Why wasn’t John more specific when he has his visions? We have to guess what he meant with all of it. One person said John was stoned like a drug addict. The person was putting down the bible but Revelation does seem to be an addict’s dream. I just wonder why it is written that way. It would be easier if it was understandable by more than bible scholars.
Read up on the writing genres found in the Bible.
It’s beautifully written. Not a hallucination.
First of all the prophecy aspect of the book of future events is never meant to be fully understood until it happens because that sort of prophecy is meant to keep readers sober and diciplined until the time comes by is warnings. The symbolic nature was also intended to keep certain things hidden from opponents of Christians so that they only see obscure language while Chriatians who carefully study can understand the application as God sees fit to be revealed to them from generation to generation. The nature of the book is layered with different senses and different intentions according to the state of the Church, which differs for the Church based upon the state of the Church throughout history. Many states of the Church has fulfilled parts of Revelation according to types, whereas the future Church will be fulfilled actually. Revelation has some unique senses that can be applied, such as Eucharistic, Christilogical, Historical, and Future.
I should mention a point: We believe that the book is divinly inspired. That means that God pretty much designed it, even if he didn’t write it. So, you can be rest assured that anything that’s been left out is like that for a reason.
I love Revelation. I find it so fascinating.
The first thing I would say is that Apocalyptic literature was very popular back then, and was characterized by extravagant symbolism. I don’t think John could have known that it would be so hard to understand by future generations. But…
I think that it should be an invitation to learn more about it! It’s so insane and vibrant in imagery that I don’t understand WHY it’s not understood by more people! It is probably the most mysterious books in the bible, and rightly so. It is the Apocalypse, Apocalypse means “uncover” or “reveal”, and it wont make sense until we reveal it’s meaning with study.
If you DO start studying the meaning, you will be addicted to studying more! There is so much to learn!
Find “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn. It will blow your mind!
I just read The Lamb’s Supper a few months ago. It was really good. I think the Book of Revelation is fascinating too.
Remember too the old testament said that the savior would be born in Bethlehem. In hind sight we can easily see that that was fulfilled in Jesus but at the time he lived he was considered a Gallilean. He triumphantly rode into Jerusalem …on an *** the colt of a foal. Just a couple of points to show prophesying are done in a mist and must be searched out.
You make a good point.
The meaning is clear for those who bother to read the rest of the Bible and do a little bit of study.
You have to read the beginning and middle of a book in order to understand the end.
Re: What TimothyH said –
A lot of Revelation’s imagery and symbolism isn’t obscure if you’re familiar with prophetic OT books like Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Zechariah. Early Christians were familiar with those books and most of the other Messianic prophecy things, so they understood it pretty clearly.
And of course, it’s always easy to get local references to current events. For us, they’re a little less current, and we only get the references to specific people in a general way. Fortunately or unfortunately, the same annoying problems are always showing up in every Christian community, so it stays pretty relevant to us!
Here is a summary…
John wrote Revelation (Apocalypse, Unveiling, Revealing) to seven Churches in Asia minor. These were being persecuted because they refused to participate in emperor worship. Emperor worship was the main problem in the Book of Revelation. Those who did not participate in emperor worship were barred from commerce, shunned from society, arrested and sometimes put to death.
And to the angel of the church in Per’gamum write: `The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of An’tipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." (Revelation 2:12-13)
“Satan” is a veiled reference the emperor of Rome. “Satan’s throne” is an other veiled reference to the many temples dedicated to Emperor worship in Asia Minor. The area was known for being a center of emperor worship. Antipas (in the passage above) had been appointed Bishop of Pergamum and was martyred by burning on the altar in one of the temples to the Emperors.
The followers of Christ are persecuted now. That persecution is temporary however, and if the followers of Christ endure patiently to the end they will be rewarded.
*I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. (Revelation 2:3)
He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, (Revelation 2:26)
He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)
Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)*
The Book of Revelation is full of phrases such as “patient endurance” and “persevere until the end.” This theme runs through the entire book and it is a message of hope that even in the face persecution, if we endure patiently, keep God’s words, frequent the sacraments, obey the commandments and love unconditionally we will be raised from the dead and live forever in God’s presence.
It is a message of hope to a persecuted Church. This is exactly the message of the Book of Revelation. Everything in the Book of Revelation has to be read in that context. People who focus on the imagery and read it exclusively in the context of the end times completely miss the point. Hope is the point.
You beat me to it. Also the Book of Enoch, although it isn’t scripture, has many references to the white haired Son of Man:
- And there I saw One who had a head of days,
And His head was white like wool,
And with Him was another being whose countenance had the appearance of a man,
And his face was full of graciousness, like one of the holy angels."
and other Revelation-like imagery.
The white-haired “Ancient of Days” and the Son of Man are two different persons.
*As I looked,
thrones were placed
and one that was ancient of days took his seat;
his raiment was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
its wheels were burning fire.
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
Our church did have a course on Revelation and it explained most of it. The problem is so many people put their own interpretation on it and a lot of it is against the church.
That’s because people think it’s a literal timeline.
They try to insert current events into the meaning.
Also, people are obsessed with the end-times.
Just be ready, that’s all.