Thursday 26 July 2012


"But just don't tell Gavin Rumney who hates Revelation intensely and frankly doesn't need any more material to moan about."  Jonathan Robinson.
Jonathan Robinson pens some quite good stuff on his blog, despite being a Baptist mullah.  In fact, if you've got a spare moment, check it out.  I mean, I quite like some Baptist preacher types, as long as they're not demon-possessed, NKJV-toting Southern Baptists like Al Mohler, and Jonathan seems to be quite a long way along the enlightened end of the Baptist bell shaped curve.  As I've confessed here before, I attended a Baptist Church when living in the Taranaki in the long ago, and have some good memories - despite the culture shock for a poor Lutheran-raised lad encountering competive hand-holding prayer circles for the first time.  You know the type: the group leader launches out in an avalanche of awesomes, we just wannas, and semi-orgasmic moans and groans (oooohhhh, Jesus, we just, ummmmm, thank you Lord) parading as praise.  Ugh!  Meanwhile the next poor schmuck in the circle is desperately thinking "how the @#$! am I gonna compete with that." 

Anyway, "resident alien" Jonathan (he's from the UK) is under the impression that I'm a moaner and guilty of hate crimes against the Apocalypse.  Perhaps he's right, but I have to make one small correction, I don't really hate Revelation, intensely or otherwise.  No, Revelation is a nice example of the apocalyptic genre, full of the rich, fruity mix of world-hating metaphors and imagery that go into the standard recipe.  That it ended up in the New Testament however is tragic, and I take some comfort in the fact that a lot of folk in the early church fought its inclusion tooth and nail.  Luther was keen on bouncing it out into a kind of appendix of dubious documents, and even the late, great J. B. Phillips made some starchy comments on its value.  Given those qualifications it's perfectly possible to still appreciate it for what it is, warts and all. What I do passionately abhor is the way it continues to be appropriated and misused by 'evangelicals' and deranged fear-engendering tithe farmers, and of such things I can personally attest, as presumably can Jonathan, given the apocalyptic-rich chiliastic diet that many Baptists wallow in, even in Auckland's inner suburbs.

As for all the prattle about Revelation being more some kind of ancient team-building motivational text, and that we can strip away the Scarlet Harlot, the rivers of blood and sociopathic horsemen, leaving behind a sanitary, faith-enhancing text... not so likely.


  1. The Apocalypse is about the end of the world being "at hand". It was the ancient version of HWA's "final gunlap".

    John said that God told Jesus and Jesus told an angel and the angel showed John things which must shortly come to pass (Rev. 1:1).

    In other words, he "heard it through the grapevine, not much longer..." well, you know the song.

    Actually, the destruction of the city (Jerusalem, not Rome) did happen "shortly". In fact, it had already happened. But, alas, no resurrection and no Jesus - even though he said, "behold, I come quickly". Yeah, right, and whatever happened to that church that was commanded to "hold fast that you have until I come"? Well, it's gone - long gone - long, long gone. And, he didn't come... So much for waiting, huh? I hope they didn't hold their breath.

  2. I currently favor the explanation that Revelation was written in the last months before the fall of Jerusalem by Jewish Christians to encourage those under seige. The Romans would lose, Vespasian (beast) would fall and the false prophet, to the Jewish Christians, the apostle who said he was jewish and was not , PAUL, would be routed.
    Jewish Christians obviously hated Paul big time. The Ephesians were praised by Jesus of Revelation for casting out those who said they were apostles but were not. Paul said "all in Asia", the location of Ephesus, had forsaken him. In other words, he got kicked out. Of course, Rome won and the Book of Revelation became moot and a failed prophecy. Both Rome and Paul won as Paul is essentially the author of the Christianity we have today. Obviously we cannot define "the things which must shortly come to pass" as dragging out over 2000 years.

    1. DCD said...>I currently favor the explanation that Revelation was written in the last months before the fall of Jerusalem by Jewish Christians to encourage those under seige.<

      Well, Dennis repudiated all that he once believed and taught when he was a minister in the Worldwide Church of God! So, one wonders if his, "I currently favor," is just an assertion, unsupported by evidence or argument, or just an unstable opinion?

  3. Dennis, uh, the Apocalypse has to be later than the first Jewish war. Here's 2 reasons why:

    1. According to Rev. 2:8-11, the church of Smyrna has been persevering for a long time, while according to Polycarp (Phil 11:3), at the time of Paul it did not even exist.

    2. Rev. 3:17 describes the community of Laodicea as rich, while this city had been almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 60/61 A.D.

    The biblical scholars seem to think that Revelation was written during the time of the persecutions by Domitian, 90-96 A.D. However, my theory is that it was written even later, during the second Jewish war (when Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the Romans and even non-Jewish Christians were barred from Jerusalem). That would make Simon bar Kokhba the false prophet. This war also differentiated Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. To their credit though, and maybe thanks to Revelation, the Jewish Christians did not support Kokhba.

  4. Appreciate the links Gavin, but (Phil 11:3) refers to Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, not Paul's.

  5. The links are automatically supplied by RefTagger. Anything that looks like a standard biblical reference gets the treatment.

  6. Hmmm, now I'll have to get that for my blog...

  7. Gavin, you make me blush. Thanks for the link. Your blog is also sometimes quite good, but I think this is my favourite post so far. ;-)