Combined with reading scripture, this was very helpful in providing insights, context and understanding of the book of Revelation. I read the Bible first, then the associated chapters, and that worked well for me.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John," The book of Revelation is filled with strange and unearthly images, and symbolism requiring translation. Other chapters: Chapter 2---Christ and the Churches (Revelation 1-3) Chapter 3---The Scroll Unsealed (Revelation 4-7) Chapter 4---Trumpets of Terror and Hope (Revelation 8-11) Chapter 5---The Beast and the Lamb (Revelation 12-15) Chapter 6---The Harlot and the Bride (Revelation 15-19) Chapter 7---The End (Revelation 19-22) My Thoughts: Every year I read a NT book twelve times in twelve translations. Not strange as in a science fiction type thriller, but strange in that I have believed more of "other" people's strange interpretations and feelings, rather than on reading and studying the book itself. After a few readings of Revelation, I came to the conclusion it is not a book to be feared, it is instead a book of hope, because God has a plan, it is already in process, and he is sovereign. One of the best points about Revelation and The End of All Things, is the author exposes the varying views of interpretation. The Church needs to read the Bible, we need to hear the Word of Truth, we need the hope and peace God has given us In Christ Jesus.
For those seeking a better approach to the Bible's most controversial book than the one offered by popular culture and premillennial dispensationalism, Craig Koester's Revelation and the End of All Things is for you. It might not make Revelation your favorite book of the Bible, but it will certainly make it more understandable by helping to show that God indeed "so loved the world" to die for it, not to slaughter it and that Christians are called to imitate the way of sacrifice, not the more popular ways of power, wealth and violence.
Revelation introduces itself as a "revelation of Jesus." This should mean two obvious things: 1) the book is intended to reveal, not conceal or obscure. 2) the book is intended to reveal Jesus.
The below quote is from page 173 of the book: "By taking readers through a dizzying spiral of visions, Revelation helps to undercut the readers' confidence that they can know the steps by which future events will unfold.
Though Koester doesn't provide a introduction to the historical context or issues of textual or canonical criticism, he does demonstrate how the text makes far more sense when read in way which would resonate with John's intended audience.
While I had a few minor points of disagreement with the author, the book was very well-written, and I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in better understanding Revelation.
Koester takes a historical look at the large variety of prominent interpretations of the book, critiquing and analyzing them as he tells the story of Revelation's many interpreters.
and Carrie Nasby Chair of New Testament at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Dr. Koester is has led and organized seminars for the Society of Biblical Literature and Society for New Testament Studies. He has served as associate editor of the journals New Testament Studies and The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and regularly presents his work at international gatherings of scholars. In the church, Dr. Koester speaks at theological conferences, synod gatherings, pastors workshops, and congregations.