Revelation 101: Leaving Behind Left Behind (Jason Staples)

“This is a revelation of how things are, not so much how things have been.” -Jason Staples

Modern Christians reading the Book of Revelation tend to filter it through the lens of popular fiction (such as the Left Behind series) and a very modern concept of its strange language and imagery. From the four horsemen, to the secret thunder in chapter 10, to the mixing of metaphors throughout the text, Revelation presents a challenge for modern readers.

In this episode, Dr. Jason Staples (Assistant Teaching Professor at North Carolina State University) helps sort through the symbols in the Book of Revelation. By examining the historical context of late Second Temple Judaism, the genre of apocalypse, and key passages from the Hebrew Bible, the meanings of the symbols begin to emerge. Though many passages remain mysterious, even to trained scholars, the Book of Revelation communicates a message of central importance about the present Kingdom of God and the role of the church in the world.

Jason Staples teaches in the areas of biblical literature, early Judaism and Christianity, and modern issues in ethics and religion. He is the author of The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism: A New Theory of People, Exile, and Israelite Identity. In addition to his scholarly work, Jason has worked in sports media and voiceover narration.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Signs and symbols
  • 2:40 Understanding ancient reading norms
  • 6:42 Finding context for Revelation in other literature
  • 8:02 The Jewish experience in the 1st and 2nd centuries
  • 14:16 Defining the apocalypse genre
  • 19:40 Revelation and the Kingdom of God
  • 23:31 Mystery and God’s control
  • 26:20 Reading the Hebrew Bible to understand Revelation
  • 32:42 New Heavens and the New Earth

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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