly understand the New Testament you must understand the old and to understand revelation and all its nuances I must understand all the preceding books to paint the most detailed and accurate story.

So I’m dedicating a roughly 2 books a month of light studying and longer for more in-depth studies.

I guess I lean towards Preterism with a heavy dose of simple dislike and warnings of ample misuse (definitely a favorite book of the cults because they can read just about anything into it). Aside from the beginning it all sounds like a dream or a bad trip on drugs.

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Offf that was somewhat “harsh”.

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Yes He did. And that’s why the Nicene Creed says that he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. .


I agree. What is your view? (On one of the above)

The symbolism is heavily based off various biblical/ apocalyptic themes that were common in second temple Judaism. While most the original context and meaning is lost on us 21st century readers, it probably made sense to those 1st century readers in what Revelation was trying to communicate.


Yeah but the common thing those views has is that we await still the second coming. So Christ has not returned yet. But how do the number of the beast etc connect tk each view for example preterism. Has the number already arrived?

Yes. It was related to the numerical values of Nero’s name.


In a sense yes, the number relates to a name and that name is Nero Cesar. In my understanding in that the anti-Christ is multiple people; one referring to Nero himself and it also symbolically referring to a final anti-Christ like figure who will arise and just like Nero and all the other Roman emperors, demand the world to worship him and call upon him Cesar and Lord and that like the Roman emperors who offered Pax Romana (peace in Rome) this figure will offer a Pax Terra (peace on earth) if only that people will submit to him and worship as a deity, thus fulfilling the purpose of the mark of the beast, which is symbolic (and not a physical mark as some think of it) of loyalty to the beast system rather then to God. That’s my understanding of the whole thing.


Ok two questions here. So there are 2 marks? One of Nero and the new one of the future antichrist? And second i can’t understand . The Revelation makes clear what will the antichrist do and what he wont and yet it states that many will be deceived . How though? If he will demand worship implement peace etc etc. then its easy to recognise him so how will some be deceived?

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No, the mark is the same thing, it is symbolic of a universal system that stands against God’s Kingdom, the mark of the beast represents the anti-God system which is universal and not bound to one person, nor just to Nero, Hitler or anyone else. Though the mark of the beast does lead to a name, Nero, it was a type of hidden code that the early church could understand and we can see other evil people act like Nero, they thirst for power and in some way or another seek worship in some fashion or another. 1st John 2:18 warns of many anti-Christ to come before the supposed final beastly one appears of whom Paul warns us as the man of lawlessness (2nd Thess. 3-4.) 1st John 2:18 says, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrist have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour…” Of course in this context John is also speaking of false Christians who taught errors and left the orthodox Church as a result but this shows us that the idea of anti-Christ is more of a system of people who deny Jesus as Lord, that He is from the Father and that Jesus came in the flesh. This is embodied is a system that can at times be seen manifest in people at certain times in history such as Nero who obviously denied everything about Jesus Christ as His title as Lord and Savior went at odds with his titles of Lord, Savior, and Cesar of Rome.

In my best understanding without injecting any modern politics into the Bible, it seems to “me” from the prophecy as told in Daniel 11 a future war will take place and the final beast will at Daniel 11:21 says, “…but he will come in a time of tranquility an seize the kingdom by intrigue.” it goes on to say in 2nd Thess. 2:8-10. “Then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with activity of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” He will in some manner with false signs and wonders and also along with charismatic political intrigue, trick the world first in a system of world peace that only he could bring and probably set up some type of system that “keeps the peace” and later he will as Paul says, “so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as becoming God.” (2nd Thess. 2:4) and Daniel11:31-32,36, “Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak of monstrous thing against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” Revelation 13:3-4 says, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed followed after the beast; they worshipped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”” Rev.13:11-15 speaks of the beast system as the "false prophet, which may be either one person or a group of people or the one world religion as a whole. but it speak of false signs and wonder and how the people will be tricked by these things. From my understanding is what will get people to follow him is that some type of event will take place in which it seems the fellow had “died” in either combat or assassination, but he will be healed from his fatal wound and this will case the whole world to start taking the person as a God-like figure of sorts. Now for the temple that Paul talks about, some say the temple is a literal rebuilt Jewish temple and others the temple represents the church. I don’t really have a certain say as “temple” could mean either thing but it doesn’t matter where the final beast opens up about is “deity”, all that matter is that wherever this event takes place, it will have a huge effect for the Church and the world as a whole.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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