Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Bood of Revelation: Judgment and Redemption

This last week I have been doing a lot of study on the book of Revelation. I would argue that Revelation is one of the most untouched books in the Bible merely because people don't really know what to do with it. If anything the use of Revelation has been limited to apocalyptic and eschatological ones. Throughout my reading and research I forced myself to disregard all of the apocalyptic fluff that is often the basis for understanding Revelation. Revelation has become a one issue book, but in all reality it has much more to offer the Church. 

I recognized the passages of judgment and the over arching theme of God's judgment in the "end," but even more so I recognized the relationship between judgment and redemption. In the book of Revelation the judgment of God and the redemptive act of God in Christ are inseparable. Judgment is the punishment and destruction of all creation that opposes the Kingdom of God and redemption is the salvation and establishment of a “new creation.” The act of judgment on the part of God is by no means evil or unjustified, but deserved (Rev. 16). And, the redemption of God is not deserved, but given by grace to those who have stayed faithful to the Lord. The judgment of God is a necessary act, which rids creation of all sinfulness as preparation for the final redemptive work of God. 

It is important that the theme of judgment in Revelation not be ostracized from redemption. Judgment is often a hard theological theme to talk about, but Revelation gives us the comfort of redemption. Judgment is the necessary precursor for the redemptive purpose of God and even in light of judgment, it is a sweet thing to look forward to the redemption of the Lord.

 Recommended Books:

Stephen H. Travis, Christ and the Judgment of God. (Colorado: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009); The last two chapters of this book are very helpful for understanding "judgment" in Revelation.

George Eldon Ladd, A theology of The New Testament. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993); This is a timeless NT theology classic

Richard Bauckham, The Theology of The Book of Revelation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Bauckham does a great job of analyzing and engaging the theology of Revelation