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The Book Of Revelation Essay

3336 words - 13 pages

This essay will argue that the eschatology of the Book of Revelation forms an integral part of John’s attempt within the pages of his book to form a literary world in which the forms, figures, and forces of the earthly realm are critiqued and unmasked through the re-focalization of existence from the perspective of heaven. It will attempt to show that, in response to the social, political, religious, and economic circumstances of his readers, the Book of Revelation forms a counter imaginative reality. Through drawing upon an inaugurated sense of eschatology and evocative imagery, John is able to pull the reader in and show them the true face of the imperial world and consequences of its ideology, forcing the reader allegiance to fall with either ‘Babylon’ or the New Jerusalem.

Before beginning this essay proper, it is important to first comprehend some of what is meant by the term eschatology, and how it is understood in the Book of Revelation. Eschatology broadly defined is that part of theology which deals with conceptions of the ‘end times’ and of the final things of the world and humanity. Within it sit many concepts, such as heaven and hell, divine judgment, the second coming, the defeat of evil and the new creation, among others things. As such, it encapsulates any discussion about the ‘end times’. This is certainly an apt title for much of the Book of Revelation then, with so much discussion of divine judgment on the first earth, the second coming of Christ and the coming of the New Creation. Within the pages of this text, however, a more complex eschatology is portrayed. While in the grander literary scheme of the text we see the ultimate destruction of death and hades and their throwing into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14) as well as the ultimate defeat of the Satan (20:10), it is also possible to see in John’s words a sense of an already fulfilled eschatological hope. In chapter 5 of the Book of Revelation, we see Christ enter John’s vision in the form of the slain lamb, a picture of Christ sacrifice (Rev 5:6). In the ‘new song’ of the saints, the lamb is said to have “ransom[ed] for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation’ (5:9) and, later in the chapter, that “…every creature in heaven and on earth…” now sings praise to the lamb (5:13). These verses speak of God’s victory already having been fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice in a way that leaves the reader with a vision of the eschatological hope of the Christian faith as being both fulfilled, but yet to be completed, a conception which falls within an inaugurated understanding of eschatology. As such, the ‘end of the world’ in Revelation can be considered as having already occurred in Christ’s death as evil was defeated and the New Creation initiated, while simultaneously not complete as the forces of Satan; the beast, the false prophet, and the harlot, still function in the cosmology of the First Creation. This understanding of the...

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