My newest book: Unveiling Revelation

Imagine seeing a woman and a dragon stretched across the sky. Imagine seeing four supernatural horsemen riding across the landscape, bringing death and destruction in their wake. Imagine watching as the mighty city Babylon is destroyed by enemies that used to be its friends. Best of all, imagine standing in the presence of God, surrounded by angels and saints, all singing praise to Jesus Christ the Lord and the Redeemer.

All these things happened to John the Apostle on the island of Patmos. He described his experiences in the book of Revelation, the full name of which is A Revelation of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation is written in poetry with many odd and frightening vision. But the main theme of the book is good news: Jesus has won against all evil, and he shares his victory with his people.

In “Unveiling Revelation,” John’s book is studied by comparing it to the other sixty-five books of the Bible. After an introduction that outlines Biblical eschatology (the study of Last Things), the book breaks Revelation into sections and analyzes them one by one. More a devotional work than a commentary, it reveals the true meaning of what is described in the book of Revelation.

This is now the tenth book I have self-published through Amazon and Kindle. To celebrate, I reduced the Kindle cost of all ten books to four dollars each. In some ways, Unveiling Revelation was a difficult book to write—it was meant to be last summer’s writing project, and I didn’t finish it until this summer. But I think I learned a lot studying Revelation to write about Revelation. I’ve taught the book in Bible class at least five times, and before that I took a seminary course on the book of Revelation, so I hope other people will find my observations helpful.

On the other hand, not all readers are going to like my book. It does not follow the path of The Late Great Planet Earth or the Left Behind books. Instead, I treat passages such as I Thessalonians 4:13-18 as God’s clear messages about eschatology and use them to decipher the meaning of the poetic language of Revelation. Since everything in the Bible is true, and Revelation is in the Bible, it follows that everything in Revelation is true. But, as there are figures of speech elsewhere in the Bible—figures that must be interpreted in context and through comparing them to clearer sections of Scripture—so the same is true of the book of Revelation.

In one of the Bible classes I taught about Revelation, a young man spoke up to say, “I don’t understand everything in this book, but I’ve figured out one thing: Jesus wins!” That is certainly the most important thing to remember when reading and studying Revelation. If you don’t comprehend anything else, be sure to remember that Jesus wins. J.

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For the paperback, click here.    For the Kindle, click here.

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Three French hens

The third day of Christmas is also the festival of St. John. This John wrote one of the four Gospels, three epistles (including two of the shortest books in the Bible), and the Apocalypse or Revelation, the last book of the Bible. He presents himself in his Gospel as Jesus’ best friend, or “the disciple Jesus loved.” In fact he never mentions his name in the Gospel, which leads some scholars to question whether or not he wrote the book of Revelation, since in the first chapter of that book he mentions his name twice.

In the original Greek, and in most English translations, John’s writings contain the simplest words and grammar but express the most profound thoughts. His Gospel begins with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Only one of those words contains more than one syllable, yet the mystery of the Holy Trinity is stated with these words.

Early Christian histories and traditions say that John was the only apostle of Christ not to be martyred. Before dying, Jesus entrusted care of his mother Mary to John. After the resurrection, when Peter asked Jesus about John’s future, Jesus refused to answer, saying only, “What business of it is yours if I chose to let him live until I return?” John quickly points out that Jesus never said that John would not die, but because of his long life some early Christians believed that Jesus had meant John would not die.

The apostle John did die, and centuries later the emperor Justinian built a basilica where John was buried. Yet, like Stephen, John also is with Jesus in Paradise and will return when Christ comes in glory. On this festival day, Christians thank the Lord for faithful witnesses such as John the apostle. We rejoice to have his writings teaching us today about Jesus. J.