Apocalypse and Allegiance

Print“Worship becomes the central means by which God orients individuals and congregations towards God’s future.” This is part of Nelson Kraybill’s conclusion as to the message of Revelation as a call to undivided allegiance to the Lamb. In a very readable book, Kraybill grounds his exposition firmly in the first century world and reveals something of the religious, social, political and economic realities of seeking to be God’s people in God’s world during the Roman Empire.

But he doesn’t leave the book there, he draws relevant conclusions for today’s church  (albeit within a US context) challenging us to consider where our allegiances lie–with the Lamb or the Beast. This choice is clearly demonstrated through the use of pictures of first century coins, temples and other artefacts and the contemporary power of imagery both inside and outside the church is discussed.
While some may find his description of Emperor worship as a ‘model’ for the worship portrayed around the throne of God, to be a little overdone, there is no doubt that his portrayal is a thought-provoking one.
One helpful aspect of the book is the selection of questions for reflection which end each chapter and the use of stories from various times in Christian history to illustrate the main points of each of the chapters.
In Kraybill’s reading of Revelation, the continuing challenge of what it means to truly worship the Lamb is sharply presented. It challenges us to consider how we can not only orient ourselves towards God’s future, but to see how something of the reality of that future can be manifested now.
Kraybill JN, 2010, Apocalypse and Allegiance. Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation, Grand Rapids: Brazos Press. ISBN 9781587432613

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