Reflections and Questions on Revelation

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Since I have a flaw in me that makes me like to finish things, especially tasks on a list, I have been working on finishing up some things from last semester, including some Bible study questions from Revelation.

What made me write this post was a question from one of the “Application” sections:

In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was carried by the people of God into their greatest battles. What are the ways we can carry Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant, with us in the spiritual battles we face today? — Jeff Cavins and Thomas Smith, 34.

Early last week, I had this freaky dream. The dream itself wasn’t particularly scary yet rather intense and bewildering, but believe me when I say that I woke up immediately and could not shake this sense of fear and even a sense of the presence of something evil. So I spoke to my bedroom saying something like, “If there’s anything in here which is not of God, leave now! Because He is more powerful than you and will not let anything bad happen to me!” I felt a little better, but was still uneasy. I started praying a string of Hail Marys, over and over. I peeked into every room in my house, just to make sure things “looked normal.” This is not normal behavior for me.

By the time I came home from work, things were fine. Later in the week, I had a meeting with my spiritual director. She asked if I had had my house blessed (not yet), and suggested that I do so, and also that I speak with one of my pastors because he believes that dreams mean something. I got to talk with him yesterday, and he said that while he didn’t want to place too much emphasis on this, evil was real. Then, he prayed a blessing over me.

Reading the question, I realized that I had been doing that: bringing the new Ark into my spiritual battle. Sadly, I do not yet have the devotion to our Blessed Mother that I would like, but I know that when I am frightened or very sick, I still turn and run to my Mother for comfort. She’s a good one to run to. 🙂


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. — Rev. 21:1

I don’t think this means that there will not be a beach or an ocean in Heaven. At least I hope not, since I love to swim! 🙂 I think this was more meant as an idiom, since the sea represented the feared unknown, “Here there be monsters,” and all that. So, with the coming of the new heaven and new earth, there will no longer be any fear or anything which is not known.


Throughout Revelation we have seen many temple furnishings (like the ark and the altar) and the heavenly Temple itself. In God’s new heaven, a temple cannot be found (21:22). What new reality has replaced the image and symbol of a temple? — Jeff Cavins and Thomas Smith, 49.

The Lord Jesus and God the Father are our new temple. We will worship in them and upon their foundation, within their light and place ourselves upon their altar, as a complete gift of ourselves to them.


Here’s another question that I have: the juxtaposition of

they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; — Rev 9:4

with

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts. — Rev 9:20-21.

v. 4 seems to be saying that those who are not marked as belonging to God would be the ones who would experience the plagues. However, v. 20-21 make it seem like the ones who SURVIVED the plagues were those who did NOT follow God. Now, I am confused.


Update, based on the comment below:
Rev 9:4 vs. Rev 9:20-21

TFI #9

9.  Three incomplete definitions of theology, and Nichols definition

A)  Glorified Spirituality:  How can you have a science about something “mysterious”?  Can’t you only speak about your response?

Nichols:  Faith seeks understanding, and that which we seek to understand is Truth Himself.  It is a way of knowing, not just a way of feeling. 

We can know what God has revealed of Himself and study this.  Faith has to feed study to be a theologian, otherwise you are merely someone engaged in religious studies.

B)  Just Papal and Episcopal Interpretation:  Theology merely attempts to explain and defend what Popes and the Bishops have proclaimed about faith

Nichols:  This is one aspect of the theological disciplines.  However, theology is more than this.  The theologian listens to the whole of Divine Revelation, and asks questions that arise for his exploration.  The Pope and Bishops don’t think of all the questions, they safeguard the answers.  The Magisterium sets the boundaries of theological exploration.  Any theology that cuts itself off from the Holy Spirit working through the Apostles is not a proper theology.

The point is not just papal and church documents, but the field of study is all of Revelation.

C)  Just a Bunch of Facts:  Good theology just stores up a big collection of facts, dates and “technical” ideas about God and the Church…like an encyclopedia.  Sometimes referred to as “positive theology.”

Nichols:  The ultimate goal of theology is to connect the dots, to provide a positive, cohesive vision of who God is and what He is saying.  This is referred to as “systematic theology.”  However, we cannot do systematic theology without positive theology.  If we don’t have some of the dots in the right spot, we won’t get the right image when we go to connect them.

The goal is to be able to put it all together, so that it makes sense, so as to grow in intimacy with God.

Listening, followed by explaining:  the 2 movements in the theological enterprise

Okay, so what is theology?

Nichols:  The task of theology is the disciplined exploration of what is contained in revelation.  Theology serves revelation; it “unpacks” revelation; and it follows a method and structure in order to hear God’s Word as clearly as possible.

The goal of theology is union with God — the faith which seeks understanding.