Saturday, May 07, 2011

Round and Round

Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

1 Καὶ ὁ πέμπτος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ εἶδον ἀστέρα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεπτωκότα εἰς τὴν γῆν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ ἡ κλεὶς τοῦ φρέατος τῆς ἀβύσσου

My point today is not so much exegetical as it is hermeneutical. The question is how we should read the book of Revelation. If we take the simplest approach, we just read it like a sequential letter. We take the first three chapters to be like a straight epistle and then we take the rest to be a description of what will happen at the end of time.

However, there is another way that I think is perhaps more plausible. Instead of reading it like a sequence of events, perhaps we should read it as sort of a commentary on itself. It looks like concentric circles that get larger and larger in scope. I'm not going to detail every example, but this is one of them. It seems like this is retelling what we just saw in chapter 8 with Wormwood falling to earth. In other words, I don't think it is a separate event.

I don't really have time to develop this more deeply right now, but I just wanted to point out that there are different ways to read Revelation. Obviously they are not all legitimate since God did not write it with multiple meanings in mind. However, I would submit that perhaps the literalistic method is not the best. I realize that is a heretical idea to a dispensationalist and I also realize that this opens the door a crack for liberalism to barge its way in. However, I also think that a plain reading of Revelation makes a lot more sense if we see it a continually retelling a story and elaborating on it each time rather than a straight sequence of events.

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