There are many differing ideas on how to interpret the book of Revelation. I have a theory that is right…

…use common sense.

I read the book of Revelation from the perspective that the writing is both literal and figurative. Sometimes the verses are literal, sometimes they are figurative, sometimes they are figuratively describing a literal event.

Common sense allows us to tell the difference.

Literal Descriptions:

John to the seven churches that are in Asia (1:5).

You can’t get more literal. John received his revelation on the small island of Patmos off the coast of Asia. In the time of John, our modern country of Turkey was known as Asia. There were seven churches in this area to which John sends a greeting. Seven literal churches.

Figurative Descriptions:

And before the throne, there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal (1:6).

John says, “something like.” He was using figurative language to describe something literal. Throughout the book of Revelation, words fail to describe what John sees. Four horses, seven trumpets, a little book, dragons, beasts, bowls of wrath, Babylon, and many other images.

The language is figurative but describing actual events. Some of these events happen in heaven and the language of earth can only be alliteration, symbolic or figurative, but all of it describes something real.

The plan when reading Figurative Descriptions: common sense.

The Apostle John says the reason for Revelation is, “Blessed is he who reads and those hear the words of the prophecy.” We are to be blessed and not confused by the book of Revelation. The difference is common sense.

I have devised the OG 3-Step Guide to Common Sense Reading of Revelation:

  • Read humbly. You don’t have it all figured out. Teachers with charts make all of us feel inadequate. Complication, upon analysis, coupled with the latest studies in the Greek language, along with quite a few guesses will always sell books. The more charts, it seems, the more adamant their guessing.

Start with humility: you do not have to know everything. Just read, allowing the Spirit to give you confidence and insight.

  • Think simply. I do this very well; you can too!!

What is God saying in the passage that you just read in Revelation 16?

No, the battle of Armageddon didn’t happen at work today in a discussion with your boss. Yes, evil will be defeated, and the large and small slights of human history will yield a total victory of truth and grace – sooner than we realize.

And yes, there will be a literal battle of Armageddon.

  • Consider Now and Then. The book of Revelation is written for us today. It also spoke to those living 2,000 years ago. That is the “now.” At the end of history, those reading the book of Revelation will think, “Wow, if that just happened, then the return of Jesus must be soon.”

The book of Revelation teaches that all of history’s “then’s” will become “now” with the eternity of heaven. All the “nows” and “then’s” are accelerating toward the return of Christ right now.

Read the book of Revelation several times over the summer. You will gain insight into current events, what is going to happen, and that you should not worry. You will think about 2020, “Wow, did that just happen?”

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Interruptions will feature the book of Revelation in 2021. Read # 280 and #281 at grantedwardsauthor.com for previous blogs on Revelation.