Rohr presents an accessible, chapter-by-chapter explication of the fascinating symbols that fill the Bible’s most challenging book.
D.H. Lawrence famously said, “When we read Revelation, we feel at once there are meanings behind meanings.” Suffice it to say, this difficult book admits to many possible readings. According to Rohr, it’s a shame recent readers often think Revelation has just one: The end of the world is coming, and Revelation tells how it’s going to happen. Rohr calls this the “millennial” interpretation, and while it has many supporters, he thinks it causes only “eschatological confusion.” To help alleviate this confusion—and restore the book’s true message of Christian comfort—Rohr offers a new take that characterizes it first and foremost as a complex grouping of symbols. He gets his cue from the Greek word semaino, which appears in the first verse; roughly, semaino means “to give a sign,” and Rohr argues that “Revelation is an unveiling of Jesus Christ by means of symbols.” His book, then, is a refreshingly open-minded effort to figure out what that “unveiling” means. And from the heft of his tome, readers will recognize that this is no small task. To do so, Rohr mainly relies on the original text itself, as much of his project is devoted to careful readings of passages from Revelation. However, the author also relies on the rest of the Bible, and he’s eager to fall back on other scriptural texts to explain particularly difficult images. Rohr describes himself as a sort of enthusiastic amateur scholar, but his lack of formal training is a strength; his tone is unpretentious and his style simple and straightforward. Throughout, it’s clear that he wants to make Revelation easier, not harder. However, Rohr also has a solid understanding of basic biblical Greek, and this knowledge not only deepens his insights, but also lends him additional credibility.
A discerning new take on Revelation that opens up the confounding text.