Revelation of Jesus Christ, Introduction Part 3
One of the most intriguing books of the Bible is the book of Revelation. Much debate surrounds the proper interpretation of this apocalyptic work. Is this book a prophecy of future events yet to take place, or have the prophecies of this book been fulfilled? Throughout church history, there have been four different views regarding the book of Revelation: idealist, preterist, historicist, and futurist. Each view attempts to interpret Revelation according to the laws of hermeneutics, the art of science of interpretation.
The goal of this study is to present a brief overview of the four views of Revelation and present the strengths of each view as well as its weaknesses. Hopefully the reader will gain a basic comprehension and be able to understand the debate among theologians today. Despite our various views, there are some common threads upon which Christians agree. All views believe that God is sovereign and in charge of all that occurs in history and its ultimate conclusion. Except for full preterism and some forms of idealism, all believe in the physical second coming of Christ. All views believe in an eternal state in which believers will be with God and unbelievers will be separated from Him. All agree upon the importance of the study of prophecy and its edification for the body of Christ.
Unfortunately, the debate among Christians has often been harsh and hostile. Hopeful that debate will continue in a cordial, respectful manner which will challenge every believer to accurately study and interpret the Word.