Thursday, June 10, 2010

Revelation - a study from 7 years ago

Our Bible study has moved from a year's work in the Old Testament to reading Revelation. I have an old study of this book here. I wonder if I have changed much in my opinions over 7 years. Probably I would read the book with a much greater appreciation of allusions - hopefully we all will. There is a fully annotated text there also with my usual colour coding around the patterns of 7.

Felix Just has lots of information online about art in Revelation.

Here's my brief intro.
My own thesis is that this book is primarily about worship. The keys to the book are the seven references to the hour of judgment and the seven prostrations before the throne of the Beloved. The Gospel of Judgment is another clue - one would expect a Gospel of mercy but finds adoration and doxology for the judgment (14:6-7).
Harold Bloom suggests in his introduction to some critical essays: Hebrews hovers in John's mind on how to read the Hebrew Bible. But I think it is not as Professor Bloom imagines: the will to power of the typological interpretation of Scripture, but rather the intensity of worship that motivates and informs the vision as it does for the author of Hebrews. The Hebrew cult is a vital and primal human reference point. There is no anti-type where there is no type. Yet there is very little reference in Revelation to Hebrews - I have not yet noted any. One would have thought there would be plenty of opportunity with the throne room imagery to get something in on the priesthood of Christ. Even Psalm 110:4 Melchizedek reference is not one that I can read into this text. Revelation mentions the priesthood of the followers of the Lamb, but never the high priesthood of Jesus. Hebrews is all about the high priesthood of Jesus and not at all about the priesthood of his followers. The best I could venture is that both authors read Psalm 110 but took different directions with the text.
The links are to my collection of terms and their significance - not allegorically or symbolically as if there was one or many, but internally and structurally. I cannot answer the scholars who are miles ahead on many roads. As before, I must answer the enigma of my own experience - that God is love and that this revelation, his vengeance, is our story in that love. Who else would send a lamb to shepherd the sheep! 
Let all mortal flesh keep silence and stand with fear and trembling
and lift itself above all earthly thought.
For the King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God,
cometh forth to be our oblation and to be given for food to the faithful.
Before him come the choirs of angels, with every principality and power.
The cherubim with many eyes and winged seraphim,
who veil their faces as they shout exultingly the hymn. Alleluia.