Book of Revelation
The Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation, it has been said, is impossible to know outside of the Liturgy, and it is certainly spiritually dangerous to try to read to deeply into it, especially if one has been a long time distant from Holy Communion.
This book is generally attributed to St. John the Theologian, one of the Twelve Apostles, and written as he was exiled in Patmos towards the end of his life. The book itself has been one of the many to drift in and out of the Bible, and it certainly is controversial; heterodox opinion itself is not always certain that it actually is prophecy, or even referring to the end of the world, and the Last Judgment.
The writings of Fr. Seraphim Rose are a good starting point.
Within the book there is a certain metaphor and symbolism, and it is important to note that this symbolism can have more than one meaning. The number seven is often used to represent permanence, as this was the day of the completion of Creation; the woman can represent the Church, and the serpent; and other things we will likely not understand until the end comes.
The Book of Revelation is best divided into three parts:
- those things that have occured,
- those things that are in the process of happening, and
- those things that have yet to be.
Those things that have occurred
Satan's fall from Heaven, as well as, in some understandings, the thousand-year reign of Christ ('one thousand' is likely used rather than an absolute value), or, in Orthodox understanding, the Church. It is important to remember that the Second Coming is described as "like lightning from the east to west," and that Christ Himself warns of those who come claiming to be Him.
Those things that are in the process of happening
Well, many things, in modern times it is not hard to think that evil reigns; we certainly have wars and rumors of wars. There is an ongoing drive towards one church, and perhaps the time when the Church will hide in the desert is not far off.
Those things that have yet to be
These are many, and are cataclysmic. The stars falling from the sky, the fall of the city referred to as Babylon, the return of two prophets. <Please expand>
Pre- or Post-Millennialist
Neither! The view of the Church is that the thousand-year reign of Christ refers to the current, and perhaps long-past, time of the reign of the Church, which in places such as Russia, Greece, and Constantinople, was practically literal.
The Last Judgment
The Soul after Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose is an excellent reference for this.
- Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, Fr. Seraphim Rose
- The Soul after Death, Fr. Seraphim Rose