The book of Revelation is a glorious gift of God to His Church. Speaking through the exalted Christ, and of the exalted Christ, He uses a multitude of visions and prophecies to instruct, warn, and comfort His pilgrim people as they make their way through the wilderness of this evil age, past the Consummation, and into the New Heavens and the New Earth.
In evangelical circles there are four basic approaches to understanding the Revelation. Some interpret it as speaking primarily of the last of the Last Days (futurists). Others say it speaks primarily of NT times, of days now long past (preterists). Still others argue that it pictures different stages of Church history (historicists).
The idealist school of interpretation holds that the Revelation was meant to speak to all Christians of all times. Here, in the Grand Finale of Scripture, God uses a wide variety of symbols (often drawn from the OT) to communicate certain ideas about spiritual principles and realities that believers of all generations are sure to encounter, and must therefore understand well. This method, which does not rule out the possibility that the Revelation sometimes speaks of events unique to the very end of the age, has the advantage of incorporating the elements of truth found in the other three views.
As a rule, this page will present idealist interpretations of the Revelation.