- Look for numbers, sequences, groupings, repetitions, clusters. Where appropriate, use simple math to calculate. Rocket science or quantum mathematics is not needed to discern God’s word. He made his word simple enough that people can figure out a simple mathematical reference.
- Ask the spirit to help you discern commonality vs. difference, literal vs. symbolic, who is speaking, meanings, insight.
- Logically and wholistically. Like a text book. Look for themes, results, actions, cause and effect, understand terms and descriptions. Note other verses in the bible that support and reinforce Revelation’s concepts.
- Literally. Taking into account context, metaphors and analogies. In many (most) cases, the simple, literal interpretation is the best. When the Holy Spirit uses symbolism, it is done to a great point so that there is no mistaking the intent and use of symbolism. Parables, metaphors and analogies are used to put spiritual truth into the context of everyday life that readers would likely relate to and understand.
- From the perspectives of God the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit and Angels. What are they saying? To whom are they saying it to? How intense are they saying it? When are they saying it? What are they trying to accomplish by saying it? How often do they repeat it? Is is spoken before, during or after some event? Why is God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit described and named in the manner that they are?
- From the perspective of sequence of time, events, participants. What are the plots?, who are the actors?, when do things occur? How dramatic are the events? What/where is the background scenery? When do the scenes of the story shift from one to the next? Is there a fairly discernible sequence of time? Who are the villains and why? Who is the supporting cast? What is the end to the story? What is the moral to the story or the “takeaway”?
- From the perspective of the Church/Bride of Christ, from your personal faith perspective and from that of John the Apostle’s perspective. Does your church resemble any of the seven (7) churches Christ addresses in Asia-Minor? Which side of the ledger might your church be on, based on Christ’s benchmarks of sin and righteousness, obedience and spirit-filled works? How do the answers to these questions apply to you on a personal level in your relationship with Christ? Will you be “naked and ashamed” at the Rapture/Harpazo? Or, will you be clothed in white and excited to meet your Savior? Will you receive one of the five crowns available from Christ, or, will your reward be withheld? Is there anything in your spiritual life to which the Holy Spirit is nudging you? Put yourself in the Apostle John’s sandals. How would you react to what he saw? How would you describe the things of today’s period that he couldn’t possibly have know about? How would you explain or describe the supernatural (heavenly or demonic)? How would you feel if you experienced what John experienced? Empathy, put yourself in another’s sandals and robe.
Based on our personalities, schooling, habits and biases, we all will skew towards one method of understanding the word of God, over other methods. That is O.K.! We are not perfect students or perfect, as Christians. But, it helps to employ some or all of these discerning strategies in understanding not only John the Apostle’s book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, but other books of the bible, as well. These strategies help immensely in understanding Revelation’s great symbolism and to get past its fantastical images, characters, events and outcomes to understand the glorious and wonderful future that is promised to Christ’s Bride and to the Tribulation Saints in eternity!
Categories: Revelation of Jesus Christ