Sabbath School commentary for discussion on Sabbath, February 16, 2019.
Miles’ Law applies — it is true that “where you stand depends on where you sit.” If we sit inside the text of Revelation, up there, somewhere in the stands of the heavenly council, a stone’s throw from where the cosmic conflict began, we shall stand in relation to the message of the trumpets in a less vulnerable spot than the monochrome musings of the Old Historicism or the polychrome imaginations of the New.
When it comes to predictive prophecies in particular, our founders often disagreed vehemently with one another.
The defining image in Revelation is the Lamb that was killed with violence (5:6). I shall wonder till I die why many interpreters are so quick to make the victim of violence into a perpetrator of violence, but that is what they do. God’s way in the cosmic conflict is in Revelation identified with the Lamb “killed with violence” (5:6). Can we get from there to the Lamb “that kills with violence”? Many interpreters do, including leading interpreters in my own faith community.
Three events in the twentieth century demonstrate the vulnerabilities of historicism as the key to Bible prophecy and the lens through which to determine what is important in history. The three events I have in mind are the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and the atrocities committed when the former Yugoslavia was breaking up.
I remember the wintery night forty-five years ago like it was yesterday. I was a young person who had been seeking for the truth for several years and had been invited to study the book of Revelation once a week with a life-long Bible Worker named Carrie Tichenor, who had retired near Pacific Union College in Angwin, California.
Against a background of apostasy and exile, Revelation presents a picture of faithfulness and return. All the tribes are represented, the good and the bad; the descendants of the concubines count as much as the children of Leah and Rachel; and all of them are there in an equal number even though the census at the time of the exodus show vast differences in terms of numerical strength.
In this TIMEOUT, I will reflect on the theology of the Book of Daniel. Daniel’s influence on Revelation is huge, but one important piece has gone missing. I also have a note on the tears of John and a P.S. on responses to my previous postings.
A few months ago, I realized I wanted to become friends with the book of Revelation. It’s not a thought that ever occurred to me before that end-of-summer day. Over decades, I have mulled Revelation’s passages. I have facilitated year-long small-group meetings that primarily used only the Bible, lexicons, concordances, histories, and biblical dictionaries. We wanted to become Berean: “to examine the Scriptures every day to see if what” the teachers tell us is true (Acts 17:11).