Revelation Teaches Us How to Read the World

Revelation Teaches Us How to Read the World March 21, 2014

The last book in the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, is not so much a text full of codes that need to be interpreted in order to dig out the secrets but, as David DeSilva puts it, “a text that imposed a Christ-centered interpretation upon the everyday activities, landscapes, and stories encountered by the members of the seven congregations” (Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation’s Warning, 77).

We, too, can learn from John’s hermeneutic, from how John brings the One on the Throne and the Lamb to bear on life in the Roman empire. Because John knows God will triumph and justice will eventually be established and because he knows the Lamb will be God’s way, John presents a worldview reordering.

DeSilva finds the following hermeneutical features at work in learning to think with this new ordering of the world:

1. Immerse yourselves in Scripture: any reading of the Revelation is a startling encounter with a writer soaked in scripture and its images, its wisdom and its hopes. Revelation 14:12.

2. Immerse yourselves in prayer and meditation

3. Center yourselves on God and the Lamb: the heart of the Revelation is God on the Throne and the Lamb, and we need to center our vision there to gain the vision of John. “A worship service fits into the realities of Monday through Saturday… but worship puts one in touch with the realities that change Monday through Saturday” (99).

4. Examine public discourse: dominations systems dominate our lives; do we see them and hear them and read them through the Throne and the Lamb?

5. Exercise vigilance as a Christian community.

6. Redraw the maps to include a global community. John pushes us beyond nationalism.

7. Dare to see (as they really are through the vision of the Throne and the Lamb). Dreaming makes possible a life leaning into the kingdom.

8. Dare to set your hopes in God’s future: What is that future? The New Jerusalem in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

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