Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 27th, 2014 by Joel Watts

“Praying in God’s Theater” – What is the Message of Revelation?

English: Ceiling painting, Book of Revelation,...

English: Ceiling painting, Book of Revelation,”Worthy is the Lamb”, showing the Lamb, Godfather, an angel, the four Evangelists as symbolic animals, a row af angels with harps, ca. 1670 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I noted previously about a shared belief with a current book on Revelation. The synopsis reads,

Revelation encouraged its original readers to persevere as they waited for God to eradicate evil, restore justice, and redeem the world.

I wanted to share what I view, and the image I worked with, while writing Praying in God’s Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation.

I no longer see Revelation as the great boogey man of Scripture. Rather, I believe it is a message of hope enacted, or acted out, through a liturgical celebration of an early Jesus-as-Messiah community. I am always hesitant to call them Christian, especially given the rather stark Jewishness of the text.

While I did not fully explore this aspect, I further believe Revelation is based upon Psalm 2 and as a text can be seen to promote Jesus throughout the successive events from among the throne to the one who sits upon the throne. It is an enthronement text.

If acted out, I believe it demonstrates the elevation of Jesus through the direction of worship.

But the message of Revelation is the continued presence of Jesus in our worship. Further, I believe it is composed in the aftermath of the Jewish Revolt and as such incorporates historical events in the (re)telling of the story and in the characterization of the worship. Finally, Revelation is replete with symbols buried in the text to reflect a Eucharistic pattern. Thus, the message of Revelation is not simply one of hope, but one of worship.

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Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


One Response to ““Praying in God’s Theater” – What is the Message of Revelation?”
  1. Hey Joel,
    This is off topic (of which I apologize), but I thought you might want to check out an interview conducted with Dale Allison on the existence of Jesus:


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