Justo González on Interpreting Revelation

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Can you tell what I’m reading in my New Testament class yet?

I like Gonzales’ approach to Revelation, finding it much more compatible with with my own view points, and those that I am redefining at the moment, than Blount’s essay. Gonzales already has two or so works on Revelation, so to find him expressing himself easily enough is not a surprise, but I still rather enjoy what he has to say.

He makes a strong case against destroying the Book of Revelation by using it as, as he says, a TV Guide. Couldn’t agree more…

Likewise, when Revelation is turned into a sort of program for the latter days and the claim is made that we are living those latter days, the implication is that when Martin Luther read this book in the sixteenth century and when John Wesley read it in the eighteenth century, this book was supposed to tell them only that the end would come in the twenty-first century. Even worse, such interpretations imply that when John in his exile on Patmos wrote to the suffering and perplexed churches in Asia, all he ad to tell them was that at some distant point in the twenty-first century the seventh trumpet would sound and the end would come 0 in other words, John’s book was scarcely a word addressed to the very real and immediate needs and concerns of his readers. (p50)

He goes on to note that his interpretation isn’t about the future, treating the book as a ‘TV Guide‘ nor as one stuck in the past, but…

It is in this manner that I choose to interpret the book of Revelation… as a message that, precisely because it spoke concretely to besieged believers in the late first century, also speaks concretely to believers early in the twenty-first century. (p51)

Isn’t this the manner in which we should interpret this book, and indeed, others in the Canon? We cannot ignore the historical context of Scripture, but we shouldn’t allow that historical context to hold back these words from our interpretation and application.

I wonder this line of thought might do to Leviticus 20?

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