So far, it would seem that Chapters 1-3 are fairly straight forward. Chapter 4, however, begins the onset of the symbolic language that many have attempted to make sense of for hundreds of years. My view is that these passages have to be considered relevant to the timing expressed within their own contents as well as the people referenced. When attempting to fit these passages to times that aren’t implied within the text, we get much confusion as the meaning has to be heavily modified, yet still has little to no relevance. These passages were written to be understood by the original recipients, not to be retrofitted to any age throughout history. When such a rigid stance is taken, it violates the very “soon” language that is prominent throughout the book. As with previous chapters, I will be observant to any time shifts that may occur that would be relevant to our age or current times.
I intended to write an entry for each chapter, but as these chapters are somewhat short and seem mostly straight-forward, I’m combining them into one writing.
Verse 1, again, makes mention of the time period we are dealing with—“after these things” and “things which must happen after this.” While this could be stretched to mean at any point in history “after,” this gives a very unnatural meaning regarding the overall flow of the book and all the soon terminology mentioned through the rest of the New Testament. If someone told me, “We’re going to go to the store after this,” I would expect, that when we finished our current task, we would go to the store. This would seem to be the most straight forward, unevasive, and natural meaning to the text.
The rest of the chapter gives a fairly vivid description of the Throne Room. Much of this, while extravagant language, seems to be understandable in the context that it is explaining the heavenly realm. I don’t see a specific need for in-depth commentary here as many would seem to agree with this surface level conclusion and several commentaries already exist that I’m in a majority of agreement with.
This is the part where things start to get more interesting. So far, no obvious time transition has taken place that would launch us into a far-future, indefinite, here-but-not-yet for a very long time, setting. The book with the seven seals would seem to be intended for the Jewish age. We see that no one is worthy to open the book except One, he who overcame (v5). From the references, this is Jesus (Lion of Judah, Root of David). Verse 9 also confirms this—“you were killed, and bought us for God with your blood.”
Verse 10 makes reference to something that will happen in the future—“we will reign on the earth.” As of yet though, no specific timing is given of when this will be, but it can be reasonably thought to be after the fulfillment of the prophecies, whenever that may be (so far listed as “soon”).
The rest of the chapter, while still filled with heavenly visions, can be fairly ascertainable to the references. Again, these verses don’t seem to need much more commentary than already exists.
The next chapters get even more intense as we begin to see the opening of the seven seals and the horses/riders. I know there is a lot of symbolism used in the chapters so far, but I’m trying to present as straight-forward a meaning as possible without going too far into conjecture and leave the rest of the interpretation to the reader as needed. This is to ascertain the framework of the entire book to understand how the original recipients would have viewed it. I believe this gives a more legitimate meaning to the Bible as a whole which seems to be working out a story with the Jewish people. They being one of the main focuses and how God redeems all of humanity through Jesus who comes from that group. As well, we today live in the new age/world (aion) of the New Covenant differing from that of the old.