Well,the end of the world has passed, again 🙂 That’s the second time this year! It is the Bible that causes all the problems. or rather it is bad reading of the Bible that causes all the problems. No book is more commonly misread than Revelation. Christians keep wanting it to predict tomorrow. And boy, do they get tied in knots! But a simple direct dose of the KIIC principle would cure them… Keep It In Context, that’s all you have to do. Ask how the message would sound to the writer and intended receivers of the message. For a bit more on this inRead More →

There probably is no other book of the Bible that has so much nonsense taught and preached “from” it. So I will use two five minute slots to introduce this “difficult” book. In this session I’ll talk about how NOT to read Revelation and begin to point to a better way. Then in the next I’ll describe John’s situation and the interests of his readers and outline the content of the book. In one line the book aims to encourage its readers (facing a time of persecution) that Jesus is Lord, and rules!Read More →

“I am making everything new” what a wonderful promise! Not just a repair or clean up, but a renewed creation. Back in Genesis, the new line that started with Seth instead of Cain (the murderer) failed, after the flood Noah who was “a righteous man, blameless in his generation; and walked with God” (Gen 6:9) promptly became the first drunk, even Abraham – the father of faith – showed his lack of faith a few verses after responding to God’s call. Clean up jobs don’t work, they just sweep human sinfulness under the carpet. As Jesus’ parable (Mat 12:43ff. Luke 11:24ff.) shows even casting theRead More →

With this reading, skipping all the confusing stuff about the seven seals and the seven bowls, and most of the material about the false bride (the whore of Babylon), we come straight to the end of the beginning in chapter 19. We’ve returned to the throne room in heaven, now in victory! Westerners, especially those of us born after the end of the second world war (which means most listeners to this podcast 😉 have difficulty really understanding this joy in heaven, most of our battles are such trivial ones. But live for a while with people far away, share their pain as their childrenRead More →

If you’ve been wonderoing when all the visions in Revelation begin, wonder no more. Today’s reading is full of visions. A throne in heaven: for God alone rules heaven and earth. One sitting on it: God is not named, for that would be too familiar in this dangerous vision, dangerous because humans are unholy and God is holy. Then v.3 is a reminder not to take this vision as visual, it’s a word picture Many of us approach John’s visions wanting to know more than John tells us, either about what heaven is like or about God’s timetable for the future. So people dig intoRead More →

Most listeners to this podcast, judging by the website stats, come from comfortable Western countries. If this is you (and it is ME) then most of what is said to the first six churches does not closely fit us, though it more often gives us goals to aim for. Laodicea by contrast does fit, neither hot nor cold – isn’t moderation one of our chief virtues, especially in Church (even more than our society more widely where often excess reigns). We are also (on a global scale if not as individuals 😉 rich and successful. Of course if we look beyond the material things thatRead More →

This reading introduces the book and Revelation needs introducing because it is a difficult book. Among its oddities are the rhetorical flourishes (present elsewhere in the Bible but very strongly featured here), the use of picture language (which interestingly often cannot actually be pictured), vivid visions and a strong interest in the future/eternity. Listening to John’s word pictures makes clear that these aren’t really pictures that John draws, the “word pictures” signal other things, so white as wool, white as snow – signals purity. However, it also does clever stuff called intertextuality – John sets up echoes with other Scriptures that ought to be familiar.Read More →

The book calls itself the apokalupsis of Jesus Christ – the revelation the disclosure of hidden things – so like parts of Daniel it will show us glimpses “behind the scenes” of the world letting us see a bit of what Christ is doing off stage. This means (paradoxically) that this book requires us to learn a bit about the setting and people for whom John is writing – it may be even more important for such a book than for one that tells the action on-stage 😉 John is a prisoner, “for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”, in PATMOS, aRead More →