The final section of Engaging the Christian Scriptures discusses Revelation. Revelation is the final book of the Bible both structurally and canonically. Revelation is surrounded by confusion. Many people have different expectations about the content of Revelation, especially about the end of time. The interpretive approach uses a coded language of symbols and images to explain real life events of “the last days”. The problem with is approach is it restricts the relevance and message of Revelation. It gives the idea that Revelation is only useful to the generation during the end times. However, it fails to address the importance of Revelation to early branch churches. The second reason to hesitate in believing this predictive approach is that it is yet to be correct. With this approach, Revelation describes a “beast” to usher in the end of time. Each generation has defined its beast according to the predictive method. For example Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein but neither have brought the end of time. The method of the interpretation that Engaging the Christian Scriptures takes differs from the interpretive method. Instead they focus on the historical and literary contexts. The author is simply identified as John and the book itself is described as a “word of prophecy”.
The book of Revelation does contain allusions to the future, but the future described is either that specific audience’s future or the overall grand future designed by God. This grand future is not only explicitly mentioned in Revelation but other books as well. It is a common mistake to remove the historical aspects of the Bible and only focus on the spiritual aspects. While there are many important spiritual lessons throughout the Bible, the historical context is there for a reason. Understanding not only the spiritual content but also the historical and literary content as well is essential for us to truly understand the Bible and what is trying to convey.