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Shrouded in Mystery: Tips of the Trade for Understanding Revelation

It’s almost time to celebrate.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I’m party-crashing Holy Week.


Because for the last six weeks, thousands of crazypants people like me took the plunge and committed to reading the entire Bible (yep—you read that right) in 40 days. (You can read how to join us and download a free reading guide, here).

And. We’re. Almost. Done.

I can’t help but start the celebration early, even if that does mean party-crashing Holy Week.

Throughout the last several weeks, God has been wowing, astounding, and infiltrating us with his message of hope, love, mercy, and grace. [Tweet this] This weekend not only marks the culmination of our 40 Day Bible Challenge, but the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection.

If you missed them, here is a quick and easy way to read the other tips and tricks I’ve collected along the way—feel free to add your own in the comment section, below:

But we do still have one tricky book left to read: Revelation.

Before you get all doom and gloom on me, read these tips to understanding and interpreting apocalyptic literature like Revelation:

1)     Revelation is often a book followers of Jesus don’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole because of the bizarre imagery, hidden meanings, and strange symbols, but is a book to be celebrated! Revelation reminds us that no matter how bad the score might look mid-game, God wins in the end. [Tweet this] God will triumph over evil!

Shrouded in Mystery: Tips of the Trade for Understanding Revelation

2)     “Apocalypse” means “uncovering,” “revealing,” or “unveiling.” As we peel away at the layers of Revelation, we know that God has shrouded the future in mystery.  We can never fully understand His plans, but can rest in His unfailing love for us and seek to depend on Him even further in the midst of the unknown. [Tweet this]

3)     Don’t rely too heavily on the math. Numbers are used symbolically, not literally. The numbers 12, 7, and 3 often represent the idea of wholeness throughout Scripture—seen many times in the pages of Revelation.

4)     The apocalyptic genre can be found in other books of Scripture—like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. You may even see themes and symbols that overlap between those Old Testament books and Revelation.

5)     Much of the imagery in Revelation has more than one meaning or interpretation. There are over 5 different methods for interpreting this mysterious book. As you read, consult several different commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and friends to discuss the different interpretations.

6)     Reading Revelation is like reading a spoiler for your favorite movie or reading the last chapter of your favorite book. [Tweet this] Knowing the end, reminds us to live faithfully no matter what we’re facing today.

What tips do you have for reading Revelation? What encouragement do you have for those completing the 40 Day Bible Reading Challenge?

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