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Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  484 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Peterson's eloquent meditation on the Revelation of St. John engages the imagination and awakens the intellect to the vitality and relevance of the last words on scripture, Christ, church, worship, evil, prayer, witness, politics, judgement, salvation, and heaven.
Paperback, 207 pages
Published April 26th 1991 by HarperOne (first published 1988)
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May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
-Neil Young

The suppressed but blatantly unbearable urban myth of the Apocalypse is a widely-held, nightmarish archetype of our modern consciousness.

And it feeds in turn the Four Horsemen of Irrationality, who will run rampant through our unwitting minds, if we open the door to them.

So keep that door to Hell closed, and mark it NO EXIT!

Its terrors will come
C.S. Wachter
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
“Revelation makes it clear that everything is subject to God’s creative judgment. When any of the great elements of creation get between us and God, becoming idols, judgment topples them and restores us to simple trust and adoration. Every misplaced trust and every mistaken devotion is called into question.” – from Reversed Thunder.

St. John wrote Revelation as a prophet, conveying God’s message to his fellow believers. He wrote it as a pastor concerned with the wellbeing of his congregations, hi
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
I've been reading through Eugene Peterson's 'commentary on Revelation for a second time as we've worked through it at church (you can catch some of my sermons here: I have to say that it is the best book on Revelation I've read so far. Rather than analyse every verse and detail, he reads it thematically, taking grand sweeps through a number of a chapters each time. It's also a very symbolic reading; rather than taking everything literally, he sees it as poetic, fir ...more
Kendall Davis
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Remarkable book. If the goal of the book of Revelation is to expand our imagination so that we might see things from the divine perspective, then Peterson's book works to do just that. And I believe that he is largely successful. I found his discussion of Revelation as a poetic work to be particularly helpful.
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The best commentary that I have ever read or used. Peterson allows us to "see with our ears" just as the first century people of faith did.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Both clarifying and deep. My favorite thing is how he explains that Revelation is for all Christians in all times; it is not some secret code written and preserved for some future people to hopefully understand enough to pin down God. The imagery is deeply connected with the rest of scripture and seeing those connections helps us to grasp so much more of its meaning. It tells the story of who Jesus is, what he has done, is doing, and will continue to do. If you haven't wanted to touch Revelation ...more
P. Timothy
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An excellent series of meditations - poignant, colorful, and salty in true Peterson style - on groups of chapters of Revelation. He makes a difficult book more palatable; enjoyable; essential even. Highly recommended for those interested, or whose previous tastes of Revelation were a bit like force-feeding.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a very different view of the book of Revelation for me. I very much enjoyed reading it. Peterson is a little wordy for me at times. Some of his thoughts were hard for me to follow. But there were those moments that I just had sit back and say, "aha" as I understood what he was saying and agreed!
I had been a VERY different view of Revelation and prophecies concerning the "end times." This book had a much different perspective which really made sense to me.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not really a commentary on Revelation more of a series of topical reflections/meditations on the themes in Revelation. I really enjoyed Peterson's overall take on the book, particularly his use of imagination and his view that Revelation should not be left to the academics but should have a wide readership among laymen.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone wondering about the future and eternity
A commentary on the book of Revelation, but not in the typical sense. Peterson takes the book as a whole and not in bits and pieces, seeing it as a huge piece of art that both symbolically and literally enlarges our view of the world beyond our own. Mind expanding and hopeful.
Dec 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biblical-studies
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 Revelation 20 means, but you will be encouraged to find that Revelation is only and always about Jesus.
Allison Kohn
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As usual, Eugene Peterson's book, Reversed Thunder, is a well written encouragement for my family, the family of God to live a life of praise in harmony with our Savior and Friend. And, as usual, this book is encouraging and a powerful read for the family to consume for spiritual health.
John Angerer
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book 3 times. It is hands down the best narrative commentary on the Book of Revelation. Accessible, informative and actually a page turner. This book is the reason I look forward to preaching Revelation on Sunday.
Jim Cooper
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bible
Best writing on Revelation I’ve ever read. Peterson shows how Revelation is the entire story of the Bible retold in a fresh way. He demystifies Revelation in a way that makes it what it was intended to be - useful and explanatory.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you are tired of the "scary" interpretations of John's book of Revelation, read this. It is a masterful exposition of how our daily living should be guided by all the books of the Bible.
David Edgren
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Revelation viewed from a pastor's heart. Insightful and touching.
Tristan Sherwin
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
St John’s poetic imagery finds itself in great expositional hands, as Peterson’s poetic prose artfully guides us through the book of Revelation.

It takes a poet to understand a poet. And I firmly believe that Peterson’s *Reversed Thunder* is a must read for anyone who is wanting to get to grips with one of the most complex and layered biblical books. Seriously, if you want to delve into Revelation, and although this isn’t a “commentary” as such, make sure you have this by your side.

So why I have
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I always had such a hard time associating the Jesus of the Gospels with the end times Jesus that was fed to me all of my life. If "Perfect Love casts out fear" why was I so afraid? Why were my fellow Christians constantly searching headlines for end times prophecy? Why did I have to buy into all these conspiracy theories?

This book offers such a fresh and realistic perspective on the book of Revelation. It has brought me peace at last. Does it answer all of our questions about John's revelation?
Jason Kanz
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, 2020
I have been on Eugene Peterson kick recently. The more books that I read from him, the more I am drawn to his writing. He is wise, earthy, and poetic, a wonderful combination. Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination (1988) was the most recent.

In Reversed Thunder, Peterson explores the creative and imaginative language of St. John in the last book of the Bible. In my experience, many books about the Revelation of John attempt to provide a key to the events of the boo
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very different read of Revelation, one that calls the church to imagination and reads the text as the victory of God in Christ. Peterson uses the book to point out key points of discipleship and church life, from scripture, worship and prayer, to politics, evil, and witness. The book is not about future events but about the nature of Christian's delusions and evasions in the world. Peterson is never stale here and his writing is both direct and poetic. A book I really adore for its mix of eloq ...more
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Ok for this genre. I certainly have a new understanding and appreciation of the content, purpose, and style of the book of Revelations. Although not as much as in other books of this type, there were still parts where the ideas were repetitive and kind-of spiraled around each other.
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peterson is a marvelous writer.His script satisfies the soul. I have read many exegesis on Revalations -- none like this! It is my favorite. With every page, I just remember thinking, "I've never heard this before!"
Jon Anderson
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully well-written book on the Revelation of John. Pulls in the biblical basis for much of the imagery of the Apocalypse while staying away from last day goofiness. More of what we have come to expect from Peterson.
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and reasonable book on Revelation.
Jeremy Manuel
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eugene Peterson tackles the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, here in Reversed Thunder. This book is not a commentary. You won't find Peterson going through passages verse by verse and giving his thoughts on each one. This work is more of an overview. A look at Revelation from a bit of distance, but through a particular lens. That lens is that Revelation is not necessarily saying anything new, but is rather a final book given to invoke our imaginations about things that the Scriptu ...more
Donner Tan
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that got me hooked on Eugene Peterson's prolific works. Back in my younger days, wrapped in all the scholastic debates (or more accurately 'confusion') about the genre of Revelation, cryptic imageries and numbers, theories about the Beast and the Millenium, crystal-balling the times!, this book rescues me from all of that and puts me in a completely different country where one begins to make sense of this highly misunderstood book of the bible. It is more like a drama, a powerfu ...more
David Davis
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eugene Peterson's approach to understanding St. John's Revelation is so unique that I became aware that "Reversed Thunder" was going to require a second reading even as I read it the first time. Peterson's experience as a pastor has given him insights into the Book of Revelation that are distinct from the usual interpretation of this example of apocalyptic literature.

The tendency in approaching the Book of Revelation has been to treat it as a crossword puzzle, to figure out the identity of the c
J. Alfred
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Peterson is gushing and excited and refreshing, and in this book he makes big interpretive and practical claims about Revelation, which he treats both as one big poem and the poetic wrapping up of all the narrative and poetic threads of the Bible. He has also correctly ascertained that a very good way to get me to pick up your book on Revelation is by using a line from George Herbert as your title.
Nevertheless I have this against him: he misatributes a quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to h
Wes Van Fleet
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for a detailed commentary on Revelation, this is not it. But if you are looking for a deep and prayerful meditation on Revelation, get your hands on this book. Peterson thoughtfully and graciously moves through the Apocalypse in a way that extols the beauty of Christ, makes the reader slow down and see their place between the Creation and the New Creation, and does so in a fatherly way. I wish I would have read this earlier but am thankful I finally did. Peterson doesn’t shy a ...more
Ruth Martin
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reversed Thunder is an excellent “general level” commentary (ponderings?) from Eugene Peterson on the Book of Revelation. I think one of the best things about this books is how Peterson captured John’s pastoral heart for the 7 churches Revelation was originally for. The pastoral nature of Revelation is often missed when reading the book through a fantastical lens, and Peterson does well to set that aside to present the now-ness of this amazing book in the Bible.
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Eugene H. Peterson was a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. For many years he was James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He had written over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language ...more

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