Post 99, Arthur Patrick and Angus McPhee on Revelation

It is not an easy task to enthuse people to read or study again Revelation when many might say they have suffered “Revelation fatigue” but one can only try. Dr Patrick does not appear to fall into the group of the “fatigued;” for over 60 years he has read and re-read the Book and admits to having got more from it with each reading. So his blog should reveal something of his journey and discoveries.

Yes. It is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Readers who overlook that and read it for reasons other than discovering what the book says about the risen Christ will miss the point and fall into many a dangerous doctrine, as did the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas.

It seems to me that having pointed that out, Dr Patrick could and should have explored it. He moves immediately into the literary style of the book, namely “apocalyptic.” While this is a matter that must eventually be addressed, the focus of the blog is not on Jesus and His post-ascension pre-(second)advent role but rather on characteristics of the Book.

I might be pedantic when I address Dr Patrick’s description of Revelation as a mosaic. Of course he is pointing out that it is made up of many “pieces” quarried from the Old Testament and placed in a new setting, but does he emphasise its importance? I like the imagery, but I fear that that point is lost in the paragraph on mosaics. If the casual reader of Dr Patrick’s blog and subsequently of the Revelation forgets that, they will also forget to familiarise themselves with those Old Testament passages that contribute to the Book and find themselves lost in territory with which they really should have made themselves familiar. Readers of this blog should find themselves saying to themselves, “I just have to read Revelation.” For that reason I would have liked him to give appetising examples.

The original manuscript and earliest copies of Revelation did not have chapters and verses. These are a later addition. They might serve their purpose for memorising and reference, but many, like the post-colonial political divisions of Africa which cut through ancient tribal territories, cut through John’s visions and disturb the reader in his travels. It is therefore my opinion that Dr Patrick could better have outlined the Book (as he sees it) and the role of the Risen Christ in each section.

To conclude, this must be said. Any attempt by a Bible student to encourage his readers to read Revelation, at least, and the Bible at most, should be applauded.

While Dr Patrick has told his readers something of what to expect in the Revelation, he has rightly urged his readers to read the Book for themselves with his repeat of one of the blessings in the Book itself: “Blessed is he that readeth.” I agree. May I add the rest of that verse? “Blessed are they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein (Revelation 1:3, KJV).” So, read it and have it read to you, from time to time, again and again. Reader and listener, you’ll be blessed.

A final note: I applaud Angus McPhee for his critique (above), and agree that my limited purpose in my blog could not begin to embrace all the good advice that Angus has offered. So I need to encourage my readers to explore the much fuller coverage of Revelation Studies on Angus Mcphee’s personal blog and, even more particularly the online Revelation materials from the expertise of Graeme Bradford and Jon Paulien elsewhere on this blog.

Angus McPhee, 18 February 2013, posted by Arthur Patrick, 27 February 2013