college travels

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Revelation Insights

I've been on a study week this week preparing a new subject on the Book of Revelation for next year. Thought I might share these thoughts from Gregory Beale's commentary.

In many ways you could apply the same words to all of the Scriptures; and have the same aim for the College program and our local church ministries - reminding ourselves, each other and the world of what is truly true, so we might successfully navigate this life, or (to borrow a phrase from Kevin Vanhoozer) have a fitting participation in God's drama in the world we find ourselves in.

There are only a few big words... hope you can be encouraged by his thoughts:

The book portrays an end-time new creation that has irrupted into the present old world through the death and resurrection of Christ and through the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost. John’s vision communicates values that run counter to the values of the old world and provide “a structure of meaning that ground” the lives of Christians in the new world. The symbols describing the new world spell out the eternal significance and consequences of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection and of the present choices and behaviour of the readers. Part of the main point is to motivate the readers not to compromise with the world but align their thoughts and behaviour with the God-centred standards of the new creation. They are to see their own situation in this world in the light of the eternal perspective of the new world, which is now their true home.

In this respect, the churches are to read and reread the book in their assembly so that they may continually be reminded of God’s real, new world, which stands in opposition to the old, fallen system in which they presently live. Such a continual reminder will cause them to realize that their home is not in this old world but in the new world portrayed parabolically in the heavenly visions. Continued reading of the book will encourage genuine saints to realize that what they believe is not strange and odd, but truly normal from God’s perspective. They will not be discouraged by outside worldliness, including what has crept into the churches, which is always making godly standards appear odd and sinful values seem normal. John refers to true unbelievers in the book as “earth-dwellers” because their ultimate home is on this transient earth. They cannot trust in anything except what their eyes see and their physical senses perceive; they are permanently earthbound, trusting only in earthly security, and will perish with this old order at the end of time when the corrupted cosmos will perish with this old order at the end of time when the corrupted cosmos finally is judged and passes away. On the other hand, Christians are like pilgrims passing through this world. As such they are to commit themselves to the revelation of God in the new order so as progressively to reflect and imitate his image and increasingly live according to the values of the new world, not being conformed to the fallen system, its idolatrous images, and associated values.

G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, (New International Greek Testament
Commentary), p.175.


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