Resources for Reading the Book of Revelation

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

What is Apocalyptic Literature?


If you want to read about God’s final triumph over evil, turn to the book of Revelation in the Bible.  Written by the apostle, John, it recounts the vision given to him by God.  It should be interpreted in a general way,  and attempting to draw specific connections concerning the time frame and nations involved is futile.  The genre is “apocalyptic”  and this is a type of Jewish literature that is highly symbolic.  It was meant to communicate hope in God’s ultimate victory to Christians in the midst of persecution.  For further study, my husband, who is a Lutheran pastor, recommends More Than Conquerors by William Hendriksen, as the best book he has read on the topic.

What we do know is that in the conflict between God and Satan, evil will be defeated:

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Revelation 20:10

God’s people will live with Him and death will be banished:

“Now the dwelling f God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will by His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain ….” Revelation 21:3

Creation will be restored to its’ original perfection:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be any curse.”  Revelation 22:1-4

What more can be said?

“These words are trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 22:6

That means, you can believe it!  Take comfort.  Whatever is happening now, the best is yet to come.