I have just begun an in depth study of Revelation. I like to preach through entire books of the Bible and I am really praying about preaching through this last book of the New Testament. This book is feared by some, considered irrelevant by others and misunderstood by most. As I have begun to study the background and introductory issues I have noticed that so much of what I have always been taught concerning this book is colored deeply by Western biases.
I come from a dispensationalist background. I am pretrib and believe in the rapture of the saints. But much of what I hear about prophecy and Revelation in general always strikes me as speculation at best and bad theology at worst. Part of the problem lies in the assumption that God sees the world the same way that people of Western European descent see it. This is wrong on many levels. Much of what is taught about the meaning of the prophecies would have had zero relevance to the original audience that John addressed this epistle of sorts to.
Understanding the original context of the Scripture as best we can is necessary for proper interpretation. I believe Revelation is as relevant now as ever. I also understand that I need to, as much as possible, attempt to put aside my presuppositions and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to me through the text. I must open my ears and hear not as an American first but as a Christ follower first.
7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 2:7