A few days ago while I was traveling this popped up on my Twitter account:
10 Quotes That Challenge the Way You Study the Bible
It’s a post by Jake Mailhout of Lexham Press about my new book, The Bible Unfiltered: Approaching Scripture on Its Own Terms. While blogging about the post is a bit awkward for me, I hope it encourages you to buy a copy — or several — for yourself, friends, and family. Truth be told, the content of the book was written on company time, so I get no royalties. But I don’t do what I do to go to Tahiti. I want it to sell — a lot — because people who care about Scripture need such books. We can’t complain about lay people (and even pastors) not having a good grasp of biblical content if (a) scholars don’t write for them, and (b) people don’t buy the books and read them. This is a book with solid “Heiserian” content written for people who want more Bible but who are frightened by Christian Middle Earth. The same goes for its earlier companion, I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible.
Both books, along with Supernatural would make excellent Christmas gifts — and help people graduate to The Unseen Realm.
Is all of Revelation looking back in time? Which parts don’t.
1) Prophecy can be fulfilled more than once (cf. Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34, 36-37; Revelation 1:7).
2) Non-predective Biblical history can become prophetic (cf. Hosea 11:1-2; Matthew 2:14-15).
3) Prophecy has a spiraling effect becoming more widespread and epic as it spirals (cf. Genesis 12:15, 17, 20; Exodus 7:1-15:18, 24:9-11; Jeremiah 16:14-15; Luke 9:30-31; Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 10:1-22; Revelation 6, 8-9, 15:2-3).
4) Fulfillments often only carry over key features of the original, not every single detail (cf. Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:16-17).
In short, Revelation is less concerned with predicting specific events in history and more concerned with predicting general patterns of history. Anytime you want to find a bad interpreter of Revelation look for how many times they point to specific fulfillments or how much they talk about how Revelation is about a 7 year period before the end of time. Also look for an insistence on 100% history or 100% future. That’s nonsense.
Revelation IS about the fall of Rome. But if you look at Rome’s fall to the Visigoths in 410 AD there are many things that don’t line up with Revelation. The reason is it’s a consistent pattern throughout history, as well as a final generation right before the 2nd coming. Lots going on. The best most responsible reading of Revelation is one that is past, present, and future, because He was, is and is to come. There are over 300 OT allusions and citations in Revelation. John expects you to know your OT and to know your 1st century Asia Minor context. Only then can you understand what it has to say to us today and in the future.
If Revelation is of interest to you I highly recommend the following books in this order:
1) If you read Greek: Climax of Prophecy by Richard Bauckham is hands down the best book on Revelation
2) If you read Greek: The Book of Revelation (NIGTC) by GK Beale
3) If you don’t read Greek: The Theology of the Book of Revelation (NT Theology) by Richard Bauckham
4) If you don’t read Greek: Revelation (A Shorter Commentary) by GK Beale
5) Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the NT) by Grant Osborne
6) Apocalypse and Allegiance by J Nelson Kraybill
Hope that helps. We are going through Revelation now in our Bible with the lessons recorded and posted. Let me know if you are interested in the link.
Got the book, now need to read it.
I have an unrelated question, have you ever read “Spirit of the Rainforest” or even heard of it? Took me 1 day to finish it.
I wish you would read it and then discuss if the experiences of those people in the book sound like your study info on ANE pagan religious thought?
That book made me imagine if I had been born into that zeitgeist and I wonder if that is close to the average ancient pagan culture or would you think it way different?