Lee Irons


(1) Is Revelation about the timeless tale of the conflict between good and evil?

a. If you answer, "Yes," you are an IDEALIST.
b. Those who say it is about real historical events move on to the next question.

(2) Have the events described up to Rev. 20:7 already been fulfilled?

a. Those who say the events have already been fulfilled are either HISTORICISTS (Rev. describes key events of church history, e.g., Antichrist = Papacy) or PRETERISTS (Rev. is about God's covenantal judgment on Israel in AD 70).
b. Those who believe that Rev. is eschatological move on to the next question.

(3) Is Rev. a literal, linear narrative of future prophetic events?

a. FUTURISTS believe Rev. is a straightforward, linear description of future prophetic events. It is pre-written history. The main form of futurism today is dispensationalism.
b. If you are dissatisfied with all of the above, you might be a BIBLICAL THEOLOGIAN


Revelation is an apocalypse filled with symbolic images of the inauguration and consummation of Christ's eschatological Kingdom, and the church's participation therein, thus renewing our minds according to the heavenly reality and calling us to be overcomers who inherit end-time blessedness in the new creation even as Christ overcame through faithful witness unto death.

(1) Defining "Apocalypse"

"Apocalypse is a genre in which a revelation is given by God, to a human seer, through an otherworldly mediator, disclosing future events and/or transcendent reality, which is intended to affect the understanding and behavior of the audience" (Charles Talbert). Cp. Mathewson, "Revelation in Recent Genre Criticism," TrinJ 13NS (1992) 193-213.

(2) Christ's eschatological Kingdom

(3) A guide to interpreting the symbolic images of Revelation

a. Determine the Referential Meaning
b. Pursue the Symbolic Insight

(4) Mind renewal (Rom. 12:2)

a. Symbolic Transformation
b. Overcomer theme



PROLOGUE (1:1-8)
The Vision Proper (1:9-22:9)

I. Inaugural Vision of Things Which Are (1:9-3:22)
A. Pneumatic Enrapture & Prefatory Vision of Christ (1:9-20)
B. 7-Fold Message to the Churches (2:1-3:22)

  1. Message to Ephesus (2:1-7)
  2. Message to Smyrna (2:8-11)
  3. Message to Pergamos (2:12-17)
  4. Message to Thyatira (2:18-29)
  5. Message to Sardis (3:1-6)
  6. Message to Philadelphia (3:7-13)
  7. Message to Laodicea (3:14-22)

II. Eschatological Vision of Things Which Shall Take Place (4:1-22:9)
A. Pneumatic Enrapture & Prefatory Vision of the Lamb (4:1-5:14)
B. 7-Fold Eschatological Vision (6:1-22:9)

  1. The Opening of the 7 Seals (6:1-8:5)
  2. The Sounding of the 7 Trumpets (8:2-11:19)
  3. The Heavenly Woman and Her Enemies (12:1-14:20)
  4. The Outpouring of the 7 Bowls (15:1-16:21)
  5. The Vision of the Harlot-City (17:1-19:10)
  6. The Last Battle (19:11-21:8)
  7. The Vision of the Bride-City (21:9-22:9)

EPILOGUE (22:6-21)

Suggested Reading

Barr, David. "The Apocalypse as a Symbolic Transformation of the World." Interp 38 (1984) 39-50.
Bauckham, Richard. The Theology of the Book of Revelation. Cambridge University Press, 1993.
*Beale, G. K. The Book of Revelation. NIGTC. Eerdmans, 1999.
Boring, Eugene M. "Narrative Christology in the Apocalypse." CBQ 54 (1992) 702-23.
__________. Revelation. Interpretation. John Knox Press, 1989.
Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors. Baker, 1967.
Irons, Lee. "What Should I Read on Revelation?" Kerux 14.1 (May 1999) 26-43.
__________. Sermons on Revelation (
Kline, Meredith G. "The First Resurrection." WTJ 37 (1975) 366-75.
__________. "Har Magedon: The End of the Millennium." JETS 39.2 (June 1996) 207-222.
Pate, Marvin C., ed. Four Views on the Book of Revelation. Zondervan, 1998.

*Highly recommended - Beale is the definitive amillennial commentary on Rev.