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The Book of Revelation

June 7, 2012

Revelation is a much abused book: so-called prophets use it to predict the end is near; various pastors and priests use it to comfort confused church members; and some kings and presidents presume they and their nations are fighting Revelation’s wars against evil empires.

Over the many centuries of church history, false prophets have claimed that Revelation’s end-time apocalyptic disasters were at hand. They were all wrong. Yet, like a casino gambler, they continue to think that the next “bet” will hit the jackpot.

But the disasters of Revelation are heavily symbolic; they portray heaven’s ongoing judgments against the earth, especially against many churches who have been captivated by the earth’s false prophets, powerful lords, and prosperous leaders. Like other apocalyptic writings before and after Revelation, it is full of cosmic symbolism, revealing hidden heavenly beings who challenge earthly churches to repent. Churches that have wandered away from their first love (of those who rule in heaven) and followed other lords and leaders must return to the one true Lord and rejoin his kingdom of true prophets.

I have just “published” another (free) ebook entitled The Book of Revelation: Heaven’s Warnings to Earth’s Churches.

Check it out at:

Let me know what you think.

  1. Based on the word “especially,” it sounds like you think that most of the oracles of judgment in Revelation are talking about compromising Christians? True?

    • True. I think Jesus’ oracles of judgment (and call to repent) for most of the seven churches in Rev. 2-3 are symbolized in later visions (the seven seals and the seven trumpets) in terms of heaven’s ongoing warnings through prophets on earth (like John) against similar idolatry and immorality in churches, as they spread out to a fourth of the earth (6:8) and to a third of the earth (8:7,9-10).

      • You don’t think the main target of judgment in Revelation is Rome or some other entity of evil?

      • Revelation does emphasize judgment against various entities of evil, including the dragon (Satan) that gives its power to the beast from the sea (the world empire)–and gives its false witness to the beast from the earth (false prophets). The (idolatrous) adoration given to these impressive beasts, as well as to the great harlot city (Rome, in John’s day) of the world empire, becomes part of that evil; and most of the churches are joining in that idolatry (and the immorality of the “harlot”). John’s visions reveal the ugly truth about these entities of evil, beginning with the (five of the seven) churches that are “compromised” with that evil; these revelations are sent to the churches because they are the primary concern of Jesus. For the disobedient (evil) churches could still repent and return to the one true Lord and to his true prophets (like John). I think much of Revelation thus targets especially the (evil) churches in order to warn them to turn away from those great entities of evil, lest they end up associated with them in the final judgment. Those ongoing warnings throughout Revelation come from heaven as a present judgment against those churches, with the goal of helping them escape the final judgment.

      • How do you think it turned out?

      • We don’t know how the churches reacted right after John’s Revelation. We do know one of the earliest famous “church fathers,” Polycarp, was at Smyrna–one of the two churches in Rev. 2-3 that was not warned to repent. Polycarp was martyred around the middle of the second century, burned at the stake for refusing to burn incense to the Roman emperor. The warnings of Revelation were not only meant to call (most) churches to repentance; they also served to encourage those who were faithful to remain faithful unto death, helping them to remain fully aware of the dangers and seductions of imperial violence and greed.

      • What about things in later Roman history?

        I had a professor who argued Revelation was cancelled prophecy. John warned, the churches listened and God did not bring the threatened punishment. What do you think?

      • The threatened punishment in mind was probably the “literal” disasters in the seven seals and seven trumpets (and seven bowls). Since I do not interpret those literally, but as symbolic of ongoing warnings from heaven to earth’s churches (and as the final judgment with the seven bowls), I think Revelation intended to continue to warn churches as history worked itself out until the end. So Revelation can continue to warn churches today about similar evil entities in the world (like those when it was written), especially those that are most powerful and seductive.

  2. Have you considered the post-Millennialist view?

    • I have read summaries of postmillennial views, and some writings by Christian Reconstructionsts like Gary North. Are you interested in a particular postmillennial author or perspective?

What do you think?

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