The theology of the book of Revelation
The book of Revelation can be considered to present a profound theology work. However, its literary form most of the times make it hard to penetrate to a large number of modern readers as well as opening opportunities to all sorts of misinterpretations (Bauckham, 1993). Moreover, this gives Richard Bauckham a chance to explain how its imagery conveyed message and the theology of the book can’t be separated from its literary composition and structure in this book. The book of Revelation is however seen to offer a theocentric vision instead of an encoded and esoteric forecast of the events of the coming of the universal kingdom God, contextualized towards late 1st century world which was dominated by the Roman ideology and power. Revelation also challenges Christians to be engaged in confronting that time political idolatries and participating in the purpose of God to gather nations into kingdom of God. However, upon proper grounding of Revelation it is however seen to be transcending its context and speaking to today’s church. Hence it highlights the continued relevance of the book of Revelation for Christians today (Bauckham, 1993).
Dr. Richard Bauckham book concerning the book of Revelation and some of its importance theologically has been written in a fascinating and interesting way. Bauckham has managed to break down the book of Revelation into a clear manner that is Biblical and clearly understandable to every one (Bauckham, 1993). He has also managed to explain to the reader of this book the meanings of the book texts, as well as how to interpret the texts better and also its importance to theology.
A summary of The Theology of the Book of Revelation chapter by chapter
Chapter 1: Reading the book of Revelation
Bauckham starts writing this book by providing an explanation of what type the book of Revelation is. Thus, he ends up defining the book of Revelation as one comprising of prophecy as well as an apocalypse (Bauckham, 1993). He then goes through issues of understanding and interpretation of issues which are related to apocalypse and prophecy genre. He however concentrates on details which are specific within the book of Revelation and other writings which are similar during this time.
The book of Revelation is portrayed as a circular letter just like other New Testament letters; Revelation was however circulated to several churches whereby at seven of them are mentioned (Bauckham, 1993). However, since circular letters were very critical during the first century this greatly helps us to interpret the apocalypse.
Chapter 2: The one who is and who was and who is to come
From chapter one, Bauckham then looks particularly at theology issues which are more specific in Revelation whereby the first issue concerns the theocentricity of the book of Revelation. On this issue he starts by Trinity in Revelation theology discussion. This is clearly seen in the apocalypse’s first chapter of where every person of the Trinity is clearly layed out by John (Bauckham, 1993).
This chapter proceeds by discussing the righteousness and holiness of God in His judgments. This is because the book of Revelation is full of judgments which are bestowed upon mankind on earth that are clearly very harsh (Bauckham, 1993). The author proceeds to reveal to us that the holiness of God usually requires Him to judge the mankind who are unrighteous. Thus, God is Sovereign in His judgments and decisions as well as in charge.
Chapter 3: The lamb on the throne
Chapter three concentrates on issues concerning Christ. The author discusses several critical things that are revealed in the book of Revelation about Christ (Bauckham, 1993). The clear distinctions between descriptions of Christ and descriptions of God are shown. Just like God, Christ is also the “alpha and the omega,”. Therefore, Revelation clearly points out that God and Christ are one and the same whereby what God does, Christ does.
Christ is seen as God, resurrected, and Savior. The imagery surrounding these things is profound and the author takes the time to explain to the reader what such imagery means and what it says about Christ. We see Christ on His throne, ruling and judging the world in all power and might (Bauckham, 1993).
Chapter 4: The victory of the lamb and his followers
In this chapter there is an overwhelming rejoicing seen in heaven because God has already judged all that contributed to the persecution of saints. Jesus tramples over his enemies, that is, the beast, false prophets together with their followers and armies who are the cast into the eternal fire (Bauckham, 1993). However, this chapter shows Satan as already bound in order to make sure that he no longer continues to deceive nations. The Satan will then be bound for the time which the Lord will be reigning.
Moreover, Christ accepts worship throughout the book of Revelation. This is clearly seen in the apocalypse where John himself bows down and worship angels as well as other mighty beings, whereby they refuse to accept such an act. On the other hand, Jesus accepts worship and also expects it (Bauckham, 1993). We also see saints who were martyred praying to Christ for vengeance. Thus, Bauckham further continues to argue for unity of the Trinity, and the Christ divinity.
Chapter 5: The spirit of prophecy
The theme of the spirit of prophecy is elaborated by the author when he looks at the role of the Spirit in Revelation. However, in doing so, the author actually deals with the challenges this issue brings up, such as the reference to the “seven spirits,” which has been done throughout this book (Bauckham, 1993). Hence Bauckham shows the reader the vital role which the Holy Spirit is entitled to throughout the Revelation including His role within the churches, His prophetic role, and so on.
Chapter 6: The New Jerusalem
This chapter particularly concentrates at several cities throughout the book of Revelation. To start with, he looks at the New Jerusalem and elaborates on its meaning. By doing so, he separates his meaning into Jerusalem as a place and also as a divine presence (Bauckham, 1993). Meanwhile, the author elaborates at the references to Babylon as well as an explanation on how to interpret it.
The victory will belong to the Almighty Lord when new heaven as well as new earth will be seen; this chapter symbolizes the new order which will become in existence at the end. The God’s saints will then join the Lord in heaven because everything on earth will come to pass. This chapter reiterates that there will be no grief, crying, pain and death because all these will have already passed away (Bauckham, 1993). The New Jerusalem is then seen as the kingdom of God in its perfected and final state.
Chapter 7: Revelation for today
Finally, Bauckham reveals to the readers on the importance of Revelation on Christians today and why studying it is so important. Thus he ends up looking at ways in which Revelation is relevant for us today (Bauckham, 1993). They are appropriate, helpful, and insightful end to his book.
This is appropriate because any person who reads Revelation and this book is left worn out because of the imagery and passages which are hard to interpret, and so on. Help is also needed in the task of reading and interpreting such a book as the Revelation.
The points discussed in this book are important and needs to be reflected upon every time the book of Revelation is read and studied. It is a remainder of why Revelation is so important for believers to take their own time to read, understand, as well as interpreting the imagery correctly. The author also leaves the reader with encouragement and comfort that the work of interpreting the book of Revelation is well worth and significant (Bauckham, 1993).
This book is thus very important to all groups of people both young and mature because it emphasizes on the need to be always vigilant about the word of God. It also helps believers to reiterate on the revelation of the things which awaits them when Jesus returns for the second time whereby He will not be coming to save but to judge hence there is need for each one to be prepared because no one knows the time or the day (Bauckham, 19
Bauckham, R. 1993. The Theology of the Book of Revelation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.