Upside-Down Apocalypse: Grounding Revelation in the Gospel of Peace

Jeremy Duncan. Herald, $17.99 trade paper (206p) ISBN 978-1-5138-1039-3

In this refreshing exegesis, pastor Duncan (Dirt and Stardust) interprets the Book of Revelation through the peacemaking teachings of Jesus. The author grounds Revelation in its historical, literary, and cultural context, exploring “the way God is revealed to us” through Jesus’s nonviolence. Filling in historical background, Duncan notes that Roman emperor Domitian engaged in the sporadic and inconsistent persecution of Christians at the time John wrote Revelation, and explains that John gives the seven churches different advice because they had experienced different treatment under Domitian’s reign. Duncan provides shrewd readings of some of Revelation’s “out-there” imagery and notes that the four creatures covered in eyes in the throne room scene draw on Near Eastern literature’s tradition of using eyes to represent wisdom and right vision. The author suggests that Revelation’s “violent imagery” actually promotes nonviolence, and he posits that the bloody “sword” Jesus wields while riding the white horse actually refers to Jesus’s words: “Victory is won not with weapons, war, or force but through the testimony of nonviolence.” The straightforward, no-frills analysis builds an accessible, cogent case that John lays out a more hopeful vision than is traditionally assumed. The result is a thought-provoking look at Revelation. (July)
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