I would like to find out something with regards to studying the book of Revelation. To be honest Revelation is one of the books I have not read except just the letters to the churches. How should one study this book and how should one interpret the things that are going on in that book i.e beasts, numbers, dragons etc. Do you understand this book?
I am not sure I can say I completely understand the book of Revelation, but I do understand quite a bit about the book. First of all, I am not the world’s expert on the book. Let me suggest a couple of books I really like. You may need to use google to find these books. One is the book on Revelation by Jim McGuiggan. This one is a bit hard to find, but if you google his name, you can find it. The other is "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" by Gordon Ferguson. It is at dpibooks.com Also Douglas Jacoby (www.douglasjacoby.com) has a brand new DVD series on Revelation which is available at www.ipibooks.com.
A few comments. Except for the last two chapters, Revelation is a vision concerning the events which happened to the church in the persecution by Rome. Twice, the angel tells John that the vision is of events which "will soon take place." (for example Revelation 1:1). I think that Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are quite straightforward. Chapters 4-19 are clearly more difficult. This is apocalyptic language. In this kind of biblical literature one must take what is said to be symbolic unless the context dictates otherwise. The visions, with all the creatures, and numbers and so forth are admittedly difficult to understand, but they are about the attacks on the church by the Roman persecutors and the fact that God is in control and that victory is God’s. Rome will not prevail. Judgment will come on the enemies of God’s people. There is way too much there, and I do not think you asked me to interpret all the visions, but just to give you a feeling, Revelation 17 is definitely about judgment on the Roman empire and the persecutors of the church. The fifth king is the persecutor Nero, while the eighth king is Domitian–also a persecutor of the church. The theme of the book is that God is in control and his children may be persecuted but they will be victorious.
John Oakes, PhD