I’m reading Pablo Richard, Apocalypse: A People’s Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1995), which ends with these words (172-73):
In the first place the book of Revelation is important for moderating the radical and fundamentalist apocalypticism that has invaded our society, especially now that the end of the twentieth century and the end of the second millennium is approaching. Revelation is customarily manipulated by fundamentalistic sects, both Protestant and Catholic. A historical and liberating interpretation of Revelation can help us overcome these deviations and generate a positive and constructive reflection on Revelation in our churches. This is what happened in the second century when the book of Revelation tempered the Montanist current in the church, which was a radical apocalyptic tendency.
The book of Revelation can also help us to rebuild a new vision of history, without fear, without anguish, without radicalism, and without fundamentalistic dogmatism. Revelation teaches us to live the present time as a kairos, as an opportune and decisive moment, in the light of eschatology realized in the resurrection of Christ. Revelation teaches us also to live the past as a history of salvation and to ask how that history is taking place today. But most important is to interpret Revelation so that we can correctly confront the future and so overcome all the manipulation that creates anguish, fear, and terror. Revelation teaches us to imagine the present and final eschatology with a sense of joy and hope. It also helps us to rebuild the transcendent utopia of the reign of God on earth and of the new creation. It teaches us to rethink the judgment of God now in the present time and the final judgment in the future with a sense of exodus and hope.
Finally Revelation is having a decisive influence especially in the so-called third World … in the reconstruction of liberating theologies. There is a very significant movement away from the prophetic dimension and toward the apocalyptic dimension. Revelation is playing an important role in the rebuilding of civil society in general and of hope and spirituality in particular. The book of Revelation is helping to create a new historical and liberating language. The book of Revelation is helping to create a new historical and liberating language. And for all these reasons Revelation is coming to be the preferred book of the Base Christian Communities and of all the ecclesial movements that hope to transform the present situation and reform the church, movements that are born among the poor, the oppressed, and the excluded (both women and men).