The Book of Revelation is a remarkable text. A fascinating piece of Scripture as well as an extraordinary piece of literature, its interpretation has affected our theology, art and worship, and even international politics. Yet it is widely neglected in the church and almost entirely avoided from the pulpit.
In this Tyndale Commentary, Ian Paul takes a disciplined approach to the text, paying careful attention to the ways that John draws from the Old Testament. Additionally, Paul examines how the original audience would have heard this message from John, and then draws helpful comments for contemporary reflection.
The Tyndale Commentaries are designed to help the reader of the Bible understand what the text says and what it means. The introduction to each book gives a concise but thorough treatment of its authorship, date, original setting, and purpose. Following a structural analysis, the commentary takes the book section by section, drawing out its main themes, and also comments on individual verses and problems of interpretation. Additional notes provide fuller discussion of particular difficulties.
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“Second, Revelation is the most developed example of a writer in Scripture wrestling with the ideological implications of the gospel, and engaging with an opposing ideological system in the light of what God has done for us in Jesus, as shaped by the inspiration of the Spirit. The near-universal decline in church attendance in the West is a sign that, like the Christians in Sardis, Western Christians have been caught napping: the ideological climate has shifted dramatically in the last generation or two, and we have been so complacent and content with a ‘Christendom’ model of society that we haven’t known how to respond.” (Page 5)
“Third, Revelation claims to be a prophecy, a word used seven times in the book, five times emphatically describing what John has written (1:3; 22:7, 10, 18, 19). Prophecy is less concerned with predicting the future in any abstract sense than with communicating God’s message and calling people to obedience, by highlighting the consequences of their actions and the new possibilities offered by repentance and obedience.” (Page 30)
“And it is worth noting that, although John is clear that martyrdom might well be a possibility and that faithfulness even to the point of death is the test of whether we follow the example of Jesus, the seven messages in Revelation 2–3 do not suggest systematic persecution. Although there are comforts and encouragements, the messages also contain a good level of rebuke, some of it quite severe, suggesting that complacency and compromise with an accommodating culture was at least as much a problem as conflict and opposition. They are not messages that would have been sent to Christians under persecution!” (Page 22)
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