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Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation Paperback – April 1, 2010
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From the Back Cover
"Nelson Kraybill has written a fresh, vigorous, imaginative, demanding exposition of the book of Revelation. He has seen how deeply political the book is and has done superb homework on the Roman governance with which Revelation struggles. But his shrewd historical analysis keeps spilling over into our contemporary life--the life of a military chaplain in Texas, a health-care practice in Indiana, a prison visitor in Nebraska, peacemakers in Palestine, a poet in Japan, the police confounded in South Africa. This way of contemporaneity helps us engage this 'most dangerous book in the Bible.' Readers will be grateful to Kraybill for his agility that continues to surprise and summon as we read."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Few today would doubt the political perspective of the book of Revelation, but which perspective: that of fatalism, or that of active witness and resistance? Writing from the distinctive perspective of the Anabaptist tradition, Nelson Kraybill creatively juxtaposes ancient and contemporary history to illuminate the way this remarkable vision both troubles the complacent and inspires resistance to conformity in the quest for a better world."--Christopher Rowland, University of Oxford
"Though the study and practice of Christian worship has long been deepened by the canticles of Revelation 4, 5, and 7, the rest of the book is rarely engaged in many communities. This provocative volume confronts this neglect and helps us imagine the importance of worship practices that are prophetic, countercultural, and deeply aware of the cosmic significance of the claim that Jesus is Lord."--John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary
About the Author
J. Nelson Kraybill (PhD, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia) has served as president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and has taught the book of Revelation for more than twenty years on four continents. He is the author of Imperial Cult and Commerce in John's Apocalypse and frequently speaks in ecclesial and academic settings on biblical themes of discipleship, peacemaking, leadership, and mission. Kraybill lives in Elkhart, Indiana.
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This excellent book outlines the situation as the backdrop to the book of the Revelation. I first read this and marked it up in December 2011, then in a new study of the Revelation noted additional insights and decorated the book even further in October 2017
Revelation appears to have been written early in the period of such growing pressure and persecution under Emperor Domitian in the early 90s. Legal and archaeological artifacts illustrates starkly the conditions and political realities of Empire in conflict with the Rule of God proclaimed by the followers of Jesus Christ.
Those who would not deny Christ as only lord and savior, the official designations of the Caesar, lost property, prestige and social position or governmental employment, and in some case of the very lives. Kraybill provides helpful insights on the geography and commercial, religious or political significance of each of the 7 cities addressed in the book of the Revelation.
Recently, I heard J. Nelson Kraybill speak on the book of Revelation, and it was a treat to hear a very different perspective on John's vision of things to come. Rather than trying to figure out the nations or people in our current world who fit the descriptions of John's strange imagery, the focus was on embracing the emphasis on worship of the Lamb and being his faithful followers.
Since then, I've worked my way through "Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation." I've enjoyed its wealth of information on the context in which John experienced his vision. I've found the description of the realities and rituals of emperor worship, as well as the pictures of coins, statues, and ruins of temples to be simply fascinating.
If your understanding of Revelation is best portrayed by the "Left Behind" series, I think you would benefit from Kraybill's interesting book. I don't pretend to know how the future will unfold; I tend to think there will be surprises for all of us. As a young person I was challenged by the thought of the imminent return of Jesus. As an older man, I've been blessed by seeing in Revelation the beauty and triumph of the way of the Lamb.
Kraybill is an unapologetic pacifist, even if you disagree with this view this does not get in the way of the usefulness of the book. Additionally for Christians reading this book, you are confronted with some difficult questions. In what ways is the American Church actually allying itself with a "fallen Babylon system"? What would it look like for a church to truly reflect the economy and character of Christ? In what ways to Christians worship a fallen world system? Are we so acculturated that we cannot even see that we are worshiping a fallen world system?
The implications of such questions are hard to consider, but are ones the American Church should and must consider. I personally thank Dr Kraybill for a wonderful book. I enjoyed this book and was challenge by it.
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to protest wars of aggression are excellent.Read more