4 Schools of Thought – Revelation 1 – by Ty Tamasaka

4 Schools of Thought

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“4 John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[
c]
So shall it be! Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:4-8 NIV

        

As we begin our study in Revelation, it’s important to remember the advice from Saint Augustine.  “In essentials, unity; in nonessentialsliberty; in all things, charity.”  There are four main schools of thought when it comes to the Book of Revelation.   

1 – The Preterist School – Revelation predicts events that have already happened.  This view holds that Revelation has already been fulfilled in 1st century Rome.  It holds to the idea that John describes the events of his day, but writes it in code so that other Christians would understand it.  In the preterist school, Revelation was written for specifically for that time.

2 – The Historical School – This view holds that Revelation is being played out now.  Revelation records successive events from the first century until the present.  This school claims that Revelation reveals what is now, not end time events.

3 – The Allegorical School – The view holds that the Book of Revelation serves as an allegory of the battle between good and evil.  There is no connection to any historical events past or future.  They don’t see any references to final judgment – but seek out what lessons can be learned for today?   The allegorical school sees Revelation as not being historical or literal, but as symbols intended to encourage and comfort the persecuted believers of that day.    

4 – The Futurist School –This view maintains that the author of Revelation recorded what he saw – the people, places, and events.  Beginning with chapter 4, the Book of Revelation refers to events are still waiting to be fulfilled.  This view maintains the Book of Revelation provides a prophesy telling of future events.

Which is true?  All are true to some extent.  Revelation has predicted some events that have happened.  It records events that play out in church history.  There is personal application for believers today.  Lastly, it does speak of future events dealing with the end times.

When John says in Revelation 1:4, “Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,” He speaks to the eternal nature of God.  It’s not enough to say that God is.It’s not enough to say that God was.    It is not enough to say that God is to come.  God is, was, and is to come.  He is the alpha and omega – which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabets.  He is the beginning and end of all things.  He owns everything in the middle.

Revelation 1:4-6 reveals the threefold ministry of Jesus:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen

1 – Jesus as Priest“the faithful witness”

2 – Jesus as Prophet“firstborn from the dead” (firstborn is a title of honor)

3 – Jesus as King“ruler of the kings of the earth”

While the Book of Revelation, is difficult to navigate for us today, it may be that Jesus and John were intentionally vague so those who hear and read the words of the prophecy will stay on our toes and be ready for the return of Jesus at any time.

Lord reveal Yourself in Your Word from the Book of Revelation.  Reveal Yourself from the past, in history, with application for today, and the events to come.  In the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen.    

Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry  He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book Starting Fresh: Following Jesus on the Adventure of a Lifetime in addition to More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.    

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