Revelation meaning, what it is, definition, what it consists of, concept. When we think of apocalypse it is very likely that we think of an event that will end up ending up with the whole world in a rather catastrophic way. An effect produced perhaps by popular culture , where, in hundreds of stories, this word is used to denote the end of time.
The most curious thing of all is that, when investigating, we will find a completely different situation than what is typically thought to be the apocalypse. What is the meaning of apocalypse really?
In this article we will know this term in depth, reviewing its etymological, Catholic, Hebrew, and of course, biblical meaning. Already in context, let’s start
To understand the meaning from the base, let’s go to its etymology. There we find that the word apocalypse comes from the Latin “apocalypsis”, whose meaning in English is translated as “revelation”. Typically, this term refers to a catastrophic event, which ends up neutralizing all existing life.
However, when we speak of Revelation, we speak, in essence, of the last book that constitutes the New Testament in the Bible, as well as in the Christian Bible, which is also called the Revelations of Jesus. In this book, a series of events are described that symbolize the end of the world. Although it is important to mention that the scriptures of this book are prophetic in themselves.
In this regard, the book of Revelation can be analyzed from multiple forms of interpretation, being one of the most extensive in the Bible, which has resulted in a variety of approaches and analyses. We will find mainly four types of interpretation of the Apocalypse:
- Symbolic: It happens that this book is considered the one with the greatest content in terms of representations and symbols, therefore, this analysis is based on understanding the meaning of all the elements present in his writings. In fact, it is this level of interpretation that holds that this book is based on a representation of the spiritual struggle of good and evil.
- Historical: Also called preterist, which maintains that the events described in the book date from the first century, and seeks to generate explanations of multiple events that would have affected, even, other passages of the Bible.
- Prophetic or futuristic: Which attributes all the events described in the book as scenarios that will be part of a line of events in the future, in what, symbolically, will be the end of the world.
- Christian Analysis: Based on the understanding of all the events described as part of the message of Jesus, and in that sense, a way to find the way to God.
The book of Revelation is, at present, a set of writings with many mysteries and interpretations to be found. There is controversy as far as its authorship is concerned, as some people claim that it was written by the apostle John, although this idea is not accepted by the entire Christian community, which makes this book a complex element in itself.
The book of Revelation, in the Hebrew context, is known as the Aramaic Apocalypse. It is a writing that is part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, where it stands out, specifically for emphasizing the identity of the Son of God, raising itself as an element that is still under discussion.
This writing, commonly described as a simple fragment, was written in Palestinian Jewish Aramaic, and its date is estimated at approximately 100 BC. In its content, apocalyptic ideas can be found, which describe moments of hardship for the earth and chaos among humans.
However, the debate over the identity of the Son of God is still the highlight of this writing. In reading the text, it is possible to find a description of the “tribulation” as that phenomenon that will welcome the Son of God, who, in the company of his father, “will rule the earth”, receiving the name of “The Great”.
The writings explain that both the son and the father will rule the earth for “a few years,” while the nations will “trample” on each other. However, some people completely reject these interpretations, arguing that these writings only refer to a monarch figure of Syrian origin, or also a false prophet.
This fragment is also called 4Q246, and was published only in 1974. One of the most valued conjectures for deciphering the identity of the Son of God is the similarity between the reading of Luke 1:32 and the reading of Colossians 2:1, since it holds that “the Son of God will be called the son of the Most High,” while the previous one presents: “he will be called the son of God.”
One trait that has centered many of the arguments behind the discussion is to suggest that Jesus Christ is to be recognized as the Son of God. However, this has not gone beyond being one of the many hypotheses, or in any case, the interpretations that exist about this writing.
In fact, there are interpretations that claim that the so-called Son of God will be nothing more than an impostor who will be in charge of overthrowing God from heaven, who then, according to these scriptures, will be banished by the very people of God. This will allow to recover the order of the heavens, achieving once again the balance between the earth and the universe.
One of the main problems related to any of these interpretations is explained in the state in which the writing is. Many of the fragments are not legible, and since they cannot be fully recovered, it is not possible to obtain a reconstruction of what, at the time, these writings warned.
It is for this reason that, so far, the Aramaic Apocalypse remains one of the most complex debates to be resolved as far as its interpretation is concerned. Two columns of text that have managed to be the basis of more than 30 years of long research and debates on the subject.
When we speak of the apocalypse, we find, under the Catholic perspective, a book of prophetic ends, which tries to describe the way in which the end of the world will occur. In this context, the term Apocalypse comes from the Greek expression ἀποκάλυψις, which translates into English as “discovery”.
As for its authorship, there is no doubt as to the apostle John as his writer, who would have begun his writings in the first century, being able to culminate by the beginning of the second century approximately. This would have occurred, to be more specific, during the persecution of Christians by the Romans.
St. John would be selected by the Holy Spirit after having a revelation during his exile on the island of Patmos. There, he experienced a series of visions that he had to write, and then traveled to the seven churches: Laodicea, Philadelphia, Thyatira, Sardis, Ephesus, Pergamum and Smyrna.
This book contains 22 chapters, despite its reading, there are contradictions with what its interpretations are concerned. Many of the approaches try to assess the moment in which it would be written, which could explain the purposes of their messages. The accentuation of persecuted Christians could give an idea that this book warned of a difficult future approaching.
It is proposed, at least from this approach, that the book of Revelation would have been written to bring a message of encouragement to Christians, so that they could resist persecutions, having faith in the arrival of a full eternity, maintaining the hope of a dignified life.
In this same way, the message of the apostle John has been diversified into other interpretations. In this case, the idea of a message for the Christian life is raised, claiming the arrival of a new life after the cataclysm, where the church and Jesus will be the victorious ones, and only those who have faith, will be able to ascend to the kingdom of God.
As in the previous cases, as in the Aramaic Apocalypse, there is no final interpretation on these passages, finding an ongoing discussion about what, really, the book of Revelation has meant to the Catholic Church. A message that, despite manifesting itself in clear scriptures -unlike the Aramaic Apocalypse-, has not managed, likewise, to generate a conclusion regarding its ideas.
The understanding of the book of Revelation, although not accurate, remains one of the most complex, since this book is one of the deepest in the Bible, containing a large number of symbols and messages. In fact, some interpretations hold that the meanings of this book are completely symbolic, that is, that everything is figurative.
There is a message that has not been deciphered, indicating that everything that is read on its pages should not be interpreted literally. The idea of an advance description of the future is denied, and there is talk of a description of reality with the use of multiple symbols that, due to their apocalyptic features, attract the attention of those who read them.
In the Bible: Revelation meaning
There is no biblical interpretation as to what the book of Revelation actually warns, at least not one that has been accepted by theologians in a consensual manner. As we have observed, there are multiple interpretations of the passages of Revelation.
Likewise, there are several writings that are contemplated on what is considered the book of Revelation, finding that some religions study different passages in each case. In the previous reading, we find that, for example, the Aramaic Apocalypse is completely different from the new testament book of Revelation.
However, it does not mean that we cannot know some of the approaches that are part of the different biblical interpretations of the meaning of Revelation. This, remembering that none of these is an absolute interpretation:
- Premonition: One of the main interpretations we find in the Bible about Revelation is as a premonition, warning that it is a perennial struggle, which will be waged between God and evil. Only God will decide the end of this encounter, differentiating a moment when the winners will sing, while the vanquished will cry out.
- Idealist: This interpretation holds that Revelation illustrates different scenarios that warn of the struggle between good and evil, which takes place from the beginnings of the church to the present day. Under this premise, Revelation is a passage that keeps the truths of the end of the world, that is, that in this are the signs that warn of the arrival of the tribulation.
- Praiser: Among the most important ideas, it is stated that this book is designed to follow God through the different symbols that are presented. The use of such symbols is explained by the use of figurative language, given that the persecution of Christians was so severe that all messages of worship of Jesus were to be concealed as possible.
As is evident, interpretations of Revelation present a big difference from each other, whether we are talking about the New Testament or the Aramaic Apocalypse respectively. In any case, there is no truth yet obtained, since each interpretation brings an important value to the research carried out on this book.
One of the factors that has most favored the complexity of this situation is the wide variety of passages and symbols that are found, either in the case of the Catholic New Testament or the Dead Sea Scrolls. The result, conjectures that struggle day after day to become a truth that can finally explain this book.
Undoubtedly, the book of Revelation is one of the most controversial in the Bible, becoming part of one of the most curious objects of the sacred scriptures, and therefore, a reason for constant research. From this, it is not possible to obtain a concrete conclusion, although it is an invitation to continue investigating what, whoever wrote these messages, he was trying to tell us at that moment of his life finally.
- (2021). Apocalypse. Wikipedia. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse#:~:text=It%20is%20believed%20by%20many,a%20new%20world%20and%20heaven.
- (2020). Are You Ready for an Apocalypse?. Bibleproject. Retrieved from: https://bibleproject.com/blog/are-you-ready-for-an-apocalypse/
- Tabor, J. (2014). The Book of Revelation. Retrieved from: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/explanation/brevelation.html
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