Paul Spilsbury reveals how behind the ancient multimedia show that is Revelation lies a message both simple and profound: the gospel clearly proclaimed. Here is a guide that will help us hear Revelation speak, once again inspiring grateful worship and calling us to costly discipleship.
"Trafton has produced a clear, understandable, insightful reading of the book of Revelation - not an easy task for a book that has left many readers puzzled and confused. One of the particular strengths of Trafton's commentary is his close attention to the structure of John's work and the internal connections between various passages of the book. Readers will also benefit from Trafton's identification of John's extensive indebtedness to the Hebrew Bible for much of his imagery and ideas." - Mitchell G. Reddish O.L. Walker Professor of Christian Studies and Chair, Department of Religious Studies Stetson University
The book of Daniel 2 reveals by symbols the successive empires/kingdoms of the world with a statue of a human figure of a head of gold, chest of silver, thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of a mixture of clay and iron. Daniel 7, which describes four beasts (a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a terrible beast with ten horns), covers the same period in world history as in chapter 2. While the king of Babylon saw the majestic power and grandeur of the Gentile empire/kingdoms, Prophet Daniel saw their real character, beastly conduct, wicked rule, and profligate government. All the beasts (empire/kingdoms) were destroyed by the Messiah, Immanuel (the Stone), who the builders of the nations of man rejected and who is the cornerstone of the holy nation of believers. Revelation 12 describes the great dragon thrown down, the age-old serpent that is called the devil and Satan, he who continually deceives and seduces the entire inhabited world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. This usurping dragon would form successive compacts with mankind for the dominion of the earth. Revelation 13 shows the final compact between the nations of man and the man of sin, Satan (the dragons beasts), engulfing even the holy people (Israel, the churchthe woman on the beast in Revelation 17). When the stone finally destroyed the lawless kings of the nations/kingdoms, their rule was dispersed to the lots of nation-states created by the common peoplethe rule of commoners. These are the nation-states of democratically elected commoners. Revelation 13 (and 17) shows the rebellion and apostasy of our Christendom/Queendom of Babylon, the great nation-states of man setting themselves up against the son of man, Immanuel. Why the stone is about to crush Christendom of Babylon the great! And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain or rock and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:3435). Yes, he is the rock of ages!
The Book of Revelation can be read in various ways. Where interpretation opts not to venture beyond Revelation or approach the book as a forecast of end-time events, it typically favours either going behind the text, in search of a socio-historical context of origin to which it might refer, or else standing in front of the text and investigating the book’s reception history, or its present relevance and impact. Comparatively little interpretative work has been undertaken inside the text, exploring the mechanics of how Revelation ‘works’, still less how its complex parts might fit together into a meaningful whole. Gordon Campbell considers Revelation to be a coherent narrative composition that draws its hearer or reader into its text-world. In Reading Revelation: A Thematic Approach, Campbell gives an innovative account of Revelation’s sophisticated thematic content. Mindful of Revelation's narrative verve, or its architecture en mouvement (as Jacques Ellul once put it), Campbell plots a series of thematic trajectories through the book. On this reading, parody and parallelism fundamentally shape the whole narrative. As a first-ever integrated account of Revelation’s macro-themes, Reading Revelation makes an important contribution to Revelation scholarship. In its light, the book may justifiably be seen as the ‘crowning achievement’ of the Scriptures.
The book of Revelation is perhaps the most theologically complex and literarily sophisticated text in the New Testament. In this commentary John Christopher Thomas and Frank Macchia make the brilliant but challenging text of Revelation more accessible and easier to understand on its own terms, rather than as a futuristic prophecy. In addition to their literary, exegetical, and theological analysis of the text, they offer 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 the book.
Into All the World--the third volume from editors Mark Harding and Alanna Nobbs on the content and social setting of the New Testament--brings together a team of eminent Australian scholars in ancient history, New Testament, and the early church to take the story of Christianity into the Jewish and Greco- Roman world of the first century. In thirteen chapters, the contributors discuss all the post-Pauline New Testament writings, devoting attention to both their content and their context. They examine the impact of the growth of the church on both Jews and Gentiles, exploring issues such as the diaspora, minorities, the Book of Acts, and the Fourth Gospel. The book then proceeds to a discussion of the impact of Christianity on the Roman state, including consideration of the book of Revelation and the imperial cult. A final chapter investigates how the church was perceived by Clement of Rome at the end of the first century.