Most of these articles about the book of Revelation are based on my book, From Fear To Love: Transforming Revelation. This page shows only a very brief preview of the article. Click the article title to read the whole article.
This article presents a brief summary of the Revelation story. In my book From Fear To Love: Transforming Revelation, I explain the book of Revelation quite completely and sensibly but in a very unique and surprising way; however, this article is simply a condensed re-telling of the Revelation story without explanation, interpretation, or commentary.
Why does every generation think theirs is “the one” when all of Revelation will be fulfilled, even though every generation turns out to be wrong? Why do the martyrs of God do such a seemingly unChristian thing as crying out for revenge? Why are there so many antichrists in Revelation? I count seven--the dragon, the beast from the sea, the beast from the land, “the” beast, Babylon, the false prophet, and of course, Satan himself. What do they all mean and what are their relationships with each other? Why does the theology keep changing? Why is God so different in different parts of the story? At Armageddon, why does the Word of God bizarrely carry His sword in His mouth instead of in His hand?
Revelation has no doomsday, no end of the world, no end times, no last days. Revelation is not a book of predictions, nor is it simply a polemic against the Roman Empire. Rather, it is a book about the whole human spiritual experience on earth, including the past, present, and future, just as Revelation itself says it is. Revelation explores and discusses the big issues of spiritual life. The Revelation story is a very organized and sensible story, a sophisticated literary work, and a serious resource for spirituality.
This may be the most unique and surprising thing about FFTL: Revelation’s story of past, present, and future is about the past, present, and future of religious ideas and beliefs, not primarily of geopolitical events. The whole Revelation story explores and develops themes about the big, important questions of spiritual life. Rather than a doomsday story of pain, destruction, and the wrath of God, Revelation is an uplifting story of humans’ spiritual progress.
Revelation is not a book of predictions. Rather, it is about the past, present, and future. How can we know that? Because Revelation itself tells us so, clearly and obviously--“the things which thou hast seen [past], and the things which are [present], and the things which shall be hereafter [future]” (Rev. 1:10).
John of Patmos, the author of Revelation, raises the big questions of spiritual life. He doesn't settle for simple, glib answers. Instead he probes deeply, offering more and more satisfying answers as the Revelation progresses. He expects you to bring your mind along, not to leave it outside the church door. He even expects you to question what he himself says.
The messages to the seven churches in the book of Revelation (Rev. chapters 2 and 3) are part of the introductory material that precedes the “action part” of the main body of Revelation. These seven messages introduce the main themes of Revelation, the big questions of spiritual life: What is the nature of God? What is the human situation? How should we be in relationship with God? What is our future and destiny? The rest of the Revelation story explores these questions in a very organized and methodical way.
What’s not to like about heaven? Who wouldn’t want to go to a place where nobody ever rests, eats, drinks, sleeps, works, plays, has fun, talks to anyone, goes anywhere, or takes a shower? If you doubt that this is a description of heaven, please read the description of heaven in chapter 4 of Revelation. The strange description of heaven in chapter 4 of Revelation is in stark contrast to the description of heaven at the end in Rev. 21:1-22:5. This article looks at the differences between these two almost opposite kinds of heaven and what they mean.
Dragons and harlots and beasts, oh my! Who (or what) are the beasts of Revelation? Why are there so many antichrists in Revelation? There are at least seven--the dragon, the beast from the sea, the beast from the land, “the” beast, the false prophet, Babylon, and of course Satan himself. Given that Revelation discusses seven different antichrist figures, the question “Who is the antichrist?” doesn’t even make sense! None of the seven antichrists are whomever you or I or some TV preacher hates, despises, condemns, judges, or looks down upon.
Why does the Word of God bizarrely have His sword coming out of His mouth rather than in His hand at Armageddon? What comes out of mouths? In particular, what comes out of God’s mouth and what contrasting thing comes out of satanic mouths, calling the world to war at Armageddon? These questions are the key to understanding the meaning of Revelation’s Armageddon prophecy. New understanding reveals the significance of the strange name “Armageddon.”
This article is not yet finished. Check back occasionally--I expect to finish it soon. Meanwhile, you can get an idea of the subject by reading the articles, “The Down Side of Heaven” and “Revelation and the Big Questions of Spiritual Life.”
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