All good news must come to an end. The last book in the New Testament that we will study is Revelation. A lot of people tend to call this book “Revelations,” but you’ll notice that there is no “s” at the end of the word.
One may think of this as a simple spelling mistake, but it also a misreading of the genre of this work. Revelation is in many ways a combination of the gospel and epistolary forms with which we are familiar, but the good news being told is about the parousia of Jesus Christ. That second-coming is what is being revealed.
The author of attribution, John, writes to seven churches in Asia Minor on the occasion of his imprisonment on the island of Patmos–a sentence he describes as persecution for his identification with Jesus. John says he was “in the Spirit” (a trance, mediation, what does this mean?) and then he has a vision of Jesus, who tells him to write to these seven churches about what is to come and what should happen now as a result. This whole experience we are meant to understand, it seems, as part of the revelation or uncovering of the Kingdom of God.
In Greek, the word for “uncovering” is apocalypse (cf. eclispse). Revelation derives from the Latin cognate for re-(as in un-) veiling….revealing, no?
In this, the apocalypse is not really about the end of time as much as it is the presentation of how the world is and should be. It is that to which sign prophets point.
For your interactive notebook assignment, I’d like you to do the following:
Define: apocalypse, apocalyptic, pseudonymity, and faith from the Daniel Lynwood Smith reading.
Write: 150 words or so on how the reading from Revelation is similar to gospels, epistles, pseudepigraphy, and to the histories we encountered in Luke-Acts.
Draw: A picture of Jesus according to the descriptions in Revelation