What is the church’s view on the Book of Revelation? Is it seen as how the world will end in the future, or maybe some other meaning of the book, as relating about the past? I have always been the most fascinated by this book out of the Bible, because of it’s heavy use of symbolism and it’s mystery. I just wanted to know how the church views this book. Thanks!
Well the truth is it is a combination of past present and future I would recommend the book “The Lamb’s supper” by Scott Hahn if you’d like to know more I’ve always loved the Book of Revelation, even before I was necessarily a believer.
The Book of the Apocalypse is about the end of the world in the future.
The Church does not have one official position on the matter, and has allowed numerous Scriptural Experts a range of opinions, including that some of the language, which was particular within the Jewish world and religion at the time, likely had to do with the then known world; and more specifically, appears to have possibly been directed in part to the Roman secular world.
To simply reduce it to a strange book about the end times is to miss much of the symbolism. Scott, Hahn, among others, would be worth reading.
Then explain the visions of the war in Heaven in Revelation 12 that John saw. The book is about the downfall of pagan Rome, the past, the perseverance of the Christian age and finally, yes, the close of the age.
To say it’s all about the future sounds much like an evangelical rapture loving theory. No offense.
Nobody, no matter how preterist, will ever say that the scenes of the Second Coming and the New Jerusalem are set in Roman times, and are already fulfilled prophecy.
So let’s not exaggerate here!
Many parts of the Book of Revelation apply primarily to things happening during Roman times, while John was writing the book; and many parts primarily warned about things that would happen shortly.
However, all those parts apply secondarily to all times and places where Christians live, because we are always subject to persecution.
Likewise, there are some parts which are primarily talking about the Second Coming and the events surrounding that, although they have secondary application to all Christians in all times (including the original readers). As many Christian writers have pointed out, pretty much all of us will face death at some point, and that is the end of the world for us personally. (For most practical purposes, anyway.)
So you have to read carefully, and pay attention to the good teachers and teachings that the Church has handed down to us.
Scott Hahn’s book The Lamb’s Supper is a good starting point. If you are interested, there are also a lot of other good books about this, albeit a lot of them you will find in academic libraries or in translations that are online.
Here’s a good example that is quite short: Victorinus of Poetovio’s brief commentary on Revelation, with St. Jerome’s comments below. You will soon notice that it leans heavily on OT Scripture (which is pretty much a must, because Revelation does too!), but also that some of his early Christian interpretations are quite different from those you tend to see today.
(There are broad similarities among other early Christian commentaries, but they tend to disagree quite a bit also on various points! So one of the things the Church teaches us is that different people get different, valid things out of these Bible passages!)
As with every other chapter in the Bible, it has lessons applicable to all men in all times…
While some events described lie in the future, the supernatural events are timeless.
Even those elements of Rev. that lie in the future will not be recognized too far ahead, any more than the life of our LORD was.