What a great question. Many people avoid reading Revelation. But when they do, they’re missing a blessing!
“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud and
blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!”
Prophecy in Revelation (Rev 4-22)
Revelation teaches about future events. So, why study it? People, even pastors, often avoid teaching it to avoid controversy. They point to the disagreement among interpreters about what passages mean. And that Jesus tells it symbolically, so depending on how you interpret the figures, you get different meanings for each passage. If we take symbols figuratively, how do we know what they mean? How can we come to any agreement about the message of this enigmatic book?
First, God expects us to understand His message:
“The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 2:7).”
He expects us to obey it, and He rewards our obedience. He will also judge those who don’t ‘repent’ or respond obediently to His correction. Both the rewards and judgments are severe—there are consequences—so we know He expects us to understand. It’s disobedient to avoid the instruction God gives us in Revelation.
Second, the Bible writers give practical applications whenever they teach about the future.
For example, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 teaches about the rapture of the Church. Then, in verse eighteen, the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” Teaching God’s plan helps us to live our Christian lives now. And who amongst us doesn’t need encouragement?
Third, we who study the scriptures should identify the ‘symbols’ in Revelation.
They’re intended to mean something literal. Authors use figures of speech primarily to illustrate meanings, not to hide them. The Bible writers used them in the same way. Sometimes Jesus used figures of speech like parables to hide the truth from His enemies. But He explains those truths to His followers and expects us to understand. It takes study, and it isn’t easy, but He will help us:
“He (Jesus) said to them (His followers), “To you is given the secret of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, everything is said in parables (Mark 4:11).”
Fourth, we also study Revelation to receive the promised blessing:
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it, for the time is near (Rev 1:3).” God offers the water of life freely to the thirsty (Rev 22:17)!
Fifth, Revelation “wraps up” the prophecies given in previous Bible books.
Revelation is the last book of the Bible–it was also the final book written–and that’s not a coincidence. In it God further explains messages He’s revealed.
One example is the details Jesus gives us in Revelation chapters 4-19. These chapters explain what happens during Daniel’s 70th week. Daniel’s “weeks” are not groups of seven days but seven years. The Bible also calls this future time “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (meaning Israel’s) and the (seven-year) “tribulation.” Daniel 9:24-27 explains the 70 weeks that God decreed for “your people” (Israel) and “your city” (Jerusalem). The 70 weeks are groups of seven years, so 490 years began with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 BC.
God told Daniel why He gave the prophecy of the Seventy weeks:
“Seventy weeks have been determined for your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place (Daniel 9:24).”
Note: Daniel’s years are “prophetic years.” The Jews counted years as 360 days because they used a lunar calendar, not the 365¼-day years we use today.
Daniel’s prophecy of seventy weeks tells God’s people what happens during the final seven years before Jesus comes to rule on earth. During this time,
- God will pour out His wrath against sin,
- Bring in everlasting righteousness,
- “Seal up,” finish the story of Bible prophecy, and
- Anoint the “Most Holy Place,” i.e., the New Jerusalem.
There is one more week coming
History has fulfilled 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. The Jews rebuilt Jerusalem, and the Messiah (Jesus) was “cut off” (Daniel 9:26), i.e., crucified. After that cut-off, the time clock for the 70 weeks was interrupted. We live in the Church Age, the period up until the rapture. So, we’re in a parenthetical time between the 69th and 70th week.
The next prophetic event that will take place is the rapture of the Church.
The 70th-week time clock starts ticking again when the prince who is to come (the Beast, the Antichrist) (v26) signs a peace treaty with the many (Israel in context) (v27). So, there is an undetermined length of time between the rapture and the signing of the peace treaty that starts Daniel’s 70th week (the seven-year tribulation).
During the tribulation, God is again dealing with Israel, instead of the Church, for this final 70th week of years. These Jewish-program worshippers of God belong in this time, the 70th week of Daniel. The church does not belong in this time, so Jesus takes us to heaven at the rapture. So, salvation will be, once again, of the Jews (Jn 4:22).
God promises to bless the ones who read and keep the message of Revelation.
It is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It contains God’s final message to His people. God offers the waters of life and they’re freely given to those who believe in Jesus’ Name.
Please watch the Great News for You video on this page to find out how you can know Jesus as your savior. Your new life in Christ can begin today!