Friday, April 19, 2013

Revelation: The Climax of the Canon

A few posts ago I somewhat facetiously dismissed Revelation as a crazy book that doesn't belong in the canon. But perhaps even more so than any of Paul's letters it belongs in that part of the canon Brueggemann might call "prophetic". A fellow Bible college student pointed me in the direction of a quote by Bauckham that speaks not only of Revelation's role as the climax of the canon but of its contemporary witness to those who think that real power - the power that Christians must fall back on if their weakness is threatened - is clothed only in military garb:

'Is the world a place in which military and political might carries all before it or is it one in which suffering witness to the truth prevails in the end? Thus Revelation offers its readers prophetic discernment guided by the core of Christian faith: that Jesus Christ won his comprehensive victory over all evil by suffering witness....Whereas modern terminology calls martyrdom 'passive resistance', John's military imagery makes it just as active as any physical warfare. While rejecting the apocalyptic militancy that called for literal holy war against Rome, John's message is not, 'Do not resist!' It is, 'Resist! - but by witness and martyrdom, not by violence.' On the streets of the cities of Asia, John's readers are not to compromise but to resist the idolatry of the pagan state and pagan society. In so doing they will play an indispensable part in the working-out of the Lamb's victory.' 
- The Theology of the Book of Revelation, 91-92

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