Revelations on Revelation

Buddy Oliver, over on Rev22 has some interesting things to say about the book of John’s Revelation:

“I think it could be argued however that Revelation is second in importance only to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. One could make a case that it ranks above Luke’s Gospel because Revelation is a first hand account of an encounter with Jesus and many theologians believe that it was written by John the Apostle (of course there are those who think otherwise). Luke on the other hand is a second hand account at best (albeit an incredibly important book nonetheless)…

…the Gospels are the life blood of Christians. They are vitally important even central for us to live out the Kingdom. However they only give us basically a three year window into who Jesus is. Among many other things, Revelation gives us more to add to that picture. It gives us the first (and only?) status report on our progress.”

Read the whole article here:

  1. #1 by Ionatan on August 11, 2007 - 11:34 am

    I’m a Romanian Christian writer, a poet of Crist. I have s little In English section of Christian poetry on my blog:
    Do you want te see it? Thank you and God bless you.

  2. #2 by Ambrosia de Milano on August 12, 2007 - 8:33 pm

    My views on Revelation have taken a circuitous path (that’s like a circle, Chris).
    In high school, my Bible Lit teacher painted the picture of Revelation as a book shrouded in mystery.

    I attended a church that made prophecy one if its calling cards, so to speak. The well-known pastor would frequently shake up the congregation when speaking of any prophetic books. His commetary on Daniel really makes one think about Israel, modern times, and Revelation.

    The book stirred fear in my heart. The images–ooh–really frightening. What were the locusts? Were they Apache helicopters bearing down somewhere in the middle-east? Was Plain Wrap the precursor of Anti-Christ’s marketing system? And what about 666?

    All of this is funny considering the title means “appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.” It does not mean Sudden Burning End, or Disasterous Death, or any other of the connotations associated with the title.

    How have I come full circle? About 11 years ago I led a men’s Bible study group (which dwindled from a solid amount to nary a couple) through Revelation. I used Henry Morris’ “The Revelation Record” as part of the basis for the study, as well as some commentaries on Daniel. This gave me and the few a pretty clear pe-tribulation view of Revelation.

    Later, I became a devotee of the Left Behind books–not that I drew doctrine from the series–not much anyway. The books left me feeling that Jerry and Tim write good stories, but that the challenge and triumph felt by many simply was not there for me.
    I felt this especially when I found out that the idea for the books may have come from none other than Earnest Angely.

    Today, I view Revelation as a mystery of sorts. It has many possible meanings–from warnings to John’s contemporaries, to visions of a restored paradise on earth.
    As to its showing a less popular view of Jesus, I don’t know–it does show the consumation of His kingdom–but it is a picture that seems to conflict with 1 Corinthians 15:24 (which Paul wrote probably not having read the Revelation).

    The book has been kicked about by many–in many ways. In fact, Luther (according to Floyd Filson) thought Revelation “was not clear and did not properly teach Christ.”
    I think I agree with Luther. Revelation is not clear. We should not try and figure out what is meant to the letters to the churches. We should not say that the church is poofed away after chapter 4. Revelation 20 seems to poin to a post-millennial view of the resurrection “And the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” The beginning of Revelation 2:4 is speaking about Martyrs whose deaths take place at an unspecified span of time. If anyone experiences a rapture, it seems to be for a limited number of martyrs.

    Call facts facts–and speculation is fun–but if something is not historical or proven in an empirical sense, then how can we say we believe? Yes, faith helps us believe what we cannot see–but faith’s ends are always a product of truth.


  3. #3 by Ambrosia de Milano on August 13, 2007 - 1:03 am

    P. S.

    It is arguable that the Gospels are not the “lifeblood of Christians.” Paul’s writings are the major source of doctrine, especially Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Galatians. In fact it is Paul–Colossians 1:15-17, as well as other passages–(Philippians 1:6) in which we see the bulk of passages that declare the divine nature of Christ. Hebrews declares that Christ is the “express image of His person.” Words of this gravity are used sparingly in the Gospels.

    This is not to degrade the Gospels by any means–for they are the Good News. It is important to remember that however the New Testament writings were generated (whether through divine inspiration, human response to faith, or some combination of the two actions) that the entire New Testament is the lifeblood for the Christian.


  4. #4 by Christian Beyer on August 13, 2007 - 6:39 am

    I like Buddy’s interpretation. It is not exactly like my own, but it works.

    He suggest that Revelation would be second only to the Gospels. In many bibles the words that Jesus purportedly spoke to John are written in red, suggesting that these are the actual words spoken by a physical (spiritual?) presence.

    How have we come to this conclusion? One of the reasons that we have the four Gospels in the canon of holy scripture is that they support each other in spite of some differences in reporting. They are even historically verifiable to some extent. But with John’s Revelation we have developed an entire theology upon the testimony of one man, a testimony that is based upon what he calls a vision.

    For various reasons I find it difficult to see Revelation in that light, the light of an historical event that is also a prediction of the future. Past (and present) theologians have felt the same way, from Augustine to Luther. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican traditions still holds to this view.

    On reflection I agree with Ambrosia’s comment about Paul. As much as I like to say how important the Gospels are and that I follow Christ, not Paul, I must remember that Paul’s writings most likely predate all the Gospel accounts.

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