One of the biggest problems when reading the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) is that Christians too often don't have any kind of historical sense about apocalyptic thinking or apocalyptic literature. In too many cases, Christian readers consider careful historical information about "apocalyptic literature" as dry, boring, or superfluous "stuff"---even a waste of time. At the very most, such readers might see such things as “interesting background material” that can basically just be ignored (like random noise).
In fact, Christians most often read this book—and they want to read it this way—from the context of current day “popular Christianity.” And pop-Christianity is like pop-psychology: it’s the cotton-candy version of the real thing. Such a sweet and gooey context promises secret and mysterious revelations of exciting times ahead, all of which give you goosebumps. And in such a frenzied context, there's no possibility that we are going to be able to appreciate this ancient text we are reading.
Pop-Christianity is like pop-psychology:
it’s the cotton-candy version
of the real thing.
The message of the Book of Revelation is powerful! It has a wonderful message. As long as we don't pollute or supplant that message with something we have manufactured, it speaks with power even today.
Right now, you can be part of a landmark series of online studies leading up to and including the Book of Revelation. The series is called The Apocalyptic Context of the Bible. It began February 2021 and goes through December 2021. All of it is being recorded LIVE every week and is available to those who sign up for it now. It is not free, but it won't make you take out a loan (like a college course will); it's affordable for all and is worth the money if you want more than surface level Bible studies. You get access to all of the past classes, plus the new classes coming out every week.
In our LIVE sessions so far, we’ve spent a good bit of time (February-August) looking not only at how apocalyptic thinking and writing developed, but also at when, where, and why. We've paid special attention to the context of it all. We’ve looked at text after text from all kinds of places in the Ancient Near East, and we have charted the beginning and growth of apocalyptic themes, concepts, thinking, and writings. We have now arrived at New Testament texts, and we are, together, reading through the Gospel of Mark this week. Next week we’ll look at Matthew and Luke, after that Paul, and after that we’ll start a focused and serious look at the Book of Revelation.
Here, now, is a rare opportunity
to take a serious look at
one of the most widely read documents
in the New Testament!
Christians of all backgrounds continue to read the Book of Revelation in so many kinds of ways as to be both bewildering and frightening at the same time. Here, we offer a reasoned alternative.
In this study, you'll be able to watch all of the past videos---you can even binge-watch them. These classes are not “filler” classes. They are, in fact, foundational to an understanding of the context of apocalyptic thinking during various times in history.
I'm not promising that we’ll uncover the one true “secret way” that the Book of Revelation should be read; but I am promising that a contextual look at any biblical document is fundamentally important for reading it.
I'm not promising that you'll agree with everything presented (actually, that should never, ever be the criterion of real study); but I am promising that the presentations will be thought-provoking, so that they challenge you to think!
I’m not promising you'll get goose bumps in this course, and I'm not going to hop from table to table while you jump up and down in mind-blathering mania; but I am promising, by the grace of God, something quite more substantial---an approach that you possibly have never had before: a responsible, contextual, and conversational reading of the Book of Revelation.
An approach that many
have never seen before:
a responsible, contextual, and conversational
reading of the Book of Revelation
You'll have access to all the videos---past, present, and future---of the entire series. This is a great opportunity to slip in the back door and be like a fly on the wall to this landmark study series.
(You'll be coming through the Silver Track.
I hope it is obvious that if you are already in the Silver or Gold Track,
don't sign up again!)
Gary D. Collier
PS: If you want to see all the tracks, go here.