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Revelations
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Pukon_the_Treen
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject: Revelations  Reply with quote

I know what the fundies think about the book of revelations, but how do more liberal (and sane) Christians deal with it?  I've just read it through and to me it seems most likely to be a heavily allegorical criticism of the Romans and a promise that their empire will fall; is that fair?

If this is what it is, why include it in the bible at all; after all the bible is supposed to be timeless and the Roman Empire has quite obviously fallen?  It is quite an attention-grabbing frenzied ambiguous roller-coaster of a book that works well as a shocking climax to the bible (leaves you anticipating the sequel), but is it really the word of God; most of it is pretty hysterical?
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david_geoffrey
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting question Pukon. As a sane  Smilie_PDT  (not sure if I am liberal, in some respects I might be but not as much as Andy for instance) Christian, I shall cast my opinion.

Like everything else in the bible you have to look at the context and the style of literature - which in this case is Apocalyptic (or revelationary). Very popular in Judaism at this time, pointing to a glorious future when current problems are forgotten. The writing uses symbols and imagary to paint a verbal picture of what this will be like, bits of Daniel and Zechariah are the same.

How should we read this then - the view you have put forward is the Preterist one I believe, that everything in the book was prophetic about things that have now already happened as it was all refering to Roman occupation being overthrown. There is certainly an element of this, the letters that start the book to the seven churches are fixed in a specific time and place - and in chapter 4 we get a description of God on his throne - implying that although you are under the cosh (Dominition's persecution in the 90's?) then God is ultimately in charge. But there is more to it I think..

The Futurist view, which is held by our more excitable brothers (mainly in the US?), says that it is all yet to come. This is dangerous in my opinion as it leads to people watching for the signs and wonders - and thinking "have we started the end times yet? - in which case what is next?" and worse "what can we do to help God along?". Instead of caring for the present and therefore helping people less fortunate than oneself, one can end up thinking what does it matter. Well Jesus says that we should not look for when the end times come so this approach seems both selfish and irreligious to me. Interestingly enough St Gregory of Nysasus (sp?) thought much the same in the 4thC as he argued against its inclusion in the canon as it might be misused! Nothing new under the sun

So that leaves the either the Idealist view, which is presumably the liberal one in that it is all just symbolic; or the Historicist (which is my sane viewpoint) which means that it describe the events between the resurrection and the second coming - i.e. we are in the "end times" now - the Kingdom has been ushered in, yet it is not yet perfected. The "now and not yet" theology. This actually can encompass all three of the above views in some part, without them dominating. So it descibes our world (after all no one can deny that the four horseman of the apocalyse seem to be all too alive and kicking) yet describes a better world to come. The people who look for a timeline in Revelation miss the fact that most of the events are not neccessarily sequential. It does not leave us trying to guess when it is happening and yet we still have a part to play in expanding the Kingdom through evangelism and help to the poor and suffering (not neccessarily linked nor in that order)

I have to admit that this is what I have been taught when we have studied the book, it is not a viewpoint that I would neccessarily have come up with, by simply reading the book. But it certainly helped me in understanding the book at least in part and I now happily sign up to the Historicist viewpoint - this does make we wonder if Gregory might not have been right, but there we go - I also believe that the Bible is all there to guide us - no one said it would all be easy though!
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Last edited by david_geoffrey on Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Apocalypse is best understood in a liturgical context, which should be obvious to those who have ever attended the Catholic Mass or Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Yes, it does contain prophecies, some of which have already come to pass and some that are still to come, but understood in that context alone there is something missing, I believe.

These are worth listening to for those who are interested in finding out more.

I might try and expand on that tomorrow.
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david_geoffrey
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Paul

I'm not sure if I have time to listen to those, but I would be interested in more thoughts on that theme. It is not something that I have even heard expressed before so thanks for that anyway

DG
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david_geoffrey
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh Pukon - just a little point - I always used to call it the book of Revelations too, but it is actually singular.
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Lexilogio
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I consider that the book of Revelation was largely allegorical about the Roman Empire. There are some prophecies, but I think it is no more literal about the apocalpse than Nostradamus.

No one knows when the end will come. That is for God.

Our own brief lives will end, and no matter how prepared we think we are, it will be sooner than most of us expect in the end. So we should always be prepared to meet our Maker.
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david_geoffrey
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is pertinent that the Google ad at the bottom of this thread is this (or was this)

Quote:
2008: God's Final Witness
End-time destruction beginning in 2008 leads to America's fall.
www.the-end.com


And on this site you get this sort of stuff talking about a book called "God's Final Witness" which is sadly lapped up by too many people.
Quote:
From now until the latter part of 2008, many prophecies are going to begin to be fulfilled, especially the Seven Thunders of the Book of Revelation, which the apostle John saw but was restricted from recording. Those thunders are revealed in this book, as well as detailed accounts of the final three and one-half years of man's self-rule on earth, which are recorded in the account of the Seventh Seal of Revelation.

Some of these prophecies concern the demise of the United States over the next year, which will be followed by man's final world war. This last war will be the result of clashing religions and the governments they sway. Billions will die! This time will far exceed even the very worst times in all human history.

As these events unfold, the world will increasingly become aware of the authenticity of the words in this book and realize that Ronald Weinland has been sent by God as His end-time prophet.

This book is primarily directed to the people of the three major religions of the world (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), whose roots are in the God of Abraham. Ronald Weinland has been sent to all three.


**Edited**
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:22 am    Post subject: Re: Revelations Reply with quote

Pukon_the_Treen wrote:
I know what the fundies think about the book of revelations, but how do more liberal (and sane) Christians deal with it?  I've just read it through and to me it seems most likely to be a heavily allegorical criticism of the Romans and a promise that their empire will fall; is that fair?

If this is what it is, why include it in the bible at all; after all the bible is supposed to be timeless and the Roman Empire has quite obviously fallen?  It is quite an attention-grabbing frenzied ambiguous roller-coaster of a book that works well as a shocking climax to the bible (leaves you anticipating the sequel), but is it really the word of God; most of it is pretty hysterical?


In the first instance PTT the fundies are sane but sanity has nothing to do with Revelation and it's interpretation, and neither has being a fundamentalist. What made you think interpretation of Revelation relied on either being sane or whether a fundamentalist. I fear your reasoning is corrupted by unfounded misconceptions...  :wink:

The book of Revelation clearly teaches that those who have ears will listen to what the Spirit says both when reading through the book and also during these last times. I feel the truth shows that it is only hidden from those being lost. So anyones interpretation would be too difficult for you to understand...

Love TLW.xx Smilie_PDT
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look at Revelation as I look at any book in the bible and ask myself where the writer got his information from? Certainly not from Jesus. Certainly not from anyone who knew Jesus. Are we supposed to believe that sixty years after Jesus, god decides to reveal everything to an obscure man so he can warn future generations? Why didn't Jesus himself tell us this information?

There are passages in Revelation that do make you wonder whether the man was hallucinating on magic mushrooms as some claim, or was he just unbalanced at times, with an imagination that ran riot?

Some in the church accepted it and others rejected it:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation


Book of Revelation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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chadivarus
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I feel the truth shows that it is only hidden from those being lost. So anyones interpretation would be too difficult for you to understand...


I dont always agree with TLW but I think this is a valid point.

I am unaware of any major celestial catasthophies during Roman times. Many of the disasters did not occur then.

Philips suggests that John wrote it during a vision and did not feel it right to edit the greek( which is weird) or construction afterwards,

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