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Interpreting the Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century African Pentecostal Churches

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DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1102842    812 Downloads   2,087 Views

ABSTRACT

Revelation is unique as it combines three distinctive literary types: apocalypse, revelation and a letter. The apocalyptic writings are viewed as revealing heavenly secrets focusing on God’s judgment of the wicked and his deliverance of the righteous. The book as a prophecy is a revelation from God that invites a response of trust and obedience though presented in the form of a letter from John to those Churches in the province of Asia. The book is not just a futurology but also a redemptive, historical and theological psychology for the Church’s thinking throughout the age before Christ’s final coming. John describes the imagery in a cryptic language and symbolism, which are very hard to understand. Eschatology is the primary theology of the book. The interpretation of Revelation has been a source of much controversy. Some held that it had a message only for the 1st century world; others maintain that the book is a prophecy to be fulfilled totally in the future. Undoubtedly, John spoke to the situation of his day that is also relevant for 21st century churches. The letters to the seven churches indicate a situation of crisis, probably brought on by Roman persecutions of the Christians. From this understanding, John painted a vision of God's final triumph over evil that has sustained many Christians in later eras. The 21st century churches in Africa are badly divided by sectarianism and are buried under avalanche of false doctrines that are incorporated in prosperity theology and syncretism. There is no indication through the witness of church members that faith offers any effective defense against sin’s pervasive influence. The church ministers are embroiled in personal empowerment and churches have lost their power. This paper critically examines all these implications along the imagery of the seven churches in Revelation.

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Soboyejo, J. (2016) Interpreting the Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century African Pentecostal Churches. Open Access Library Journal, 3, 1-12. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1102842.

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