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OT: Revelations (was Re: Saprutum website update)

From:Eamon Graham <robertg@...>
Date:Thursday, March 6, 2003, 12:23
Wesley Parish wrote:

> On the matter of a book written in the apocalyptic style of the book of > Daniel, and thus impossible to interpret "literally", I have no such > inhibitions. The more so since practically every interpretation of those two > books - the book of Daniel and the book of Revelations - that breaks away > from their temporal contexts, turns out completely wrong within a few > decades, if not years. And we know what is to be done with false prophets, > don't we? If we can't stone them, we should at least be able to laugh at > them.
I have to say (as a deacon and future priest, insha'Allah) that I disagree with views of the Book of Revelations that rely on literal interpretation or the view that is 100% pure prophecy. To define "prophecy" and "divine inspiration" is beside my point, but the definitions are a lot wider than people think and does not necessarily mean that St. John received a literal prophecy of the future - the Necronomicon, for example purported to be a prophecy of the past. It's quite useful, from my point of view, to view Revelations as a "prophecy of the present" - the time being that of the horrific persecutions of Christians under the Roman Empire, a time when many Christians were looking to their spiritual leaders and saying "the world must be coming to an end!" St. John was writing to tell them that these things have happened in the past, they are happening now and they will happen again in the future (witness the holocaust) but in the end good always triumphs, evil is put down, and (from the Christian point of view) God is ultimately in charge of history, not Nero, Hitler or anyone else. This leads to the "impossible symbolism" - any Christian in possession of a writing that was that subversive would have been fed to the lions, so St. John wrote it in heavily clothed symbols that only Christians of the time would have made sense of... unfortunately for modern Christians much of that meaning wasn't passed down, and I believe we must rely on our God-given gifts of reason and knowledge to determine what it means. Take a look at the film "The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat" - in one part of the film very controversial topics of race, racism and the use of violence to achieve political goals were examined and torn apart. If you had a person up on screen dealing with the same issues in the 70s you would have likely been crucified on the cover of Time magazine; have an animated cat say it and it's not so controversial. (And no, as a Christian, I do not find it offensive to use "The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat" as an example to my argument!) Anyway, the Book of Revelations is one of the most misunderstood and heavily abused writings in history (along with the Koran, Communist Manifesto, etc.) - use only as directed. For what it's worth, Eamon ____________________________________________________ Robert Eamon Graham Anugraha banana shundarata dengan bisri bastu-bastu. -- U2, "Grace"