Revelation: 4 Views
When one begins to study the book of Revelation, most commentators will write about the various approaches to the interpretation of this book. They usually are described in four ways: the Preterist view, the Historicist view, the Futurist view, and the Idealist view. I’ll briefly describe each one:
Preterist View: Believes that most of the visions described in Revelation have already occurred in the past (during the early years of the Church). For example, Preterists believe that the first three chapters of Revelation describe 1st century churches, chapters 4-11 describe Jerusalem’s fall in AD 70 while chapters 12-19 would point to Rome’s fall in the 4th century. The remainder of Revelation would cover the Patristic, medieval, Reformation, and modern church ages culminating with the second coming, general resurrection, last judgment, and the coming of the new heaven and earth.
Historicist View: Historicists see the events of Revelation as symbolic portrayals of church history from the time of the apostolic church to the end of the age.
Futurist View: Futurists generally see events in Revelation chapters 4-22 as visions that will be fulfilled in the future to 21st century readers. People who hold to this interpretive approach believe in an intense seven-year tribulation, followed by the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, culminating with the general resurrection, last judgment and the new heaven and earth.
Idealist View: As defined by one commentator, Idealists view it as a symbolic pictures of such timeless truths as the victory of good over evil.
So, which view do you hold to and why?
Resources referred to include:
- Introduction to Revelation, ESV Study Bible
- Introduction to Revelation, NIV Study Bible
- The New International Greek Testament Commentary on Revelation by G.K. Beale.