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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (8)

The book of Revelation is mysterious and more than a little daunting to many believers. Two common errors easily present themselves, and Mel Lawrenz identifies them.

I am completely unfamiliar with Mr. Lawrenz. Other than this single blog post at BibleGateway.com, I have not read anything he has written, so take the following for whatever it is worth.

This is what he says:
“Here are two unhelpful approaches to Revelation. One is to think it is such an incomprehensible book of enigmas and riddles that we avoid it. The second is to uncritically follow someone else’s arbitrary interpretation of all the details and hidden meanings of its passages.”
The latter was the story of my teen years. Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth (1970) was still a bestseller and I gobbled it up, followed by any other prophecy-related literature I could buy or borrow.

But forty-five years down the road, Lindsey’s predictions about the European Economic Community seem dubious and his conviction that “the decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it” demonstrably off-base. Other Planet Earth interpretations are equally questionable.

In our understanding of Revelation, it is all too easy to get caught up in comparing scripture with current events. “Revelation never describes itself as a symbolic code of future events plotted on a timeline,” Mr. Lawrenz says, affirming that like the prophetic books of the Old Testament, Revelation contains a message of warning and comfort.

This observation is a valuable one. Revelation is not a timeline. Its perspective shifts in and out, sometimes backing up to give us a big-picture view of history in symbolic language and other times focusing on imagery that speaks of events surely future.
“If we keep our eyes on this central message and the intended effects, we will be less likely to get bogged down when we get into details in the book.”
Amen.

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