Why Study Revelation Part 2

25 Apr

As promised, here is the second part to why we should study Revelation.  G.K. Beale provides an excellent summary of the second theological emphasis in Revelation, namely, the victory Christians have in spite of the outward trials and tragedies of life. Here is his excerpt, let me know what you think in the comments!

Suffering and Victory

As in John’s Gospel, so in John’s Apocalypse, the death and defeat of Christ are, in reality, his victory over Satan. The Lamb’s followers are to recapitulate the model of his ironic victory in their own lives; by enduring through tribulation they reign in the invisible kingdom of the Messiah. They exercise kingship in the midst of their suffering just as Christ did from the cross: Christians are called to be conquerors by emulating in their own lives the archetypal triumph of Jesus. Though the Christian’s outer body is vulnerable to persecution and suffering, God has promised to protect the regenerated inner spirits of true saints. And, at the end of the sojourn of Christ’s body (the church) on earth, its presence, like his, will be completely removed, and then it will be resurrected.

Conversely, when the church’s opponents persecute God’s people, they spiritually defeat themselves in the same manner that Satan was defeated at the cross, though it appeared that he had won a physical victory over Christ (cf. Col. 2:14–15). Acts of oppression against the saints, when not repented of, lay an increasing foundation for the oppressors’ final judgment and even become expressions of a judgment of hardening by God on permanently recalcitrant people.

The main rhetorical goal of the literary argument of John’s Apocalypse is to exhort God’s people to remain faithful to the call to follow the Lamb’s paradoxical example and not to compromise, all with the goal of inheriting final salvation. This, however, is not the most significant theological idea in the book (see on the conclusion to 21:1–22:5). The major theological theme of the book is the glory due to God because he has accomplished full salvation and final judgment. Even the notion of Christ and the church reigning ironically in the midst of their suffering and the idea of unbelieving persecutors experiencing spiritual defeat in the midst of their physical victories demonstrate the wisdom of God and point accordingly to his glory.

G.K. Beale, NIGTC Revelation

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Edification, Encouragement


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