Revelation

Revelation

Revelation

Revelation

Synopsis

The book of Revelation is perhaps the most theologically complex and literarily sophisticated -- and also the most sensual -- document in the New Testament. In this commentary John Christopher Thomas's literary and exegetical analysis makes the challenging text of Revelation more accessible and easier to understand. Frank Macchia follows up with sustained theological essays on the book's most significant themes and issues, accenting especially the underappreciated place of the Holy Spirit in the theology of Revelation.

Excerpt

Every book has a story, and this book has a particularly long and winding one. We should perhaps confess from the outset that we never intended to write a commentary such as this on the book of Revelation. Having grown up in the apocalyptic tradition of Pentecostal spirituality, where the return of Jesus occupied a not insignificant place in the theological heart of the movement as part of the fivefold gospel that proclaims Jesus as Savior, Sanctifier, Holy Spirit Baptizer, Healer, and Soon Coming King, we were keenly attuned to the importance of eschatology and the unrivaled role played in it by the book of Revelation. This doctrine was the subject of countless sermons, lessons, lectures, and prophecy talks that we encountered, not to mention films, books, tracts, and larger-than-life charts! All of these combined to create within us a robust respect for those who could divine their way through current events by means of biblical prophecy. Rumors about government checks mistakenly sent to unsuspecting citizens that bore the number 666 circulated with a surprising degree of regularity, likewise the naming of world leaders who seemed to fit characteristics of the “antichrist,” speculations about the relationship between the ten kings of Rev 17 and the European Common Market (as it was known in those days), as well as fears with regard to bar codes and more — all combined to create a heightened sense of interest in signs of the coming end of the world.

But despite our early interest and sympathy with such attempts to understand end-time prophecy, problems with “the script” began to emerge. Too many prophetic predictions and pronouncements by those “in the know” proved to be off the mark, with little acknowledgment of mistaken notions and little to no reflection about the significance of such missteps. As we began our interpretive and spiritual journey further into biblical studies, we discovered that a straightforward reading of Scripture often proved not to fit the inter-

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