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Revelation: Literal language, or a Figurative Language?

  1. yankeeintexas profile image60
    yankeeintexasposted 5 years ago

    The Book of Revelation is the most contraversial book in the Bible! For many people it is written in a literal language that means everything in the book will happen as it is said.
    Others take a more Figurative/Historical view of the book meaning the book was written in a way that it would get past the Romans but, Christians would under the meaning of the writing. Also, a view of history follow Revelation perfectly!
    What is your take on this?

    1. DoubleScorpion profile image86
      DoubleScorpionposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Well If you take it literally...Someone believes in 7 headed dragons with 10 horns...and if there is only the 7 churches that god is concerned with...why do we have so many others and what happens to those...

      John wrote revelations while in exile on the island of Patmos. I doubt there was any real reason to keep any secrets from the romans...he was simply writing down the vision he saw. Doomsday vision...something simular to a Nostradamus prediction of his time.

    2. Dave Mathews profile image61
      Dave Mathewsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      The book of Revelation in The Holy Bible by John is "PROPHETIC" it is a revelation of events that will and must transpire before during and after the return of Jesus Christ to earth.

    3. Jen Buczynski profile image59
      Jen Buczynskiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I think we need to take it both figuratively and literally. I actually was thinking about posting a hub on this and you have encouraged me! Within the next two days I will smile

    4. Cagsil profile image62
      Cagsilposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      The entire book is junk.

      1. ReMarkaBlogs profile image60
        ReMarkaBlogsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Really? Did you receive that pronouncement as a revelation?

    5. Beelzedad profile image60
      Beelzedadposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      John starts to give it away with the Breaking of the Sixth Seal:

      "There are earthquakes and natural disasters. (6:12-17) "

      ... and with the Sounding of the Trumpets, 1-6:

      Hail and fire destroy a third of the trees and grass. (8:6-7)
      A third of the oceans are destroyed. (8:8-9)
      A third of the rivers and springs are poisoned. (8:10-11)
      A third of the sky is darkened. (8:12-13)
      A plague of "locusts" terrorize the Earth for five months. (9:1-12)
      An army of 200 million kills a third of Earth's population. (9:13-21)


      It would seem obvious that if John wrote about "earthquakes and natural disasters" occurring in the future, they must have been events that already occurred in the past. And indeed, we have historic documentation confirming such events did occur in the past and using science, we can understand those events have been occurring for million of years.

      Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79AD, just a decade or two before John allegedly penned Revelations during his exile. 

      The Sound of Trumpets events are not dissimilar to the Exodus myth of which Moses brought forth upon Egypt. smile

      1. profile image0
        just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Which actually makes perfect sense when you put it that way. It wraps the whole thing up quite nicely. Makes it appear to come full circle from the beginning when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, to the time at the end of all time when mankind has reached their final home. Man has been wandering throughout all history. Explains why the church included it.  It's really the perfect ending.

        1. Beelzedad profile image60
          Beelzedadposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Thanks. Have a look at if from this perspective, one grounded in following the story with a little common sense.

          At this time in his life, John is completely physically and  emotionally crushed and defeated, he has been sent into exile from which he becomes utterly distraught and falls heavily into deep despair.

          John is now completely alone and is in a vibrant and volatile struggle with his faith and his life, both seemingly decimated, torn apart and thrown into a dark abyss. He rails and prays at his god relentlessly day after day as his isolation takes hold of his mind and mercilessly allows it to wander aimless attempting in any way to reconcile his plight.

          He wants very much to believe his god is real and will deliver him from his pain and anxiety and restore his faith to the heights once achieved in better days gone by. Thus, he observes his life over and over trying to understand how it could have possible come to the situation he now bears and prays for a way to return back from whence he came.

          So, he pens Revelations. The story of his life. smile

          1. profile image0
            just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Actually, I think you missed my point.  I know from experience how hard it is to wrap a book up.  It's hard to find the perfect ending.  It is simply that I had never looked at Revelations from this perspective.  I always scratched my head and wondered what it was doing there in the first place.  Your previous post explained that to me.

            As to your post, I guess that could be one way to explain it.

            1. Beelzedad profile image60
              Beelzedadposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              The previous post outlines the fact that John used earlier writings and ideas to pen Revelations and that fact that within his own lifetime there occurred great natural disasters.

              In other words, his writings reflected the times he was living, and he simply used them as a template for Revelations.



              It certainly makes a whole lot more sense than believing it to be anything that didn't already occur and would continue to occur. There have been ample natural disasters and earthquakes. He experienced this for himself.

              If he did, how can he then say that when those events do occur, it will be the end of the world? It's just plain silly. smile

              1. profile image0
                just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                Agreed.

          2. Jerami profile image76
            Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            You may be right as to his feelings.  But consider chapter ten. I believe this chapter predicts Johns redemption.

               The little book that he was told to eat symbolizes a message that he is to preach before many peoples Nations  and tongues, and kings.

               It wasn't long before he was released along with all the prisoners on Patmos.  John did in deed prophsy before many people, and nations and kings in his lietime.

               No one knows when John died,  they do have reports that he was still alive in 109 AD. 

               As much of the prophesy in Revelations has already been fulled ...   Chapter ten certainly was.

            1. profile image0
              just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Hi Jerami.  I'm not trying to argue the point, because like I said, I haven't a clue what to make of this book. But I always heard that no one was sure who wrote it.  That it was atributed to John the Apostle to give it some type of credibiity. Has the author been 100% identified?

              1. Jerami profile image76
                Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                Also not being arguementive .. but has any of the authors of the books of the New testament been absolutely without a doubt, been identified? 

                   Seriously;  how do we absolutely know that Matthew wrote Matthew?

                1. profile image0
                  just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  Yes, that's a good point. I never thought about it that way.  I just always hated Revelations.  It's such a horrible view.  That's probably why that question I read somewhere has always stuck in my head.

                  1. Jerami profile image76
                    Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                    It is only my belief ... 

                      When Constantine was establishing his church, he had to
                    basicly stay within the realm of commonly held theologis and use those writtings that were followed by the religious leaders of that time in order to gain their cooperation.

                      I believe ?  that in some instances two or more letters were consilidated into one.
                      I believe that if we could watch it going on when the canon was being put together..  it might look kinda like what they do when they do the final cut in editing a film before it is released.

                       Sometimes the movie leaves out some of the most interesting stuff.

                       Just because it wasn't in the movie doesn't mean that it wasn't in the book.

                      Just because it wasn't written in the book doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

                       Gotta go check my grill   back in a few

          3. ReMarkaBlogs profile image60
            ReMarkaBlogsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            What? The book of Revelations is Johns autobiography?
            Thanks for the chuckle smile

      2. Jerami profile image76
        Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        What people do not take the time to  NOTICE  is that the seven seals ocur during a completely different time line than the events described as the seven trumpets!   

           And the seven bowls being poured out depict yet a different timeframe.

    6. Bruce_Leiter profile image61
      Bruce_Leiterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I believe that the Book of Revelation is symbolic prophecy that describes in several visions the time between Jesus' first and second comings.  It uses symbolism to show that Jesus rules the universe with the Father and that he will come again to give true believers their inheritance, the new heaven and earth.  In the meantime there will be struggles and suffering that he allows to call us all to turn from our self-centered ways to trust in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection to gain the Father's approval of our lives led in following his ways.

  2. kess profile image61
    kessposted 5 years ago

    The writing are spiritual.....

    Interpreting it within historic or figurative context is to misrepresent it.

    Spirituality belongs to the Spiritual those who make their boast within writings are not Spiritual.

  3. profile image0
    BunuBobuposted 5 years ago

    Acid trip?

  4. melpor profile image90
    melporposted 5 years ago

    The Book of Revelations is just that a dream of John. Nothing more. There is nothing in there that has happened. It is all figuratively speaking of John's dream. People are constantly speaking about this book after the fact the same way people treat other prophetic views of the world. No one simply cannot predict future events.

  5. profile image0
    just_curiousposted 5 years ago

    The Book of Revelations, whatever it is, would have been best left out of what was decided to be the Bible. It cannot be interpreted, and yet it has been used repeatedly, to predict the imminent end times by people that had no idea what they were taking about, in my opinion. People need to accept the fact that this book is little more than some dream walk, by someone named John.

    1. Jerami profile image76
      Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I Think  .....  If the book o Revelation can not be understood as a prophetic message from God; .. AND  understood in the same manner in which all dreams are intrpreted  ...

         If Ya can't do that ... ?   Then Ya won't understand ANY of the rest of scripture.

         But that is just another opinion.



          Edit ...    Good night Yawl.

      1. profile image0
        just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        See, I would disagree, but I think it's probably since we're hitting this question from two different angles. I'm not trying to line myself up with an answer that fits the philosophy of organized religion, as the evangelicals have defined it. I honestly believe they're on the wrong track.

        1. Jerami profile image76
          Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I think that there is a third view that few people think about.

             We must remember that Religion is not necesary for having faith in God.

                When I interpret the dream John describes in the book of revelation ...   I see something that disagrees with that which modern religion teaches.

            Jesus said that "some standing here shall see the son of man coming in the clouds sitting on the right hand of power"

             He also said that "that" generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled,   but no one knows when, but it will be in that generation.

             And I believe it did cause Jesus said it would.

          BUT ???   because "someone else:  says,  no that isn't right
          No one believes Jesus.

             Can we believe in someone and not believe what they said?

          1. profile image0
            just_curiousposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Yes.  You can believe in someone.  I think there are places where the writers deviated from the message, and there are places where religion has gotten it completely wrong.  Religion is probably the largest log we have in our eye.  Probably both eyes.  I think Jesus did exist.  I think he had a powerful message to share.  I think religion has done all it can to water the message down.  I have no idea why anyone would do this, but that is what I believe. I'm only interested in the message from Jesus.  Nothing else. I have never put much thought into Revelations.  What little thought I did put into it never amounted to much more than confusion, but the truth is, I just don't care one way or the other what it says, because it was 100% for sure written after Jesus left this world.  It isn't his words.  It is leavening.

  6. profile image69
    paarsurreyposted 5 years ago

    Revelation: Literal language, or a Figurative Language?

    It is the context that decides; some verses preceding and some verses following should be read; then one knows whether literal meaning or figurative meaning are to be taken.

  7. profile image69
    paarsurreyposted 5 years ago

    The value of a word is known from the sentence it has been used; the value of a sentence is ascertained from the passage is it has been mentioned; and the value of a passage is depends in the chapter it has been written; and the chapter depicts from the Book it has been taken; the context is very important to know the correct meaning.

    It is the context that decides; some verses preceding and some verses following should be read; then one knows whether literal meaning or figurative meaning are to be taken.

  8. knolyourself profile image59
    knolyourselfposted 5 years ago

    I hear: Judgment Day! May 21, 2011. Is this the 'rapture'?

    1. Bruce_Leiter profile image61
      Bruce_Leiterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Jesus said that no one knows the day nor the hour.

      1. profile image69
        paarsurreyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Exactly; not even Jesus knew the day or the hour; only the Creator-God knows it whom Jesus used to worship and pray and address as God-the-Father in terms of the usage of OT.

  9. Frank Menchise profile image20
    Frank Menchiseposted 5 years ago

    I believe that Revelation has been written from a vision or a dream that seemed to John at the time to fulfill the need to control the people that were following Christianity, John wrote it in order to give them courage to overcome the adversities of those times, which sometimes were really frightening, so he needed an even more frightening story to make the believers stay put, that is the reason why he wrote Revelation.

    1. Jerami profile image76
      Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      So; is the same thing stand true for all the prophets ?

  10. profile image69
    paarsurreyposted 5 years ago

    Revelation: Literal language, or a Figurative Language?

    Revelation from the Creator-God has following modes:

    [42:52] And it is not for a man that Allah should speak to him except by revelation* or from behind a veil** or by sending a messenger*** to reveal by His command what He pleases. Surely, He is High, Wise.
    [42:53] And thus have We revealed to thee the Word by Our command. Thou didst not know what the Book was, nor what the faith. But We have made it (the revelation) a light, whereby We guide such of Our servants as We please. And truly, thou guidest mankind to the right path,

    http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/sh … p;verse=51

    * direct Word of revelation
    ** vision or dream that is interpretable
    *** an angel


    It is the context that decides; some verses preceding and some verses following should be read; then one knows whether literal meaning or figurative meaning are to be taken.

  11. profile image0
    BunuBobuposted 5 years ago

    Revelations was always too weird/scary for me.
    I just skipped it but that was a bummer too.
    Imagine reading a book as long as the bible and then skipping the last chapter????
    I missed the ending.
    Did that Jesus dude ever set up his PARADISE beach resort?

    1. Jerami profile image76
      Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I don't think Revelation is that hard to understand.

         Read Daniels description of his visions, see how Gabriel interpreted them.

        Apply a similar understanding for these SAME  symbols used in Rev.

        Such as the bear represents Persa, Leopard represents Greece, the lion and teeth of a lion is indicitive of Rome.

      1. profile image0
        BunuBobuposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        LOL

      2. Jen Buczynski profile image59
        Jen Buczynskiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I agree--it's not that hard to understand--like I wrote earlier I think it's both figurative and literal. It's literally figurative! lol.

        1. Jerami profile image76
          Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          For me it seems that the timeframes that religion insist upon setting these prophesy is THE one and only reason that understanding Revelation is difficult.

            It just can not line up and make any sense if the futurists view is followed.

            But to understand it from a historists point of view ???
          It makes total sense to me.

          1. Jen Buczynski profile image59
            Jen Buczynskiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            The way I see it is that Revelation MUST be both historical AND futuristic. I mean look at Revelation 21 and 22. Surely we do not have a perfect world or gates of pearls and a city full of precious gems just yet. There are clearly historical events that are represented in Revelation and there are also ones we can't quite understand yet. Revelation seems to be quite multi-layered. Many interpretations are surely applicable. Similar to how Jesus spoke in parables, and the prophets did prophetic acts, so the book of Revelation is symbolic and representative of something bigger--historical and future (and sometimes present, in the case of the churches.)

            I've been inspired by this conversation and am currently writing a hub about the first section of Revelation!

            1. profile image0
              Baileybearposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              gates of pearls & city of gems - pearls & gems are animal products & rocks that are valued by humans because they look pretty.  The bible is from the imaginations of humans

            2. ReMarkaBlogs profile image60
              ReMarkaBlogsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Excellent. Thoughtful post by someone with no axe to grind.
              Looking forward-and backward-to reading it.

    2. Bruce_Leiter profile image61
      Bruce_Leiterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      BunuBobu, I believe that reading Revelation requires us to use our imagination rather than our thinking, though we certainly can think about it too.  Several details explained in the book give us the clue to its symbolism.  For example, at the end of chapter one, the symbolism of the lampstands is explained.  The language in the book points to what has gone on throughout the present age leading up to Jesus' second coming.

      1. profile image0
        BunuBobuposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Okay, so you guys don't get sarcasm every well.
        I have read revelations of course.
        Its required when you spend most of your life as a Catholic in Catholic school.

  12. Jerami profile image76
    Jeramiposted 5 years ago

    There are four major systems of beliefs on the subject of the book of Revelation;  Preterits, Historicist, Futurists, and Symbolic.


       It wasn't till the turn of the 20th century that the futurists view gained majority.

      So much so that the other three views seem to have been dismissed.

       YEP ...   go with the majority,

      Too bad that the path is so wide but the gate is so narrow?

      Is the gate wide enough for the majority to pass through??


       edit ...  I am a historists/preterists, but not for the reasons that most historists/preterists do.

    1. Jen Buczynski profile image59
      Jen Buczynskiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      what's a "preterist"?

      1. Jerami profile image76
        Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        A preterists (sp.?)  believes that all of prophesy was fulfilled before the Hebrew nation was evacuated out of Israel being sold into slavery, through out the rest of the Roman Empire (138 AD)

          That this was the End of days of which Jesus spoke.

          And I could go along with that except there is clearly a division of time, a time lapse described between the opening of the seventh seal and the angels being seen receiving the seven seals.

          I believe that the seven seals were opened immediately after Jesus was crucified.

          And the seven trumpets were handed out at some time after the Hebrew people were carried away into the wilderness. (138 AD)

        1. Bruce_Leiter profile image61
          Bruce_Leiterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          How can you believe that, Jeremi, when the Final Judgment and the creation of the new heaven and earth have definitely not taken place yet?  I am part of the symbolic group, since some of the symbolic details are explained (for example, at the end of chapter one: candlesticks; chapter twelve: red dragon; chapter 19: Babylon or Rome).  It was a set of symbolic visions that Jesus gave through John for the church's comfort that he still rules the universe.  That's what I believe.  However, I also hold to my interpretation very loosely.  One of my sons says that he is a "pan-millenialist"; it'll all pan out!  Prophecy is much easier to interpret after it's been fulfilled like the OT prophecies about Jesus' coming.

          1. Jerami profile image76
            Jeramiposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            I am SOoo sorry that I didn't see this until now.

              Your question "how can I believe that" was a sincear question.

               For a quick and in-complete answer ...
            Understanding just a couple IMPORTANT issues concerning those prophesy as described in the book of Daniel puts a completely different prospective on the book of Reveltion.

               First ...  Those prophesy were written to, about and for that Hebrew Nation that existed during the time that they were given. (between 605 and 538 BC)
               Concerning all of these visions mentioned in Chapter 2,7,8, and 11, These beast represent the first four kingdoms tht is given dominion over THAT hebrew nation that existed at that time.  Babylon, Persia, and Greese are specificlly named as the first three kingdoms.
               It is written that after the third kingdom is divided into four smaller kingdoms; the fourth Best will rise up out of one of these four. 
               That was the Roman Empire which wasn't even a little country at the time Daniel received these visions. That is probbly why it wasn't named specificaly as well as the other three.

               "IF" this fact is recognized, then the Book of Reveltion is understood from an entirely different prospective than it is today. 

               These three different sets of judgments (seals, trumpets and vials) are representive of three different periods in history.

               No one can possibly believe anything any stronger than I believe that.

  13. profile image69
    paarsurreyposted 5 years ago

    Revelation: Literal language, or a Figurative Language?

    Dreams and vision are always interpretable.

 
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