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The words ‘theology’ and ‘apocalypse’ can often seem difficult and obscure. Theology may feel impersonal and distant, irrelevant to daily life. Apocalypse, on the other hand, conjures up images of doomsday scenarios, burning buildings and rising smoke. And when we turn to the Book of Revelation for answers, we are baffled by dream-like imagery, evocative symbols, and garish colours and quickly retreat to more familiar territory.
The First and the Last masterfully demystifies these two words – by introducing Revelation as a vision of the triune glory of God who holds everything together. Melvin Tinker places the book in its original context, enabling us to understand its images and connect it with our contemporary experience. Through a series of expositions which tease out the theological and pastoral aspects of the book of Revelation, we catch glimpses of God the Father, who was and is and is to come; God the Son, the Lion who is the Lamb; and God the Sevenfold Spirit.
Through The First and the Last you will discover Revelation anew, not as a doomsday book, but as an opening of windows to a reality more real than we can see; not as a confusing collection of images, but as a map to guide your way to greater delight in the triune God.
I have read two previous books by Melvin Tinker and found them to be both engaging and beneficial. And I’m always curious to check out new works on the book of Revelation. So I was eager to get hold of this new title when I saw it coming. I was not disappointed. Tinker does not offer a commentary on the book of Revelation, nor does he offer a defense of your favorite millennial view (or anyone else’s favorite millennial view, for that matter). What he gives us is a clear presentation of the message of Revelation – a message, as his subtitle tells us, of comfort and encouragement in the Triune God to his faithful people. Tinker makes sure we grasp the significance of the apostle John’s portrayal of God in Revelation chapters 4–5 as the backdrop for the rest of the book. Rich and suggestive – frankly excellent preaching that conveys Revelation’s intended message. If you are afraid of the book of Revelation because of its extensive imagery, read this book first to gain your bearings.
Over the course of listening to sixty years of sermons, I have never heard a preacher fully engage with the Book of Revelation. Preachers avoid it; its apocalyptic language, end of world scenario, its signs and symbols seem not to relate to our contemporary situation and are difficult to engage an audience for meaningful life change. Occasionally a preacher will cite one of the seven churches of Asia, if only to highlight their relevance to contemporary church life with their sinful comparisons. Theologian Melvin Tinker has grabbed this book by the horns bringing to life its mysterious language to us. He demystifies the signs and symbols, unfolding the deep complexity of the book to the modern reader. He reveals God the Father, who was and is and is to come; God the son, the Lion who is the Lamb; and God the sevenfold Spirit. One of the most captivating descriptions of the new heaven and earth in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, is how God’s radiant presence touches everything, everywhere; ‘And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it lights, and its lamp is the Lamb’ (21:23). The person of Christ is the lamp which shines, illuminating everything and everyone. This volume is not for the faint–hearted. If you sincerely desire to read, learn and inwardly digest the last book of the Bible, you might be encouraged by Rev. 1:3; “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near”.
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