(016) How to Understand Revelation – 1. The Setting

The last book in the Bible – the book of Revelation – can be a closed and confusing read. Graphic imagery of seven-headed beasts, gaudy prostitutes and winged creatures serve to make some of the scenes in the book resemble the Lord of the Rings movies more than the writings of sacred scripture. Yet Revelation contains a profound message that is as relevant today as it was to the 1st C church. This episode is the first in a 5-part series in How to Understand the Book of Revelation.

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A first century rabbi once said that a dream uninterpreted is like a letter unopened, and this is true of the book of Revelation. To understand its message, you first have to realise it is a dream/vision that uses symbolic language and like most of these forms of divine communication, it requires interpretation. In this podcast, we will unpack the meaning of Revelation by looking at:

  • The genre of Revelation as a dream/vision
  • The visions of revelation as God’s ‘curtain calls’ revealing what is happening behind the scenes in the spiritual realm
  • The five questions you should ask of any dream/vision
  • The answer to the first question: What is the setting of the dreamer’s life? We will look at the circumstances of the author and the churches to whom the message was addressed, including the looming threat of persecution by the Roman empire.

Once you understand the nature of symbolism, the book of Revelation is no longer inaccessible. Not only will you learn more about God’s kingdom and the way of Jesus, but you will also be equipped to interpret the God-dreams in your own life. I encourage you to get your Bible out and cross-check the references as you go. Take time to dig into Revelation as we go through the series in the next six weeks. You won’t regret it!

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How does an understanding of the setting of Revelation influence your interpretation of what you read? Leave a comment below.

Learn more by listening to the 3-part CD Series: Awaken Your Dreams available at the God Conversations Store.