This post was written by my husband, a Lutheran pastor, who is currently teaching a study on the Book of Revelation.
There’s no doubt this book is the one Biblical account found by most people to be almost indecipherable. Not only does it seem difficult to read and understand but therre are so many different interpretations of the unusual visions give to John that many folks tend to ignore it while others over emphasize it. Too often Lutheran pastors ignore it in order to avoid having people get bogged down in its complexity. Unfortunately, that leads to people accepting views florid of Revelation which were largely unknown prior to the 19th century.
But there are sources available and accessible to lay people that can bring light into what 21st century folks sometimes see as the dark corners of the Apocalypse. I want to recommend two resources which can make the difficulties of apocalyptic literature seem open and accessible.
The first book is called More Than Conquerors by William Hendriksen. Published in the 1930’s this short book has never been out of print for a good reason—it is a spot on analysis of the vision given to John while he was exiled to the island of Patmos. My only disagreement with Hendriksen’s work is that he, like many other scholars place the writing of Revelation around the year 95 AD while I and others believe 65 AD is a likelier date.
The second book is called Courage for Today Hope for Tomorrow by Esther Onstad. Published about 50 years ago her work contains study questions which would make it usable as a Bible study tool.
The titles of these two works show the authors agreement about the meaning of Revelation, it is written for the comfort of the Church undergoing opposition and persecution in the world. John’s vision is not a “future history” but a description of the forces which seek to destroy the Church and the triumph of Christ over their evil efforts. Persecution follows the proclamation of the pure Gospel, but if we look in the back of the Book we find that God wins!
For more about the book of Revelation see these posts:
What Happens in the End Times?
More about the book of Revelation