The author of Revelation sees violence as perfectly legitimate as long as it is initiated by the appropriate authority (God). The author of Revelation does not believe that violence in any form is wrong. Rather, he believes that it is wrong for anyone other than God or his appointed agents to enact violence, and in his eyes it is possible for humans to condemn the wicked to death if they prove themselves by dying in imitation of Christ.
In this book Matthew Streett argues that 'bridge figures', such as Jesus Christ, have demonstrated their authority by transitioning from the human realm of the judged to the divine realm of the judge and have earned the right to judge. Initially, only Christ has this right but, as the narrative progresses, figures such as martyrs are shown to have active, judging authority as well. The challenge for the reader is to understand the Book of Revelation's sometimes disturbing message on its own terms.
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Matthew Streett is an active duty U.S. Air Force chaplain who earned his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America in 2009.