of God, and those who refuse God/the Christ as their sovereign experience is ‘blowback’ – theunimagined and unexpected consequences of their own actions; actions the dominant ruling-class of the day rationalized as
Oderint dum metuant
(“Let them hate us so long as they fearus” – a slogan of Roman leaders from Cato to Caesar).
Essentially, John’s world-pictures ofthe End calls for a re-examination of the prevailing ethical system of the Empire
that ‘pledgesallegiance to the ﬂag and all it stands for’ and moves towards a “healing of the world, known inHebraic theology as
For, to John, that is what the purpose of the End is – to healthe world – God’s created order.
Secondly, which brings us to the real purpose of John’sprophecy that is to make known, “what kind of God is God?” exactly as many of the narrative
Lyle A. Brecht 27-Nov-07
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UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying “when the government fears the people, there is liberty; whenthe people fear the government, there is tyranny.” See Chalmers Johnson,
The Sorrows of Empire:Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
(New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Co.,2004), 285, 298. This was picked up recently in the movie,
V for Vendetta
, a modern retelling of the Apocalypse and the end-time brought on by blowback and misplaced sovereignty.
For twenty-ﬁrst century North Americans, the equivalency of ‘Empire’ as envisioned by John in hisRevelation is not necessarily a politically-deﬁned place as much as a politically-determined, dominantworld-view that imagines a world where: (1) the individual is autonomous and is self-authorized topursue individual well-being, security, and happiness entirely as he/she so chooses; (2) where one of theprimary ways of pursing well-being, security, and happiness is by consuming resources without restraintor limit, subject to individual wealth,even at the expense of others in one’s community, and (3) a worldwhere it takes force, coercion, and/or violence to enjoy and protect the community of individualsexercising their freely chosen well-being, security, and happiness, and such force can rightfully beexerted without consideration as to the consequences to other communities. See Walter Brueggemann,
Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 718.
Tell It On the Mountain: The Daughter of Jephthah in Judges II
, Interfaces (BarbaraGrundy, ed.; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2005), 53.
John’s vision and prophecy are ultimately ethical in nature, much like many biblical stories where the“emphasis is not the development of moral qualities by following the example of biblical characters, butrather the growth of ethical perception which is produced as a result of entering into” the narrative worldthe biblical author has created for the listener to imagine him/herself inhabiting. See Athena E. Garospe,
Narrative and Identity: An Ethical Reading of Exodus 4
(Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2007), 5.