Recent conversations have rekindled my interest in Revelation. Back in 2005, I took a serious dive into this mysterious book and emerged with a very different understanding than what I held in my early Christian years. I was excited to discover that Revelation was immensely relevant to life and apprenticeship to Jesus.
(If you’re interested, I’ve consolidated the posts from my 2005 study into one document. You can get that document here: blog-posts-on-revelation-2005.)
Rereading my posts from that time has excited me about Revelation again. So I decided to do another series called Revelation: Revisited.
Where the original posts explored more of the details in Revelation, the goal in this series is simply to unpack some thoughts on Revelation. I’ll be upfront right now. I completely reject the futurist interpretation of Revelation made popular by dispensationalist theology. Except for the last two chapters, I don’t think Revelation is an outline of future events. Therefore, I do not believe in the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Millennium and all the other aspects of that interpretation.
I know this can be controversial for some. I apologize right now if I offend anyone. That’s not my intent. Nor is it my intent to engage in arguments nor to defend my stance. I simply want to unpack how I believe we should approach Revelation as well as its overall message for Christian discipleship.
Because of my different interpretation of Revelation, I’ve learned to avoid conversations about Revelation over the years. It’s tough answering questions like “Do you believe in a Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulation Rapture?” when I don’t believe in the Rapture or the Tribulation. But saying that raises issues that are even more difficult to discuss in casual conversation. Conversations about Revelation always felt like a form of “culture clash.” I felt like a British citizen trying to discuss “football” with my American friends. We were using similar words, but discussing completely different games. And trying to explain the complexities and nuances of the game was too demanding.
But Revelation is too important for life to ignore. As I’ve come to understand its message and how its literary forms work to communicate its message, Revelation inspires me to follow Jesus in the here and now as much as the Gospels and other New Testament documents. So I hope this series will encourage others to revisit Revelation and experience the relevancy I’ve discovered in its pages.
BTW, a couple of books that have provided support in my original dive into Revelation in 2005 and in this series are:
- The Theology of the Book of Revelation by Richard Bauckham
- Revelation for Everyone by NT Wright
Both are short volumes. But don’t let their size fool you. They are explosive in their content.