This is a short, popular commentary on the book of Revelation for the poetically inclined. You might not find out what the "thousand years" of Revelat...moreThis is a short, popular commentary on the book of Revelation for the poetically inclined. You might not find out what the "thousand years" of Revelation 20 means, but you will be encouraged to find that Revelation is only and always about Jesus.(less)
I've been reading a few pages of this one here and there for a while, and finally finished it. It's not for the faint of heart (especially the first p...moreI've been reading a few pages of this one here and there for a while, and finally finished it. It's not for the faint of heart (especially the first part, where Wright takes the temperature of Jesus studies for the past hundred years), but I'd recommend it for anyone even vaguely interested in what we can know about the historical Jesus.(less)
I picked this book up at the library as background reading for the Sunday School class on Revelation that I'm teaching this month. Rossing, a professo...moreI picked this book up at the library as background reading for the Sunday School class on Revelation that I'm teaching this month. Rossing, a professor and ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, apparently wrote this book to counteract the dispensationalist theology that is found in the Left Behind novels and the writings of Hal Lindsey, among others. I found it a quick read, and Rossing certainly has some talent as a writer. The main message of the book can be found on page 86:
"The Left Behind novels follow the pattern of other apocalypses as they take readers on a vivid journey and wake them up to a sense of urgency about God. That is the novels' strength. Their failing is the dangerous conclusions about God and our life in the world that grow out of the Left Behind version of the apocalyptic journey... Left Behind's characters spend more time in airplanes and helicopters, or in underground bunkers, than they do walking the earth - illustrating the dispensationalist view of the world as a place from which to escape. Their high-tech gear, satellite phones, custom Range Rovers and stadium-size rallies cannot be reconciled with the heart of Revelation, because more than any other biblical book Revelation speaks to marginalized and powerless people."
A later criticism, elaborating on the difference between her interpretation of Revelation and that of dispensationalists, I thought was particularly insightful as well:
"The heart of our difference is this: dispensationalists do not seem to believe the Lamb has truly "conquered" or won the victory when he was slaughtered. They preach the saving power of the blood of the Lamb in Jesus' crucifixion, but it is not quite enough saving power for them. They need Christ to come back with some real power, not as a Lamb but as a roaring lion. Jesus has to return so he can finish the job of conquering." (137)
I thought she was spot-on in her critique of dispensationalist readings of Revelation, but nevertheless I could not recommend this book. One reason is her uncharitable characterization of dispensationalists as "using it [dispensationalism:] to further their particular social and political agenda" (41). Another reason is that her interpretation of the New Jerusalem that comes to earth at the end of the book didn't have enough tangibility in it. She writes, "The mystical journey into the 'Aha' presence of God's New Jerusalem and its river of life can happen in many ways for you: through nature, when you behold a mountain or stream so beautiful that it transports you to God's riverside; through music that connects you mystically to heavenly chorus; or through other powerful experiences of community or presence that take you outside of yourself" (160). I agree that we can experience the presence of God in the stuff of this earth, but I'm not convinced that this is what the vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 is all about. The final chapters of this book, once Rossing is finished criticizing dispensationalists, turns into insipid, over-realized eschatology. (less)