The Gospel of the Revelation
according to St. John the Divine
St. John’s MCC • Session 5
Questions to Ponder • Chapter 12
In the biblical witness, why did Israel begin singing new songs (in most cases)? Do you remember some of those songs?
What was the new song back in Chapter 11 about?
Starting with Chapter 11 and most obviously illustrated in Chapter 12, all translations show an extremely different grammatical and lexical change in the Greek text that cannot be ignored. Keep in mind that the Apostles (and later Church Fathers) were conflicted as to what the role of the new “church” should be. Some wanted their church to make sure that Jesus’ message remained pure. Some wanted to position their church to have power over believers’ lives in the same way that the Jewish authorities had done. These next three chapters (or so) reflect that conflict.
Who are the characters in the drama of Chapter 12 (and following)?
- Inhabitants of Heaven (Where is this heaven?)
- Dragon (Devil, Satan, or Serpent)
- The Archangel Michael and his angels
- The Dragon’s angels
- The rest of the Mother’s children
Is this a “cosmic” war? Or is it, perhaps, closer to home?
What side of the controversy does John stand on?
Questions to Ponder • Chapter 13
This is one of the most exciting chapters of Revelation. It is guaranteed to get your blood pressure up!
Who is the first beast? To answer that question, think of who or what else might have been wounded at the crucifixion. If Jesus was successful in rendering the Pharisaic Law powerless to keep God from loving people, would it not also follow that the Law was dealt a mortal blow?
We could also read verse 10 this way: “If you choose to be captive to the Pharisaic Law, then you will be captive. If you choose to harm people using the Pharisaic Law, then you will harm people and you will feel that harm yourself. (You will be separated from them and no longer enjoy that relationship.) Both choices are the same one. You – and only you – make that choice.” How does that change things for you?
So, who is the second beast – the one, in the early church and in the church today, who revered the Pharisaic Law?
The number “7” is the “perfect” number. The number “3” is a “complete” number. Why is “6” the “human power, greed, and self-centeredness” number? Why is “completely self-serving and power greedy” a good identifier for church leaders who want to maintain the power of Pharisaic Law over their congregations?
When you approach someone, is there a way to tell if they are judgmental and filled with fear and hate? If you cannot tell, then why are you hesitant to engage certain people in discussions of God’s love for us and our worthiness to worship God? Are you sure you can’t tell?