Jesus, Revelation and Apocalyptic Literature

Kendra Haloviak Valentine

1. This literature can be abused. It can be used as a resource for legitimation of control and violence rather than subversion of power. What are ways to avoid its misuse?

2. Is it possible to read apocalyptic literature both for the “big picture” and also in response to particular situations in our lives today? How do we do this?

3. What do you do with a text that depicts scenes of violence in order to do away with violence? Where death dies and Hades goes into a lake of fire? What is John doing with this imagery? Are violent depictions inevitable in our world? How is divinity—and ultimate reality—being reflected in this “revelation”?

4. According to Abraham Joshua Heschel, “prophecy is ... an interpretation of a particular moment in history, a divine understanding of a human situation” (xii). The book of Revelation calls itself a prophecy (1:3; 22:7, 10). How might Heschel’s understanding of prophecy help us better read the book of Revelation?

5. Even though it isn’t the apocalyptic seer’s job description to answer all of our questions (but instead to move us to action), what is one question you wish John the Revelator did answer?