A Study of Revelation


In the book of Revelation numbers are also used as symbols. We must understand that in many cases the numbers really carry little or no numerical value. They are used to describe. Most of the numbers are used as a description of something rather than as having an absolute numerical value. For example, the number “144,000” is used to represent the entire redeemed from the earth, not a literal “144,000” people. We determine how these numbers were used in the Hebrew language by studying how they were used in the first Century. Numbers in the Hebrew language were often used as words. We do something similar with the number “13” which means unlucky. Or, in my teen days we used to refer to someone who was “L7” as square. Most people today consider “7” as a lucky number. Here are some examples from the book of Revelation:

We are not going to discuss the various methods of the interpretation of the book of Revelation except to note that the predominant interpretations are the Futurist, the Preterist, the Historicist, The Philosophy of History and the Parallelist. We are going to examine Revelation using the “Parallelist” viewpoint.

The “Parallelist” method divides Revelation into separate and distinct visions covering the entire Christian age from the first coming of Christ until judgment. Each vision, though it covers the same period of time, has a separate meaning from all other visions. Each vision will describe different things, both physical and spiritual, taking place during this present Christian age. The “Parallelist” method says that Revelation is being fulfilled throughout the entire Christian age, the visions describe general principles that have application for all Christians of all ages and do not necessarily represent some specific event that has already occurred or will take place in the future.

Revelation was written to Christians of all ages. This is what the “Parallelist” position asserts. Revelation has the same meaning for Christians today as it did for Christians at the time of the writing of John. Christians living at the time John wrote had some advantages over us in properly interpreting these symbols because they were familiar with the usage of symbols and numbers in the Hebrew language, but if we study the consistency of these numbers and symbols as revealed in the Word of God, we too can come to the proper understanding of Revelation. The Parallelist position lets God’s Word speak for itself.

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