I started my study of Revelation on Saturday and today I completed the first chapter. This book is so different from any other in the Bible, and I love it. But I would never want to teach it in a Bible study with people who see modern events in Revelation. I doubt if I could stay sane.
The thought I had as I read through this chapter is that you can’t read a sentence without running into an Old Testament allusion. You simply cannot read Revelation without a modicum of familiarity with the Old Testament. The symbols will make no sense without that knowledge.
John the Seer is so steeped in the OT scriptures that it just oozes out of him. It reminds me of Joseph Smith’s “Book of Mormon” in that way. I don’t know if you ever tried to read it, but Smith (who was by many accounts illiterate) was so familiar with the King James Version that his supposed translation of the supposed golden tablets sounds like it was written by Shakespeare. Revelation is like that, except for the comic element.
Along with my study I’m reading G K Beale’s commentary in the New International Greek Text Commentary series. I haven’t seen anything better at connecting Revelation with its OT allusions. Highly recommended, even if you don’t read Greek.