31 March, 2006

Armageddon Poetry

I don't know what I believe about the end times, really. Our pastor gave a seminar on his interpretation of Revelation that has several people at the church riled.

People are always fascinated with The Revelation of Jesus Christ...unto St.John. (Pet peeve--people who call the book "Revelations". That's not the name of the book. It is Revelation ...no 's'.) Thanks to the Left Behind series, even more people are enraptured (hah!) by the idea of their ordinary dull lives turning into a breathtaking adventure--thanks to God and his early withdrawl policy.

Like any self-respecting Christian child of the 70s I read Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth, which was able to accomplish in one book what took Jenkins and LaHaye a full shelf and a half to accomplish. Add to that a viewing of the always-creepy Thief In The Night rapture movie--the Twilight Jesus Zone film that will scare even the believers half out of their wits--and you have my love-hate relationship with The Last Days.

As terrified as I am at any mention of bar codes inserted under the skin or wars being fought in territories close to Meggido, I am still not sure of how literally I take the imagry of the Apocalypse.

Regardless, I love the book of Revelation because it is some of the most beautiful poetry you'll find in the Bible. Granted, I'm of the T.S. Eliot school of poetry, where things don't have to make sense on first glance as long as you are caught up in the imagry and music of the words. Only later do you find that all of the words not only make sense on one level, they make sense on a thousand levels--like notes between notes in the baroque Mozart.

I pulled two of my favourite passages (Rev. 19: 11-18; 21:3-7) for examples over at Glen Dean's yesterday. To me the image of the White Horse and His Rider, along with the image of the Comfort of the Alpha and Omega are some of the most stirring words put to paper.

Some other beautiful imagry:

"And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of haprist playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the thrown throne and before the four living creatures and the elders."

It makes no sense if you read it, but it makes perfect sense if you feel it. Kinda like Eliot.


At 3:52 PM, March 31, 2006, Blogger HJ said...

I grew up with the types of interpretation of Revelation that you describe, but discarded them when I was in graduate school, when I came to reject other aspects of dispensationalism.

Sadly, those who focus on reading Revelation beside their newspapers miss out on the primary majestic theme of the book, which is the ultimate triumph and righteous reign of God through Christ. The world of John, much like our world, was full of death, disease, despair, and difficulty. John himself had been exiled for his faith. In that kind of world, John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote this vision that the kingdoms of this world would become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ.

That inspires far more awe and encouragement for living than speculating about the meaning of the mark of the beast.

At 7:38 AM, April 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to criticize, but watch your homophones when quoting Scripture my dear! thrown/throne


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