Neufeld thoughts on the Revelation

Henry Neufeld taught recently on the book of Revelation and shared some of his reflections about that experience:

  1. I’m more convinced than ever that we need to read Revelation more for theology and spiritual growth and less for trying to lay out timelines for the end of the world. I find good theology and good principles in many of these passages even if we continue to disagree on the specific referents.

  2. I have a great deal of sympathy for the preterist position, even though that is not precisely what I believe. Symbols generally do find credible referents in the immediate time and place. The problem with the preterist position, in my view, is that it is easy to leave all the book’s other lessons in the past as well. Revelation spoke to its own time, but it also speaks to the future.

  3. Revelation is possibly the most violent book in the New Testament. But it’s not about the violence. It’s about God’s faithfulness.

  4. Revelation is an unfolding of the gospel. It begins with Jesus with his church/people, and it ends with Jesus with his people. The rest assures God’s people that God is paying attention and is with them even when he doesn’t appear to be.

  5. In teaching Revelation we need to emphasize the persecuted church more. When you get to the fifth seal, for example, and the souls under the altar are asking “How long oh Lord?” it helps if we understand what persecution was and is like. I have always discussed persecution as an historical phenomenon. This time I spent more time discussing the present and what some of these passage might mean viewed from the perspective of people suffering persecution right now. Like Hebrews, Revelation speaks to people suffering or soon-to-suffer great hardship. We American Christians, in our ease, are likely to have a hard time hearing the message.

  6. The most important thing a Bible teacher can so, I believe, is teach people how to study for themselves. It’s not about getting across all of my beliefs or particular interpretations. What people need is to find a way to experience God for themselves—to hear God’s voice—through the pages of scripture.

I think these are some good thoughts!  I have never taught on the book of Revelation before, but I really like Henry’s reflections here.  Additionally, I agree with David Alan Black that Henry’s last point is his most important point.  🙂

Jesus the Lamb of God

This is a sermon I preached recently that I wanted to share (it didn’t go exactly the way it is written, but more or less)(yeah, it went faster than it feels):

Central proposition: As the Lamb of God, Jesus brought to fulfillment the long awaited prophecies about the Messiah who would bring deliverance and set up God’s kingdom in the world.

Let’s read together John 1:29-34.

This morning I want to focus on mainly verse 29 where John the Baptist declares to his disciples and those passing by: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Sometimes, when we read the Bible, if we come across a verse that stands out to us or seems to be saying something important, it is often a good idea to take some time and reflect deeper on what is being said. It can be good from time to time to camp out on a verse and take some time to think it though and understand its implications. The second half of John 1:29 is one of those verses. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Perhaps you have heard or read this verse before, probably you’ve read it lots of times and even heard the song with the words, ‘Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.’ Even though we may have heard this verse before I want to take some time and reflect on what this statement means and what it means for our lives, why it is important. It is important we understand the greatness of John’s declaration about Jesus.  It is an amazing statement, if not a bold one.

I wonder what kind of an effect it had on those who first heard them? John the Baptist declared to those who would listen that this Jesus from Nazareth, a local and a mere carpenter, was someone of worldwide and infinite significance.

Things were tense in first century Israel and the people were at a near frenzy with anticipation of a coming messiah deliverer who would set them free from a long and tough Roman oppression. They had just come out of the troubled Hasmonean Dynasty and were still picking up the pieces following the Maccabean Revolt not too many years prior. The people of Israel just wanted to be left alone to live their lives and worship their God and be Jewish.

Tensions were mounting. Various rebel leaders and self proclaimed messiah deliverers had come and gone such as Judas the Galilean mentioned in Acts 5:37 who lead a revolt among the people and yet was killed. Israel was tired of Roman oppression and was crying out to God for deliverance. Sound familiar?

Then along comes John the Baptist, an obscure unknown prophet-like man in weird clothes who ate locusts. He showed up declaring in effect, that all the prophecies and revelations of the Old Testament that looked forward to a Savior and a deliverer had finally been fulfilled in another relatively obscure fellow Jesus of Nazareth — whom John prophesied was “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

I can imagine this was somewhat shocking to the people of Israel and can explain why the Jewish leadership sent some emissaries out to interrogate John about his claims.  He probably was not helping calm the expectations of the people but only served to build on the anticipation.

God heard their cry and knew their situation. It is true the people of Israel needed deliverance and that God would bring it. However, the deliverance God was bringing to his people was a different kind of deliverance than what they were expecting or hoping for. What did John the Baptist mean by calling Jesus the LAMB of God? Was he talking about his gentle, meek disposition? Was he referring to the fact that he was innocent and pure?  Perhaps.

More likely, however, while Jesus does have his moments as a meek and gentle man, John’s reason for calling him the Lamb of God goes much deeper than a mere description of his personal disposition. In this strong declarative statement about Jesus by John the Baptist we are going to see that John, the author of the Fourth Gospel, was certain portions of the Old Testament in the light of Jesus’ work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

As the Lamb of God Jesus fulfilled the role of the suffering servant who was led like a lamb to the slaughter as a sin-offering (Isaiah 53:7, 10).

As the Lamb of God Jesus bore our sins on the cross. There are different things that come to mind when one hears the phrase “lamb of God.”

One of the first is the reference to the lamb in Isaiah 53. This is often a debated point between Jews and Christians. The Jews and even those who spend a lot of time studying the Old Testament argue that within Judaism the prophecy in Isaiah 53 was not interpreted messianically.

So, some are quick to not want this passage to necessarily refer to Jesus’ work on the cross but I think it is impossible not to and rather appropriate to do so. When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead everything about how the Hebrew Scriptures were understood was radically changed. Before some things were unclear in their meaning and hard to understand, but now they are made clear and known to all – that much of the Hebrew Scriptures were fulfilled in the person Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Much of the Old Testament is now understood through this revelation.

(example/illustration) I once heard a story about some Jewish parents being upset a teacher was teaching about Christianity in one of their children’s classes. I can’t remember the context and do not know if this is real or not but to defend herself the teacher read from the passage she read in class. The parents immediately got upset and maintained their accusation against the teacher. Well, it turned out she was reading from Isaiah 53. The parents were in shock and they were silenced. It is hard to dispute that Isaiah prophecy is speaking of anyone other than Jesus Christ and his work on the cross.

Lets look at the passage briefly.  Let’s read Isaiah 53:4-7.

This part of the prophecy really begins at 52:13 and carries over. It comes in a series of prophecies about a person scholars call the Servant of the Lord that begins at Isaiah 42. This person was to come and bring salvation to Israel and the nations by overthrowing oppression and injustice and destroying evil. In the process he would free Israel from their oppressors and restore the glory of God to the nation of Israel so that the nations would not want to destroy them but come rather to the mountain of the Lord in Jerusalem and worship God or YHWH, the God of Israel. One thing was overlooked however, this section of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Servant of the Lord, who is the Messiah.

Somehow it had been overlooked that Israel needed a spiritual deliverance as well as a physical one. This prophecy seems to be so misunderstood that even today, some 2000 years later, many Jews are still angry at Jesus and feel that he abandoned them and Judaism. In fact, many are so upset at him they can hardly say his name. I think the Jews of the day knew Jesus was the Messiah but they were too full of their own pride and heritage to see the depths of their own sin and need for forgiveness and deliverance. So when he died on the cross their hopes of physical deliverance were shattered.

The Bible makes it plain. All people have sinned and in that sin are separated from God. We need salvation and deliverance from our sins and failures to live up to God’s expectations and purposes for our lives. When John called Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world he is telling us that Jesus was and is the means of our forgiveness and reconciliation with God. In the person of Jesus Christ we see this prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled and brought to fruition.

Though Jesus came to bring deliverance to the people of Israel and the nations esteemed him not and we despised him – yet willingly and intently he bore our sins for us. He carried the weight of them upon his body and took the to the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us “God made him who had no sin to be sin offering for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. Imagine how hard this must have been – one who knew no sin bore the sins of the world on his body. What a burden to carry. But he carried them nonetheless and he will help us carry ours if we let him.

In preparing this sermon I found one person who wrote:

“Our sin was laid on Him as a heavy burden. The heaviest thing in the universe is sin. Neither angels nor men can stand under the load of sin—it sinks them lower than the lowest hell. When sin was laid upon the Son of God, He bore it, but He sweat as it were great drops of blood, and He was exceeding sorrowful even unto death. To have born up the WEIGHT of the world would have been nothing compared with bearing THE SIN of the world.”

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He not only bore our sins but he also took them away! 1 John 1:7 says the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. He took them away and washed us clean and made us new.

As the Lamb of God Jesus fulfilled the role of the suffering servant who was led like a lamb to the slaughter as a sin-offering.

As the Lamb of God Jesus fulfilled the role of the paschal or suffering lamb, whose blood saved Israel from the Egyptians (Exodus 12). Restate it: As the Lamb of God Jesus saved us from our sins that plague our lives.

Like the plagues that nearly destroyed Egypt and Israel altogether – the blood of the lamb saved us from our sins. This is another understanding of John’s statement about Jesus. It brings up images of the exodus from Egypt and the institution of Passover. Because Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go he brought on Egypt many devastating and painful plagues the nearly destroyed Egypt altogether. Even so, Pharaoh would not relent. So God said he would kill every firstborn son in Egypt from Pharaoh on down to the lowest servant. But God knew that Israel would need a covering to protect them from what was about to happen. Lets read briefly Exodus 12:5-13.

The blood of the Passover lamb protected the people of Israel from the plague that took all Egypt’s firstborn sons. In Jesus coming as the lamb of God he fulfills the role of the Passover Lamb in that his blood saves us from the effects of our sins before God and allows us to experience his mercy and forgiveness.

Here I want to note the Exodus nature of Jesus’ deliverance on the cross.

Whereas the first Exodus led Israel out of Egypt, the house of slavery, the house of bondage, the second exodus is a spiritual deliverance from the slavery and bondage to sin leading God’s people in to a new kind of freedom, a life of freedom from the power and effects of sin and its hold on the human heart. By Jesus coming into the world as the Lamb of God he finished what Moses was ultimately unable to do: lead Israel into true and lasting freedom. The completion of this second Exodus (or as some call it, a new Exodus) took place when Jesus gave his life on the cross and then three days later rose from the dead. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, delivered us from a different and more powerful kind of bondage – bondage to sin and its enslaving power over hearts and lives.

It is the shed blood of Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead that sets us free from sin and its control over hearts and lives. With this second exodus Jesus brought a different and altogether more important form of deliverance than what Israel had been expecting. He brought spiritual deliverance that as it said in Isaiah 53:5 brings us peace, peace in our hearts and if we apply it properly peace in our relationships with others.  This is the effect of the cross – it brings us peace vertically and horizontally, it brings peace with God and with others.

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! As the Lamb of God Jesus fulfilled the role of the suffering servant who was led like a lamb to the slaughter as a sin-offering (Isaiah 53:7, 10).

As the Lamb of God Jesus took away our sins on the cross and has delivered us from the power and hold of sin and death.

In so doing he also will fulfill the role of the victorious apocalyptic Lamb who in the end, will destroy evil in the world and firmly establish the Kingdom of God.

As the Lamb of God Jesus will fulfill the role of the victorious apocalyptic lamb who will destroy evil in the world (Rev 5-7; 17:14).

Through the cross and resurrection Jesus overcame the powers of sin and death in the world and set in process his efforts to overthrow evil and injustice.

In Revelation 5 we Jesus portrayed as the Lion of Judah who has conquered, then as a Lamb with seven horns who has won the right to open the scroll, and call forth the redeemed and bring them into the Kingdom. Here we see the Lamb who leads the flock of God, who delivers them from their foes and rules them in the Kingdom of God. These portrayals of Christ as Lion and as Lamb are not paradoxical but parallel, since seven horns signify immense strength – the Lamb is a powerful Ram!

But he is presented as a Lamb because he “stands as one that has been slain.” He stands for he is the Living one who died and is alive forever (Rev 1:18); and he was slain in sacrifice, specifically as God’s Passover Lamb, to bring about the new Exodus for the liberty and life of the kingdom of God.

He is the slain yet victorious Lamb whose blood ‘ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people’ (Rev. 5:6,9). What we are seeing here an apocalyptic representation of the Christ adapted to the Christian doctrine of redemption; the all-powerful Christ wins salvation for the world through his sacrificial death.

It is the exact opposite of what Israel expected of the Messiah. Whereas they expected a kingly ruler to come and overthrow Roman oppression through victorious battle – Jesus waged a different kind of battle through giving his life on the cross. This was the true victory that he accomplished for us. Through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead Jesus has delivered us from that which plagues us and will also protect us from the coming end-time plagues God will use to finally destroy the wicked and establish his kingdom rule. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God brought us spiritual deliverance through submission to death as the Passover Lamb and his resurrection from the dead and ascension to the Father in Heaven.

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! As the Lamb of God Jesus will fulfill the role of the victorious apocalyptic lamb who will destroy evil in the world (Rev 5-7; 17:14). He will protect us from the end-time judgment of the world and lead us into his eternal kingdom.

Will we follow? John the Baptist made this declaration about Jesus and then his disciples followed after Jesus.

Will we? Will we come after him and be his disciples following him as the Lamb of God, following him into a different way of living than what many often expect? Many want a victorious life free from any difficulty – but Jesus doesn’t lead us down that road. He calls us to a different way of living. He calls us a life centered on the cross and resurrection. Will we follow?


on Interpreting the Book Revelation

Craig Keener writes in his NIVAC commentary on the book of Revelation concerning its interpretation:

Another matter of interpretation is that some want to take everything in Revelation literally.  Whether one should attempt this approach depends in a sense on what one means by the term literally.   When Reformers like Luther talked about interpreting the Bible “literally,” they were using a technical designation (sensus literalis) that meant taking each part part of Scripture according to its “literary sense,” hence including attention to genre or literary type.  But they did not mean that we should down play figures of speech or symbols.  We should take literally historical narrative in the Bible, but Revelation belongs to a different genre, a mixture of prophetic and “apocalyptic” genres, both of which are full of symbols.  The Reformers did not demand that we interpret symbols as if they were not symbols, and this kind of literalism is actually at odds with what they meant (22).

Thanks to guys like John Anderson I am in the beginnings of beginning to understand more what is meant by viewing the Text of Scripture in a literary sense (genres and such) though I have more learning to do with regard to symbols and how to understand them and their role in understanding and interpreting certain parts of the Bible, like the book of Revelation.  I understand  not everything is to be taken or understood literally but instead, (where appropriate) literarially (sp?) and how that applies to understanding such as text as the book of Revelation.  I also assume as I get more into Keener’s commentary that he’ll explain these things and it’ll start to make better sense.


on the book of Revelation

A friend asked what my take was on the book of Revelation. Here is what I wrote (though it is not set in stone and I am still in process of how I see and understand the book):

On Revelation, I tend to take a historic premil position (Olivet discourse mostly fulfilled by AD 70 when the Temple was destroyed) following such scholars as George Eldon Ladd, Craig Blomberg, and some of my professors at AGTS) – double fulfillment is a better direction to go in from the LB books, they are not just off, they are way off!  lol!   Revelation is a highly figurative, symbolic apocalyptic piece of literature that can’t always be taken at face value.  Reading the OT a lot will help us too since is it a mosaic of many OT and some NT passages – though I think the storyline follows Exodus.  It is a sort of second (though final) exodus.

Here is a review I did of a book called 50 ways to leave Left Behind.  I think that is one among others this is a good approach.  Sorry to keep pointing you to my blog but that is often where express my opinions or thoughts about stuff.

Then I had to write back and follow that up:

I need to follow up my last email to say that whatever the message is to the 1st cent church in the Revelation – it is the same message for us (though perhaps some slight alterations to how it might be applied) – I see the LB books as presenting an escapist view (hoping we don’t left behind) when I think the message of Revelation is one not of deliverance from tribulation but through it (though we my be removed before the fullest of God’s wrath is poured out since we as believers are not appointed unto wrath.  Reading through the letter we see it repeated several times and John gets at it in 1:9 “..your companion in the suffering and the Kingdom, and the patient endurance that is ours in Jesus.”  Throughout we see references to suffering of the saints and calls for patient endurance of the saints – whew, that’s a lot different than how the LB books present it and not a message we want to hear.  But in that is hope because we do know our deliverer is coming and redemption will come through the overcoming of evil and the triumph of the Lamb.  Here I want to not that the Petrine phrase “our blessed hope” is probably not the rapture but the visible return of Jesus seeing him coming on the clouds as we see in Rev 19 and so on.

Hope that helps some more.

Whatever the LB books say and whatever Hal Linsey says, there are no Apache helicopters in the book of Revelation!  🙂

Jesus the “Prize-fighter”?

I know some who read my blog don’t care for pastor-scholar Greg Boyd (who I don’t always agree with though I’d like to meet some time) – but he has a recent post confronting Mark Driscoll’s view of Jesus as a violent (and I imagine UFC type) “prize fighter.”  Boyd notes Discoll’s comments were from “a few years ago” so I don’t know if Driscoll has changed his perspective (probably not?) but he is quoted as having stated the following:

“In Revelation, Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” (You can find the original interview here). 

Well, now.  So Jesus is the lead fighter for the UFC franchise?  🙂  Along with Boyd, I am not surprised Driscoll has this perception of our Lord Jesus Christ – Driscoll wants to be a man’s man an seems to consistently present the need for men to be tough guys wild at heart who go out to conquer life (and a spouse) and get good jobs and have lots of kids, and consistently puts down other images of how Jesus might be portrayed and puts down men who do not or may not be able to live up to his standards of manhood. 

Frankly, this perception of Jesus by Driscoll it is a blantant text book case of imposing, if not transposing, one’s own personal  theology and cultural ideology on to the biblical text.  I cannot say that Boyd is not doing the same with is own pacafism but I find what Boyd is presenting significantly closer to the biblical presentation of Jesus than what Driscoll puts forth.  This isn’t to say that Driscoll isn’t a good pastor or Bible teacher or anything like that.  I just happen to think how he presents it is going the wrong direction. 

Pastor Boyd writes:

I frankly have trouble understanding how a follower of Jesus could find himself unable to worship a guy he could “beat up” when he already crucified him. I also fail to see what is so worshipful about someone carrying a sword with “a commitment make someone bleed.”  But this aside, I’m not at all surprised Driscoll believes the book of Revelation portrays Jesus as a “prize fighter.”  This violent picture of Jesus, rooted in a literalistic interpretation of Revelation, is very common among conservative Christians, made especially popular by the remarkably violent Left Behind series…..

The most unfortunate aspect of this misreading, as Driscoll’s comment graphically reveals, is that the “prize fighter” portrait of Jesus easily subverts the Jesus of the Gospels who out of love chooses to die for enemies rather than use his power against them and who commands his followers to do the same (see e.g. Mt 5:43-45; Lk 6:27-36)…..

The more significant point Boyd makes that I wanted to highlight here is this one (the bold is my emphasis of the important point being made:

At any rate, if we interpret Revelation according to its genre and in its original historical context, and if we pay close attention to the ingenious way John uses traditional symbolism, it becomes clear that John is taking traditional Old Testament and Apocalyptic violent imagery and turning it on its head.  Yes, there is an aggressive war, and yes there is bloodshed. But its a war in which the Lamb and his followers are victorious because they fight the devil and Babylon (representing all  governmental systems) by faithfully laying down their lives for the sake of truth (”the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony”), not by being “prize fighters” with “a commitment to make someone bleed.”

That’s the whole thing about following Jesus isn’t it?   He takes so many things in our world and in our lives and turns them up side down – up is down, down is up, leading is serving; instead of hating show love; instead of holding grudges, forgive; instead of agression, submit and so on.  A life of discipleship to Jesus is downward path not an upward one – it is a life of serving others and sacrificial living not asserting the self and so on. 

Well, the post is a good read and has a good list of books on the Revelation to add to your Amazon wish list for future reference!

HT: Dave Black

Book Review: Leaving Left Behind

Thanks to pastor and author Roger Snow, who emailed me about his book Fifty Ways to Leave Left Behind subtitled: Seeing Exodus as the Pattern for Understanding Revelation (Tate Publishing, 2007), which he then kindly sent to me for review.  The review has been a long time in coming and I apologize to him for that.  He also has a CD of songs he wrote that were inspired by this study, which I admit I have not listened to extensively.

In Fifty Ways, Pastor Roger Snow seeks to free Christians from doom and gloom perspectives on the Book of Revelation – particularly those often fostered by the Left Behind books.   In the forward to the book, friend Ronny Ross writes, “While others profit with stories of our Lord’s Church needing to be rescued from disaster, Fifty Ways shouts, “Look up!  Christ wins!”  (13).

One of my professors in seminary talked about how it always seemed that when it came to the book of Revelation normal hermenutical standards usually went out the door.  He wasn’t sure why this was the case but it just seemed that with Revelation people just have trouble keeping things on track.   Probably part of the problem is all the different symbolism and figurative language used that makes it hard to discern what they mean – it just so enigmatic in so many different ways.  Well, just as with other genres of Scripture we know there are certain hermenutical keys to understanding each different type of genre, there are certain hernemutical keys needed to unlock our understanding of the book of Revelation.  For example, there is what I like to call the Joseph hermeneutic.   Just as Joseph understod Pharoah’s two dreams to be one and the same, so too should John’s visions be seen as one and the same (from different perspectives).  God is showing John what is about to happen and the matter has been firmly decided, etc.

Roger Snow’s book, Fifty Ways, provides us with one essential hermenutical key that will help us understand the basic flow of the book of Revelation and that is the storyline.  In this book Snow argues that the storylines of both the book of Exodus and the book of Revelation are one and the same.  “Exodus is the type, Revelation the fulfillment.  Moses is the type, Jesus is the greater Moses.  Moses lead the people out of Egypt, but Jesus has already led a greater exodus than Moses ever dreamed of”  (22).  This is a good key (perhaps I could call it the Exodus hermenutic?).   This is a real eye opener because once one begins to see the parallels it really opens up what is going on in the Revelation.  And once one realizes what the situation really is, one is faced with the choice to either go with how it really is or to ignore that and go on with a Left Behind bunker/doom and gloom kind of mentality about the end times.

While perhaps John integrates many aspects of the Old and New Testaments into his work – the basic story line mirrors that of the book of Exodus.  Snow takes a chapter to set up his case and help us get the big picture (21-38).  Then he offers 50 parallels between the two books (that’s right 50!) and goes through and comments on each of the 50 parallels between the storyline of Exodus and compares it to the storyline of Revelation (39-148).

What is the basis of this thesis? We all want to know the point and purpose of the book of Revelation.  It has for centuries remained an enigma, no?  Roger Snow’s book is one person’s effort to help bring clarity and understanding to the purpose and intent of Revelation – through the mirror image produced by the book of Exodus.  In comparing the two books, we can see the intent and purpose – redemption.

What is the basic storyline? Oppression – War – Victory – Matrimony.   The beginning of both books note the oppression of God’ people, the plagues and the seals are the war against the people of God’s enemies; Victory is seen in the Exodus and crossing of the red (reed?) sea and the casting of Satan and the Beast into the Lake of Fire.  Matrimony comes when God dwells with is people in the Tabernacle in the Shekinah glory and so on.

I do not want to give too much more information than that  but the parallels are striking and indeed compelling. I’ll say that I am convinced.  I left the Left Behind kind of thinking long ago but reading the book sure did help me see the gist of the point of The book of Revelation, which is really Snow’s goal, to help regular people see the basic gist of the storyline and end goal of the Revelation, even if we do not understand all the symbols or their meaning – but knowing the basic thrust really helps to relieve one of the Left Behind doom and gloom mentality that often gets associated with understanding Revelation, that is , if one is willing to face the evidence and go with it.

I support the thesis of this book and think it is a great asset to works on Revelation.  If anything, one person who endorses the book notes it is along the work of Greg Beale but on a more popular level – If that is the case I think that is all the better since not all are able to get into Beale’s massive work on the Revelation.