Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On interpreting Revelation non-violently

I saw this link come through my Twitter feed today. The piece is from 2010, so it’s been around a while but I hadn’t seen it until today.

Revelation and the Violent “Prize Fighting” Jesus

In an interview several years ago for Relevant Magazine, Mark Driscoll (well known pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle) said,

“In Revelation, Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up…”

I frankly have trouble understanding how a follower of Jesus could find himself unable to worship a guy he could “beat up” when he already crucified him. I also fail to see what is so worshipful about someone carrying a sword with “a commitment make someone bleed.”  But this aside, I’m not at all surprised Driscoll believes the book of Revelation portrays Jesus as a “prize fighter.”  This violent picture of Jesus, rooted in a literalistic interpretation of Revelation, is very common among conservative Christians, made especially popular by the remarkably violent Left Behind series…

Read the rest of the article at the original site.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reblog: I Used to be a Futurist

I came across a start of a new blog series written by Gary Wallin at The Cosmic Cathedral. Today’s entry is Apocalypse Then Pt 1: Saying Farewell to Futurism.

He ends this post by writing,

“So I hope you join me in the coming weeks as we attempt to read Revelation through the eyes of John the Seer and endeavor to uncover the meaning of the “Apocalypse Then.””

As you can see, this fits well with where the studies recorded in this blog have been. I look forward to seeing where Mr. Wallin’s journey takes him.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another Look at Revelation

I found a blog that is looking at some of the symbolism in Revelation and what it might mean in today’s world. Take a look and see how it compares with other interpretations of the book.

As with blogs, earlier entries are at the bottom. The series is still in progress.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Reblog: He Threw the Dragon Down

I came across the following Lenten sermon on Revelation 12:7-12.

He Threw the Dragon Down

“Revelation is filled with bizarre, crazy images: dragons and horsemen named Death, lions that look like lambs, robes dipped in blood, pregnant women and numbers pregnant with meaning and above it all this image of a boot-stomping, butt-kicking Jesus Christ.

“And my assumption is that, like those evangelists on Washington and King, you assume Revelation is about the future. That it’s like a visual Morse code, warning us of what’s to come.

“But when we treat the Book of Revelation like a Ouija Board that predicts the future, we miss the fact that St John writes down this vision God gives him, sneaks it out of the prison Rome has locked him in, and he sends it out to his churches not not to warn them of what’s to come one day but to remind them of what has already come to pass, once and for all, in Jesus Christ.

“The Book of Revelation is not primarily about the future.

“It is instead in scene after scene, in image after image, in symbol after symbol, about the cross. It’s about the cross.”

Monday, February 18, 2013


Here is a list of the main sources and reference materials used during our study of Revelation.

Epilogue–The End

Outline: Epilogue
Passage: Revelation 22:6b-21
Discussion audio (1h12m)

With the 40th session we arrive at the end of Revelation. John wraps up and reiterates his main themes in this Epilogue section. He does this by echoing words and phrases from the Prologue at the very beginning. What we learn is that everything between the Prologue and Epilogue is explanations and descriptions of themes that were first introduced in the Prologue.

In summary here are the main themes that we discovered during our journey through Revelation.

  1. Jesus is God
  2. Israel is the Church (not ethnic or national)
  3. The Church is the New Jerusalem
  4. The description of the New Jerusalem is not heaven, but the Church
  5. The New Jerusalem is the Holy of Holies, where God dwells, and where his people now dwell
  6. Blessings are given to those who keep the words of Revelation (i.e., keep the commandments) and hold on (remain faithful) to the testimony given by Jesus in the book (the two phrases, “keep the commandments” and “hold to the testimony” are really the same thing)
  7. Revelation compares and contrasts two opposing systems – one based on coercion and force, the other based on love and liberty
  8. Revelation warns Christians against accommodating and approving the use of coercion and force, even for ends that may be good
  9. Babylon and New Jerusalem are two counterpart cities that respectively embody the principles of their masters
  10. Babylon will be destroyed; New Jerusalem will last forever
  11. Jesus’ coming is already here, in part; the rest of the story is just as certain
  12. Revelation is not so much about the future as it is about how Christians are to engage the world while awaiting the full arrival of God’s kingdom

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The New Jerusalem

Outline: The New Jerusalem
Passage: Revelation 21:9-22:6a
Discussion audio (39m)

The Bride of the Lamb is finally revealed! It turns out to be the New Jerusalem. This passage is often read as a description of “heaven” but that turns out to be the least likely application. The New Jerusalem is a description of the Church, of which aspects already exist today and have since Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his resurrection.

The descriptive texts of New Jerusalem are highly suffused with symbolic metaphors from the Old Testament writings as well as other Jewish writings known during the era of Revelation’s writing. The New Jerusalem is the culmination of all that Judaism was looking towards as the climax of history, but is now described in terms of Jesus Christ and the Church.

The New Jerusalem represents the Holy of Holies in Judaism, the place where God himself is said to have dwelt. In Revelation John describes the saints in the Holy of Holies with God himself. It will remain forever, and the saints will dwell in the safety and security of God’s presence. There will be nothing to fear, ever again.