New Testament Commentary Volume 8 The Revelation

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Volume 8 is a compilation of my commentary on the scriptures discussed in Lessons 49, 50,and 52 in the Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families manual(2023) on the New Testament studied from December 4-31, 2023. Lesson 51 on Christmas is not included in this volume.

This volume is the 8th and final compilation this year from the New Testament. The three lessons in it deal solely with the book of Revelation. Revelation is perhaps the most interesting, varied book in the Bible. With much poetry, several songs, and vivid cyclical word pictures, it is unparalleled. The scope of its descriptions and metaphors runs the gamut. It starts with a heavenly vision of Jesus Christ in glory surrounded by crowned elders and winged beasts full of eyes. It then descends into scenes with red dragons, a drunken prostitute, seven-headed monsters, plagues, storms, and destruction. We meet angel armies, deadly horsemen, giant locusts with scorpions’ tails, final judgment, and blood flowing as deep as a river. We also see the New Jerusalem shining with welcoming gates of giant pearls, walls of precious stones, and streets of gold. It is the Star Wars of the Bible—with conflict between good and evil spanning the cosmos and all time.
The book is often referred to as the Apocalypse of John. An apocalypse was a common form of Jewish and Christian literature in John’s day. Many were written, but the Apocalypse of John is the only one that became part of the scriptural canon. Most apocalypses were dualistic works written to reveal how the world’s overwhelming evils fit into God’s plan of happiness. They were written to reconcile the existence of sin and adversity with the goodness and omnipotence of God. They show how human history will resolve in God’s favour. The book of Revelation is easily the finest of these works. It richly deserves its place as the final book in the New Testament. It demonstrates that God’s justice and righteousness will prevail. Far from being a book centred on evil, adversity, judgment, and destruction, it is about hope and God’s love.
The text of the book has had a persistent and far-reaching political, theological, and historical effect in western civilization. It has played a prominent role in graphic arts, music, and literature as well. It was almost not included in the Bible. It got into the New Testament by the skin of its dragons’ teeth. Many of the churchmen in the early Church did not want it included. Later theologians often expressed the wish that it had been excluded. Some Christian churches just ignore it. This is understandable, for it has had more nonsense written and said about it than any other book in the Bible. I shall try not to add to the pile. pp.173


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