I am serializing the above title in sixteen pieces starting from today. #bible #revelation #apocalyptic #21stcentury #joesoboyejo #learnwithjoes
The necessity and significance of this topic are to look into the great lessons of John’s visions as foundational for the proclamation of the ‘true gospel’ and peace in times of extreme persecutions. Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, in How to Read the Bible, Book by Book, refers to the content of the Book of Revelation as:
A Christian prophecy cast in apocalyptic style and imagery and finally put in letter form, dealing primarily with tribulation (suffering) and Salvation for God’s people and God’s wrath (judgment) on the Roman Empire. (Note 1)
Revelation combines three distinctive literary types: Apocalypse, Revelation, and a letter. The apocalyptic writings are viewed as revealing heavenly secrets focusing on God’s judgment of the wicked and his deliverance of the righteous. Revelation, as a Prophecy, depicts a response of trust and obedience. Revelation is not just futurology but also redemptive, historical, theological, & psychological for the Church’s thinking throughout the age before Christ’s final coming. Apostle John describes the imagery in cryptic language and symbolism, which are hard to understand. Eschatology is the primary theology of Revelation.
The interpretation of Revelation has been a source of much controversy. Some held that it had a message only for the 1st- century world; others maintain that the book is a prophecy to be fulfilled totally in the future. Undoubtedly, John spoke to the situation of his day that is also relevant for 21st- century churches. The letters to the seven churches indicate a crisis, probably brought on by the Roman persecutions of the Christians.
John painted a vision of God’s final triumph over evil that has sustained many Christians in later eras from this understanding. The 21st-century churches are badly divided by sectarianism and are buried under an avalanche of false doctrines incorporated in prosperity theology. There is no indication through the witness of church members that faith offers any effective defense against sin’s pervasive influence. The church ministers are embroiled in personal empowerment, and churches have lost their power. The author critically examined all the implications and the imagery of the seven churches in Revelation. The world needs the reality of Jesus’ incarnation in the Church to believe the proclamation of the gospel. The significance of this study is to encourage Christians in Africa to have endurance in the face of persecutions and be faithful witnesses to the Good News amid Fallen Babylon.
The ‘Revelation to John’ – The Apocalypse is recorded in the book of Revelation. In Revelation, John developed significant theological themes utilizing O.T. Scripture, Jewish interpretative traditions, and early Christian tradition. Irenaeus (ca. 180) dated Revelation to the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, A.D. 81- 96 (Note 2). Tradition asserts that the apostle John wrote Revelation during his exile on Patmos. Some scholars do not accept this attribution because of the stylistic differences between Revelation and the other works attributed to John, ‘the Gospel and Epistles.’ Still, John is clearly stated in the greetings and doxology. The author identifies himself as John (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). From as early as Justin Martyr in the second century A.D., it has been held that this John was the apostle, the son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2). Revelation is a panoramic symbolic vision given to the Apostle John in A.D. 95 to the seven Churches in Asia (Rev. 1:19-21).
In Revelation, John interprets the significance of the cross and resurrection for the future, be it near or distant. He declares their meaning for time and history until the end. God is on his throne (chap. 4); Christ has won the victory (chap. 5); God is at work amid apparent chaos (seals, trumpets, and bowls). The real victors are those called out in Christ from every tongue, nation, and people (chaps. 5, 20). Although God’s work in history has been hidden except to eyes of faith, the final stanza will reveal that history has indeed been his story (chaps. 17, 20). The victory won by the cross is on display in history, and God will ultimately be revealed all in all (chaps. 21, 22). John clearly understands himself and his readers as participants in God’s kingdom. It confirms all that John has said up to this point concerning the kingdom’s restoration. Participation in the kingdom brings tribulation and, therefore, requires patient endurance. This study is divided into six headings starting with an Introduction.
The five other headings are:
- Keys to understanding Revelation.
- Approaches to Interpreting Revelation.
- Apocalyptic and Epistolary Introduction.
- The seven churches in Revelation in 21st century African Pentecostal Churches.
- The Apocalyptic implications of John’s vision to the 21st century African Pentecostal churches.