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Preconceived Notion: an opinion formed beforehand without adequate evidence
I was raised through a variety of denominations which had a variety of beliefs but one thing was pretty close, the teaching of end day prophecy. Even with the similarities, there are multiple major differences and speculations. We see differences and speculations in rapture periods, the mark, the anti-christ man or kingdom, who the beast's are, the witnesses, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ok, there's not much similarities in the theology of what people call end day prophecy.

When I learned how to study the Bible in the manner in which it was written, I started seeing all kinds of obvious errors. When contacting people who claimed to know what it was saying, those looked at as authoritative on the subject, it was obvious they knew nothing about it. That's when I looked at the history of how we got to the modern beliefs (
Failed Predictions). It was time to start over, time to start afresh. I first had to see what the definitions of "revelation" and "apocrypha" meant and I started to study with a Hebrew mindset, the mindset of John who wrote the book.

It's likely you're coming to this site with teachings already imbedded into your mind. This makes it even more difficult to understand the letter of Revelation as we struggle past the things we always thought were true but may not be. These are preconceived notions.

Preconceived notions is an opinion, whether obtains organically or through teachings, by which we will believe a subject but actually have inadequate evidence to support the theory. We may think we have evidence but have you seen something that contradicts what you believe? Did you ignore that contradiction? Have you looked at a theory and honestly evaluated that the Scripture used really is not a strong supporter of that theory? Did you ignore that?

If you're wanting a fuller understanding of what is happening in this letter to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, you are going to have to do the best you can to stop those preconceived notions from interrupting what is actually being shown. I say shown because Revelation is a letter filled with imagery of the context of the day it was written and Old Testament text by which the readers for which it was intended would understand the writings within. We find ourselves at a disadvantage having to study it almost 2000 years after it was written.

What makes it so difficult for many of us to understand this text is we've never experienced real oppression or real persecution. It's hard for us to bridge the gap of experience we have not had with the text written to provide hope in persecution the original reader was reading. Like many who think "God rains on the just and unjust" (Matthew 5:45) means He brings "bad" on the just and unjust can only see rain in the context of eastern America and miss the point these people were in a desert land where rain is a blessing and not bad. Like this problem understanding the reality of rain based on our comfortable context we miss the reality of the message of hope in the apocalyptic literature like Revelation.

I would encourage you to try your best to erase your mind on what you think you know and place yourself into the shoes of the readers of this letter so you can fully see how John is commenting to them. Once we establish this full context we can then determine how this letter affects our lives.