Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Gordon Fee on Revelation

At ETS/SBL Gordon Fee's Revelation commentary in the NCCS will be available. To wet your appetite here is an excerpt from the preface:

"Stepping into Revelation from the rest of the New Testament is to enter into a strange, bizarre world; and this is true even in the days of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Instead of narratives, arguments, or plain statements of fact, the Revelation is full of angels, trumpets, and earthquakes; of strange beasts, dragons, and bottomless pits. Most believers, therefore, take one of two extremes: some simply avoid it in despair; others take an exaggerated interest in it, thinking to find here all the keys to the end of the world. Both of these positions I would argue are simply wrong. On the one hand, in the providence of God, it is Holy Scripture, a part of the twenty-seven document canon of the New Testament. Indeed, it serves as the ultimate - and marvelous - conclusion to the whole of Scripture. On the other hand, a great deal of what has been written about it, especially at the popular level, tends to obscure its meaning rather than to help the reader understand it. In fact many years ago, when I was teaching a course on the Revelation at Wheaton College, one of the options for a term paper was to analyze the exegesis of Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth. Two of the students took me up on this alternative, both of whom independently came to the conclusion that the task was altogether impossible, since there is not a single exegetical moment in Lindsay's entire book. John himself would surely have found Lindsay's book as 'apocalyptic' as most modern readers do John's".

9 comments:

SF said...

I look forward to reading it.

Rick Wadholm Jr. said...

Thanks for sharing Mike. I look forward to adding a copy to my study.

Actually Dan Block (in his Ezekiel commentaries) has quite a few such hilarious comments about Hal Lindsey as well. Good reading!

JT said...

John Piper—then a 28-year-old Bible prof fresh off his PhD—actually took up the challenge in 1974:

http://tinyurl.com/2uo5szb

JT

E said...

How about the Apocalypse as a false/failed prophecy?

After 2,000 years, its repeated use of ταχος and ταχυς

1:1; 2:16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:6,7,12,20

can raise questions about its validity (and hence its canonicity?).

pennoyer said...

@E - Interesting point you make regarding the frequent use of the terms "quickly" and "quick" in the Revelation and its potential challenge for canonicity.

But does it really take 2,000 years to have this be an issue? Surely the impact of your argument would be felt even within 100 or 200 years of the composition of the book, i.e. well within the period in which this book was still achieving canonical status in some portions of the church. The point being, I would suspect the force of your argument was felt early on - and rejected. Perhaps a more theologically nuanced sense for these terms was seen in operation here. - Ray

E said...

@pennoyer:

I suspect it's harder to take a book out of the canon once it's been included than it was to include it. I'm just guessing, though, as I have no real evidence one way or the other, unless one considers a book's acceptance by some churches or areas of Christendom but eventual exclusion from what became the canon to be an instance of an included book afterwards being excluded.

I would argue (again, purely subjectively) that a 200-year delay of the "soon" fulfillment of a future-pointing prophecy (i.e., almost up to Nicea I) is a lot different than the way that same prophetic book of "soon"-coming things looks in hindsight after an additional 1,700 unfulfilled years.

Jason B. Hood said...

JT, that Piper essay is excellent. I'm teaching Rev this fall in two different context and will definitely print this out for some older lay folk who are still into that approach.

WoundedEgo said...

>>>...Most believers, therefore, take one of two extremes: some simply avoid it in despair;...

I avoided it for many, many years. Then one day when reading Paul, I realized that he was giving a synopsis of the book, and now I see what it is talking about:

1 Cor 15:
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The acts of terrorism from the sky are identical in design as Muslim terrorism. That is, the plan is for Jesus to be a "heavenly Bin Laden" to bring about the subjection of the nations to God by broad brush actions of terror and destruction. You see biological and environmental attacks, war, famine, pestilence... all to reduce the nations to subjection. Once completed, Jesus sweeps down with an army and kills all of the muslims in the middle east and sets up the kingdom of God. After a thousand years, Jesus steps down and God himself comes down to live in the new Jerusalem forever. Jesus is demoted from lord to being just another son of man and God is "all in all."

Death and Hades are destroyed and trinitarians are tormented before God day and night forever.

pennoyer said...

Now, if we can only get Fee to read 1 Corinthians! (= sarcasm)