Since a lot of people shy away from the book of Revelation I thought I should do what I can to make it a little more understandable.
One of the big problems, as I see it, is that many people miss the parallelism. They read the visions, and like good rationalist Westerners, assume they’re to be read in series, that the visions make up one loooong and elaborate prophecy.
But that’s not the case at all, its actually much simpler, its the same prophecy, repeated over and over again from different angles, ramping up with each repetition. That’s how dreams and visions work. Think of it like a stack of transparencies that, when laid on top of one another, each add up to a fuller picture. No, don’t just think about it, click on this graph I’ve put together and read up the various references. See the parallelism for yourself. This graph highlights how common visionary elements keep reoccurring across each vision. I’ve added in some visions from other New and Old Testament books too just for reference. Revelation is actually not so different from the mini apocalypses you find elsewhere in the bible once the parallelism is recognised. It makes the dispensationalist nonsense totally superfluous.
Still not convinced? Here’s just one more visionary thread:
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:5)
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. (Revelation 11:19)
And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. (Revelation 14:2)
Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. (Revelation 16:18)
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. (Revelation 19:6)
Look closer at the book of Revelation and you’ll see more.
So, look for the repetitions, look for the repetitions.
2 thoughts on “Understanding Revelation”
Have you ever read “Breaking the Code” by Bruce Metzger? Excellent book.
No, haven’t read it. What did you like about it?