The Nature of the Book
Is Revelation prophecy or history?
© Pat Marvenko Smith
The book of Revelation itself declares that it is prophecy: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy..." (Revelation 1:3). Four additional times in the last chapter of the book the message is declared to be prophetic (Revelation 22:7, 10, 18, 19).
So, the real question should be, "Is Revelation fulfilled prophecy?" I have addressed this issue in an article about Preterism, so I will not go into detail. Suffice it for me to say that everything in the book from chapter 4 on is yet future. The future aspects are introduced in chapter 4 verse 1 where John is raptured to Heaven and is informed that he will be shown "what must take place after these things."
Those who argue that the prophecies of Revelation have been fulfilled in history can do so only by spiritualizing the book. Where in history was one-fourth of humanity killed in one war? (Revelation 6:1-8). Where is the historical record of 144,000 Jews being suddenly saved and then called for special service in the Lord's kingdom? (Revelation 7:1-8). Has there ever been a war that resulted in the slaughter of one-third of humanity? (Revelation 8 and 9). Has there ever been a locust invasion, real or symbolic, that resulted in all unsaved people suffering terrible torment for five months while saved people experienced immunity? (Revelation 9:1-11). Where in history are the two witnesses of Revelation 11 or the two beasts of Revelation 13?
I could go on and on, but I think the point has been made. The prophecies of Revelation await fulfillment.
Revelation Study Resources
- Revelation: An Overview multimedia training kit covers the book of Revelation verse by verse.
- Dr. Reagan's book, Wrath and Glory, covers the book of Revelation chapter by chapter.
- Dr. Reagan's video program, Revelation Revealed, presents a sweeping overview of the entire book of Revelation.