May 5, 2019 - A vision of God’s Kingdom

The book of Revelation does not predict the future; it is not a blueprint of the end times for planet Earth. But it is also not the ravings of a madman, or too esoteric to be of any help to the modern Christian.

Revelation is part of a distinct canon of writings usually referred to as “Apocalyptic”. These writings seek to expose the truth in ways that are far more powerful than simple facts and narratives. Revelation has been interpreted and grossly misinterpreted over the centuries.

As just one example, according to the preterism camp of theology, Revelation is a heavily symbolic book that was written primarily to warn first century Jews of impending persecution, to encourage them to persevere in the face of suffering, and to reassure them that God is in control and will overcome evil in the end. Evil, in this case being the Roman Empire. Nothing more.

Preterists argue that most of the symbolic events in this book can be correlated with first-century figures and events. For example, “the beast” likely refers to Nero, whose “number” is 666 (the numerical value of “Nero Caesar” in Hebrew [NRWN QSR]). Similarly, the forty-two months of his horrifying reign (13:5) happen to be the exact duration of the Roman siege on Jerusalem beginning in A.D. 66.

This is only one example, and is not the official position of the Episcopal Church, and there are many more fascinating ways to consider this work. At any rate, there is much in the book for us today. Father Jonathan picks out a couple of pure gems of meaning in the joyful spirit of Easter.