Before I begin on this series about Revelation, I should disclose that I understand the Bible grammatically and historically, not allegorically or symbolically unless the context demands it. Thus when we come across a sentence with a straightforward grammatical construction, such as, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this,” I understand that “up” means at a higher elevation; that “after” is an adverb indicating action in a certain time frame, and so on. I believe that God not only is able to communicate clearly and straightforwardly to His audience, which is laymen (you and me, and regular folks), but that He did in fact do so.
I had already begun writing about Revelation on this blog, I remembered. In this post, I recounted why I had rejected the interpretation of Revelation which I had been taught, which was futurist, in favor of the traditional understanding of Revelation which the church has had from the time of the apostles, which is historicist.
This post was about the design of the book of Revelation: that there are three series of seven judgments each which occur sequentially, with an interval between the sixth and seventh judgment in each series.
Now a rabbit trail. We know that John saw the Revelation during the reign of Caesar Domitian. Domitian became emperor in 81 A.D., and was assassinated in 96 A.D. So Revelation had to have been given between the years of 81 to 96 A.D. How do we know that Revelation was given during the reign of Domitian? The early church fathers write that it was (Victorinus, Hippolytus, and Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John himself, all agree on this point. Eusebius draws from their writings.)
This fact, of which there is documented evidence, that Revelation was written during the reign of Domitian, is the reason I have rejected the preterist view of interpretation. The preterists, if I understand their position correctly, say that the Revelation was fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, an event which occured in 70 A.D. This interpretation depends on John receiving the vision before 70 A.D., because Revelation makes it clear that the events John is about to see are events which are future, to John at that time, at least. Since we know that John in fact received the vision after 70 A.D., we can reject the preterist interpretation of Revelation. That is not to say that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was not foretold, it was. Just not in Revelation.
to be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 1 through 3