What I meant to say…

“What the text says now matters more than what the author meant to say…”
– Paul Ricouer

“Really?” you might ask.

I think most of us have a hard time believing that.  How could anyone make such a statement?

Surely the most important thing is what the author meant to say when he wrote it.  I tweeted this quote recently and someone responded in such a fashion.  The meaning then is more important than the meaning now.  I am inclined to agree.  As a student of the New Testament (and the Hebrew Scriptures), and someone who preaches, I spend a lot of time working hard to understand what a text meant when it was originally written, in other words, ‘what the author meant to say’.

My assumption is that the more I can understand the original intention, the better job I’ll do of being true to that text. So from this perspective, what the text originally meant seems to be the most important thing!  Upon first glance then, Ricouer, a French philosopher of language, appears clearly wrong.

But here arises the challenge of understanding what the original intent actually was. We don’t always get this exactly right, do we?  Someone says something, and we want to know what they intended to mean.  In reality, this isn’t always accomplished even in everyday life, in face-to-face conversation.  We want to be understood, and get incredibly frustrated when we are not:

Didn’t you say…?

“But I meant to say…”

“You misunderstood me!”

“That’s not what I meant at all.”

One of the worst things possible is being misunderstood.

Yet if it can happen to us today, in face-to-face direct speech acts, how much more might the written word— indirect speech—be misunderstood?  And even further, the written word from a different language and culture by an author who is now centuries and even millennia dead.

(Of course this is where, in an act of faith, one might trust that the Holy Spirit will step in and say, “What I meant to say was…”!)  But for the purposes of this post, let’s leave that component to the side for the time being.  (Invoking the Spirit is necessary, but can often be an easy out in place of the hard work I believe God calls us to do in understanding the text).

Since misunderstandings can (and do!) happen, it seems that our best recourse is to disagree with Ricouer, and assume the original meaning as intended by the author is the most important.  After all, why would we spend all the time we do trying to understand this meaning if it were not the case?  In fact, it seems such an open and shut case, that perhaps we should be done with it.

But… yet…  perhaps…

Importance of the Now

Back to the original provocative statement:
“What the text says now matters more than what the author meant to say…”

We noted earlier that it seems almost intuitively obvious that this statement is wrong.

Yet I wonder… perhaps there is something to this after all.

I wonder, if our interpretation, our attempts at recovering what the author meant to say and thus declaring what in fact the text said and says, is, in fact, more important.  Think of it this way:  When a preacher preaches on any given text, and supplies it with meaning —that is the meaning the listeners take away.  When a person reads a verse with their morning coffee and senses, “What I just read means [this] to me”—that is the meaning this person is taking away.  In this sense, I think Ricouer is right.  What the text says now is more important than what the author meant to say.  In fact, this has to be the case.  Think about it.  What the text says now is all we have.  The author is dead.  The Apostle Paul cannot rise up when we read a selection from 1 Corinthians and say, “But what I meant to say was…!”  (Though we surely wish he would!)  What we have is our understanding of the text now.  What we have is what the preacher interprets the text to mean.  What we have is what we ourselves take a text to mean anytime we read the Bible.  That is what we have.  That is the meaning of the text here and now—and it is that meaning, not the original meaning, that goes on to have impact and live into the world.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying that what the author meant to say is irrelevant or unimportant.  Hardly!  It is crucial.  And we must work hard to attempt to recover that meaning in any reading and work of interpreting.  But the facts are that we can’t sit down with the writer of Matthew when we open that Gospel and make sure we ‘get it’.  It’s impossible.  We can’t sit down with The Teacher when we read Ecclesiastes to make sure he was as skeptical as he seems.  We can’t dissect a Psalm and have David back up our interpretation.

In that sense—a perfect recovery of what any given author meant (of a text in the Bible or any other text)—is impossible.  The meaning we supply to the text is the meaning we have.  That’s it!  That’s the meaning that lives in the world today.  And the meaning that lives in the world at any given moment is the more important meaning—that is the meaning that causes people to act in certain ways, to believe certain things, to commit themselves to a certain path. We simply don’t have the original meaning in full.  What the text says now is more important, as Ricouer so daringly ventured.

And this actually squares with a Reformed understanding of preaching.  There’s a classic statement that says, “The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.” (As stated in the Second Helvetic Confession.)  I always thought this was a bit presumptuous, and laid too much emphasis on the role of the preacher.  Yet, in light of Ricouer’s analysis, I think there is a  lot of merit to this approach.  When the community gathers, and the Word comes forth, and that Word is explicated, interpreted, delivered: we all have some sense that something sacred is happening, that God is engaging us, indeed, that God is speaking.

Consider Calvin:
“When a man has climbed up into the pulpit… it is [so] that God may speak to us by the mouth of a man.”

Or Luther:
“Tis a right excellent thing, that every honest pastor’s and preacher’s mouth is Christ’s mouth…”

Invisible Readers

Ricouer notes that through writing, “discourse escapes the limits of being face to face. It no longer has a visible auditor.  An unknown, invisible reader has become the unprivileged addressee of the discourse.”

In other words, at one time, the text belonged to the writer—he wrote it down, and he shared it with people, and could inevitably correct misunderstandings if they engaged the writing in person.  But once the work becomes widespread – such corrections vis a vis a face-to-face encounter with the writer, becomes less and less possible.  And once the author dies, impossible.  The text will reach readers that were invisible to the author, indeed, readers who did not yet exist.

Merold Westphal says it is this invisibility that gives the text an autonomy, an independence from authorial intention. This is known in interpretive circles as “the death of the author.” The absolute author (the one who knows what he or she meant to say) is not replaced by an absolute reader, but by one whose authority is limited, relative to a particular context, and without the presence of the author.

You and I are such readers when it comes to any ancient text (or even reading Steinbeck or Updike).

But here our interpretive journey takes another turn.

Perhaps the author him- or herself is not in full possession of the meaning of what they have written.  Perhaps more is being said than even the author was intending!

Merold Westphal notes that “not even the author is in full possession of the whole that would give fully final and determinate meaning.”

In other words, perhaps what the author intended isn’t the whole of its meaning. (I would say this is particularly the case when it comes to Scripture.)

Nick Wolterstorff gives an example of this possibility of a multiplicity of meanings:

At dinner Mom says, “Only two more days till Christmas.”  To her young children, who think that Christmas will never come, her speech act is a word of comfort and hope.  But to her husband “she may have said, in a rather arch and allusive way, that he must stop delaying and get his shopping done.  One locutionary act [vocal utterance], several illocutionary acts [words of comfort and hope, words of warning, even command], different ones for different addressees.”

Wolterstorff shows how a single utterance can have different meanings for different hearers, and they can each be right!

Merold Westphal notes that as Wolterstorff tells the story, Mom is the godlike author whose words have just the meanings she put into them.  They mean different things to different hearers so that the meaning of her discourse is a plurality of different meanings.  In godlike sovereignty she knows all the hearers and controls the meaning each receives.

Westphal then proposes:

But suppose they weren’t all at dinner and Mom didn’t know that Dad was in a position to overhear her.  Dad would rightly take Mom’s speech act to be one of reminder, warning, and perhaps even command, though that was not the meaning she (intended to) put into her discourse.  The meaning of the utterance escapes the horizon of its author and its original, intended audience precisely because of the invisibility of at least one additional audience.  This is the situation of human authors in general, says Westphal, biblical or otherwise.

By now you’re incredibly uncomfortable with this analysis.  You’re resisting this approach.  You’re thinking that preachers and scholars are in an awfully important (and scary) position – because they most often are entrusted with helping us understand the text.

This is true.  Yet in a sense we all are in this position, we are the invisible readers, at least those of us who read and engage texts (of any sort), especially the Bible.

But fortunately, there is more to it.  We’ll get to this in the next post.

No Interpretation Needed? Part 2

Last post we asked if it is possible to just read the Bible and understand what it says without having to ‘interpret’ it.

It’s a nice-sounding option, in theory.  Unfortunately for us, that option doesn’t exist.  In fact:

Is not every devotional reading (silent), every sermon (spoken), and every commentary (written) an interpretation or a series of interpretations of a biblical text?

We cannot escape interpreting the Bible.  We are not God.  Therefore, we are relative (conditioned by factors that are neither universal nor unchanging).

The entire history of Christian thought shows that Christians in different times and places have interpreted and understood the Bible differently.

Even at any given time and place, such as our own, is there not always a “conflict of interpretations” between, among, and within various denominational and nondenominational traditions?

approaching the text

If it were as simple as reading it and understanding it, there would be less divergence within Christianity.  But the reality is that there are manifold ways of understanding the text, just as there is no end to the number of denominations and traditions within Christianity.  This does not mean anything goes, or that all interpretations are valid – but merely that the text is rich, deep, textured, and from another time and place, meaning we should never become too strident nor certain that we have ‘the’ interpretation or have it all figured out.

We might be tempted to think that at one point — earlier in history, like in the early church — it was clear and everyone understood it the same.  James K.A. Smith reminds us this was not the case:

For Christians, many of the anxieties of hermeneutics (the theory and process of interpretation) are nothing new.  Well before we were haunted by the specters of Derrida and Foucault, the Christian community grappled with the conflict of interpretations (to say nothing of the Jewish/rabbinical precedents).  One can see such conflicts embedded in the New Testament narrative itself.  In Acts 15, for instance, we see a conflict of interpretations of “the law” — and we see a community grappling with interpretive difference in its midst.  Despite a common mythology, the early church was not a hermeneutic paradise; rather, debates about what counts as the tradition have been integral to the Christian tradition.  The early church was not a golden age of interpretive uniformity; rather, the catholic councils and creeds are the artifacts of a community facing up to the conflict of interpretations.

But often enough, as we noted last time, people simply deny that interpretation is necessary and unavoidable:

“We encounter this general attitude when we offer a viewpoint about, say, some controversial moral or political question to someone who (1) doesn’t like it and (2) doesn’t know how to refute it (perhaps deep down knowing that it is all too much on target) and so replies, “That’s just your opinion.””

Similarly, an unwelcome interpretation of some biblical text may be greeted by the response, “Well, that might be your interpretation, but my Bible clearly says…” In other words, “You interpret; I just see what is plainly there.”

This, however, is simply not the case.  We all interpret.  It is impossible to do otherwise.  We read words or speak words, they combine to form meanings, and we interpret what that meaning is.

This “no interpretation needed” doctrine says that interpretation is accidental and unfortunate, that it can and should be avoided whenever possible.  Often unnoticed is that this theory is itself an interpretation of interpretation and that it belongs to a long-standing philosophical tradition that stretches from certain strands in Plato’s thought well into the twentieth century.  This tradition is called “naive realism” in one of its forms.  It is called naive both descriptively, because it is easily taken by a common-sense perspective without philosophical reflection, and normatively, because it is taken to be indefensible on careful philosophical reflection.  (Westphal, Whose Community?  Which Interpretation?)

So is there no one ‘right’ interpretation?  Well… there is the original intention of the author, and then the original intent of the Holy Spirit… and certainly we must hold that God knows what he meant (means) to say.  But the point holds: we are not God.  Therefore, there is always a distance between us and that truest understanding of the text.  This is where faith and community comes in, and Merold Westphal, in his terrific book, Whose Community?  Which Interpretation?, sounds this note exactly:

We need not think that hermeneutical despair (“anything goes”) and hermeneutical arrogance (we have “the” interpretation) are the only alternatives.  We can acknowledge that we see and interpret “in a glass darkly” or “in a mirror, dimly” and that we know “only in part” (1 Cor. 13:12), while ever seeking to understand and interpret better by combining the tools of scholarship with the virtues of humbly listening to the interpretations of others and above all, to the Holy Spirit.

My friend Chris put it in very nearly the same way, in response to my first post:

Reading the Bible doesn’t require any special study; understanding it is another matter.

Anyone can “get something” out of just reading the Bible (or any other piece of literature). But if we’re concerned to do our best to “get” what the author(s) intended, then we have a lot of work ahead of us, especially dealing with a collection of ancient books written in ancient languages from ancient and diverse cultures with ancient and diverse systems of law, morality, and religion. If that work is beyond us, then we at least have the work of learning from the experts.


So should you read the Bible on your own, in light of all this?  Yes!  Of course.  God will speak.  Just be sure you check with your friends (and maybe a good commentary) before you say, “God told me…”

No Interpretation Needed?

Are you skeptical about biblical interpretation?  Does it seem that someone can just “make it say anything?”  Are you one of those who would prefer to just “read it for what it says”?


You’re not alone.  Many are intimidated by the vast amount of study some seem to think reading the Bible requires.  Can’t I just take the “plain sense” of a text and arrive at what God is trying to say to me?


See? It clearly says right here...

When someone encounters an interpretation of the Bible she doesn’t like, she may respond with, “Well that’s just your interpretation.  My Bible says this instead…”


After all, much easier to dismiss someone’s interpretation (which involves a bit of their own thinking), than to actually dismiss a passage of the Bible itself.  So perhaps we are better off trying to rest on the “Bible” instead of an “interpretation.”



As Merold Westphal puts it:


“Common sense . . .  claims to “just see” its objects, free of bias, prejudice, and presuppositions (at least sometimes).  We can call this “just seeing” intuition.  When [this] view of knowledge and understanding is applied to the Bible, it becomes the claim that we can “just see” what the text means, that intution can and should be all we need.  In other words, “no interpretation needed.”  The object, in this case the meaning of the text, presents itself clearly and directly to my reading.  To interpret would be to interject some subjective bias or prejudice (pre-judgment) into the process.  Thus the response, “Well, that might be your interpretation, but my Bible clearly says…”  In other words, “You interpret (and thereby misunderstand), but I intuit, seeing directly, clearly, and without distortion.”




Westphal refers to an ad for a new translation of the Bible billed as so accurate and so clear that the publishers could announce: “NO INTERPRETATION NEEDED.”  The ad promotes the “revolutionary translation that allows you to understand exactly what the original writers meant.”  (Unfortunately he doesn’t mention which Bible made this claim).


The “no interpretation needed” approach says that interpretation is accidental and unfortunate, that it can and should be avoided whenever possible.


What do you think?  Is interpretation unnecessary?

The Intimidating Task of Bible Study, Part 2

The Intimidating Task of Bible Study, Part 2

Second in a series of posts taken from Wes Howard-Brook’s introduction to his commentary on the Gospel of John, Becoming Children of God: Read the first post here.

If we choose to accept this life-changing invitation, how do we start? How do we know that the path we take is not simply a trail that loops back to Egypt ends in a cul de sac in the desert? If we journey alone, we indeed run a high risk of picking a futile road to nowhere or, worse, to a place of great danger. The Bible’s narrative of God’s mighty acts and words is heady stuff that can, to the misguided, justify the worst sort of violence and brutality.

Fellow travelers somewhere in Turkey

The antidote is the one given by the Bible itself in nearly every story: to journey not alone but in the community of fellow travelers. Whether that means starting a Bible study group, going to church, or delving into the scholarly conversation, the joyous task of encountering the Bible makes sense only as part of an interpretative community. From Eden to Revelation, the Bible’s various forms of discourse present one of the most intensely social collections of writings known to humanity. Its people are constantly in dialogue, either with other people or with God directly.

And its questions are persistently in the first-person plural: Who are we and where are we going? The Bible contains virtually no notion of the isolated individual, no flinty-faced Marlboro man gazing outward with a private vision. The first challenge of reading, then, is to share in whatever ways we can in acknowledging this most basic premise of the text.

This book is an attempt to share some of my own reading of a particular text from the Bible. By putting my reading into writing, I am aware that I risk the same freezing of live conversation that the gospels writers themselves risked. Each day, new insights unfold for me about the fourth gospel, as I continue to grow in my self-awareness and my awareness of the gospel’s own intertextual and intercultural contexts. But, as with the gospel, I hope that readers of this writing will continue the conversation, albeit at a distance, by continuing to think, pray, and act in response to what they read here.

This work, as with the Bible, is the product not of an isolated individual but of the collection of energies that make up the matrix in which I journey. In the following section, I will state openly some of my life commitments and reading strategies. I do this not so much to persuade readers that these are the best or the correct perspectives, but in the interest of encouraging all Bible readers to continue the process of demythologizing the notion of the “objective” or “scientific” reading.

In the next section we will note the importance of asking the question: “Where are you from?”, in order to name one’s commitments before encountering the Word.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

The Apocalypse Habit

Revelation.  A primer.

(This is the text of an introductory message on Revelation Bryan gave at Watershed.  The audio did not come through, so it is – excuse any typos and half-sentences.  Much of the below came from Wes Howard-Brook and Anthony Gwyther’s Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now

How do you feel about this book? 

Many of us are a bit intimidated by it.  But really, what’s not to like about angels and demons, visions and dragons, beasts with horns, lakes of fire, Satan, blood, scorpions, terror and mass hysteria?

If it scares you, you’re in good company:Some early church fathers Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria; Gaius, Cyril of Jerusalem and others refused to use Revelation because “it contained errors in fact and had not been written by an apostle.  Others, felt it was written by a Gnostic heretic, others hated the way it was abused to make predictions about the future.  As late as the fourth century Eusebius declared this was a ‘disputed’ book (rather than simply accepted or rejected).

Martin Luther denied Revelation canonical status because in his view it was not theologically accurate.  The Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli refused to base any teaching on it because it was, “no biblical book”.

John Calvin wrote commentaries on 26 New Testament books.  How many are there?  27.  He skipped Revelation.

To this day, Catholic and Protestant lectionaries have only minimal readings from Revelation, and the Greek Orthodox lectionary omits it altogether.

So if you don’t like Revelation, if you’re scared by it, if you expect fire and brimstone just b/c we’re talking about it – join the club.

SO WHY IS IT IN THE BIBLE?  That’s a very good question.

Well, early on it was accepted by many Christians and within a few decades had quite a wide circulation – it was cited as authoritative teaching in Asia, Egypt, North Africa, Rome and South Gaul.  Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Melito, Bishop of Sardis and Irenaeus, and later Augustine all supported it. 

Others throughout the history of the church have found that it does contain some important words from God for the community of faith.


And here’s the thing:  if we skip over this book and ignore it – others will step in and interpret it, and their voices will fill the void.

Indeed they have,  and they are.   (In fact, I just listened to a message on prophecy from an area church and it was a scary but all-too-prevalent approach).



Christopher Columbus thought he had discovered the New Jerusalem:  “Of the New Heaven and Earth which our Lord made, as St. John writes in the Apocalypse… He made me the messenger thereof and showed me where to go.”

Seventeenth-century puritans like Jonathan Edwards and Cotton Mather saw America as ‘the Promised Land’ and the end-time ‘City on a Hill’.  Which is all well and good, except that it branded the indigenous peoples as ‘savages’ who stood in the path of fulfillment of Scripture and legitimated the genocide of much of the native inhabitants of this land.

– John Darby (1820’s) invented a theological perspective called dispensationalism, which into our own day has often spent the most energy in this book (often to very imaginative conclusions) (7 dispensations) Often words like Armageddon, tribulation, prophecy, rapture, pre-millenialism. 

I hate to break it to you, but the rapture is not a biblical concept (but we don’t have time here to get into that here).

– C. Scofield – Scofield Study Bible (10 mil sold). Perpetrated a dispensational viewpoint by blurring the line between his commentary and the text itself, leading unsuspecting readers astray.

– This spawned vast numbers of fundamentalist premillienialists who felt they were living in the last times and that God would rapture them away. They opposed any social action as doomed to failure and as actually the work of the Anti-Christ.  (You see how this can become insidious). 



Late, Great Planet Earth – Hal Lindsey

Oil, Armageddon and the Middle East Crisis

– supported much of the 1980’s right wing policies of Peace through Strength and helped us see ourselves as Good and others such as the Soviet Union “Evil” (or the Evil Empire)

Left Behind series (Read it as fiction, not as an account of anything happening in reality). 

But all of this comes out of a desire to understand our human condition, to understand where we are in history, to understand where things are going.

German Theologian Ulrich Körtner notes that existentially we all have “apocalyptic world anxiety” – not that we think the world is about to end, but that we all recognize that life is finite, and we are unable to change that fact about ourselves.

It's just a matter of time...

Caputo:  “Every generation believes it is a part of a crisis, that something unprecedented is around the corner, for good or ill.”

Catherine Keller notes that the bad side of this is that we can develop “the apocalypse habit”.

This doesn’t mean we binge on movies like Terminator or 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow.

It means we act out our lives as a series of “apocalypse scripts”, patterns in which life is seen as an either/or moral duality.  We must unite against “the enemy.” It’s us vs. them.  So we divide the world into the “saved” and the “condemned” and yearn for the destruction of those who are “outside” the holy circle.

In times of social confusion and stress, apocalyptic answers are attractive…

But we must take care before assuming we can open a book like Revelation and discover a ‘code’ that will reveal easy answers for our time.

In fact, I think you’ll agree as we get into this book that there may indeed be some answers, but they may not be the things we expect.

So what will our approach be?

Revelation is like a piece of art –

complicated, mysterious, powerful.

Aspects will strike you as beautiful, other aspects as hideous.

A good piece of art is designed to create an encounter that changes you, that takes you somewhere, that speaks to you more than once and in more than one way.  It is not able to be grasped directly.

Consider Picasso’s painting, Guernica:

We could approach this painting in a vacuum – and it would speak powerfully to us.  We don’t need to know any of the background or historical context to be moved and affected by this piece.  You don’t even need to understand cubism/surrealism.

However, knowing the story, knowing the style also helps bring out the depth, nuance, and power of it.  It helps us connect it to real things in history.   Not every painting seeks to do that.  But this one does.  Check out the backstory here.

So we will approach Revelation in this manner – as a magnificent piece of art – to be handled delicately rather than presumptuously, to be viewed many times without making a definitive verdict on our particular interpretation, to be conscious of the context in which it was written –


Who wrote it?

Who was it written to?  Why?

What circumstances is this addressing?

What literary genre does this belong to?

Are there other similar works that we can compare it to?

What themes, pictures, wordplays are happening that would be understood in its day that may escape us today?

And then and only then: what does this have to say to us? 


Five keys in understanding Revelation:

(From David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance) 

1)     Revelation is the most ‘biblical’ book in the Bible.  Hundreds of quotes and allusions are made to the OT.

2)     Revelation is apocalyptic literature, and uses symbolic language, to be understood carefully and in its context.

3)     Revelation is speaking about imminent events – things happening in the world of the first century.  It is not about nuclear warfare, space travel, or the end of the world.

4)     Revelation is a worship service.  John describes a heavenly worship service in progress.

5)     Revelation is a book about who is ruling.  It is not about how terrible the Antichrist is, or how powerful the devil is.  It is, as the first verse says, ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ.’  It tells us about his lordship over all, and that the kingdom of this world has become the Kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and he and his people shall reign forever.

— Revelation is a letter.  What do we know about letters?  They have specific authors and specific recipients.  Here is where it differs from much art, or from other types of literature like poetry, which are more open-ended.

So, fundamental to our approach will be this:

This was written in a particular time in history to a particular group of people (in fact, we’re even told the recipients – the 7 churches).  It was not written to us.  If we want to understand it, we must read it in terms of its original hearers & their situation.  The end of the first century AD was much different than beginning of the 21st century.

It has historical particularity.  But that fits in with much of the Bible and the basic Christian affirmation of the incarnation.  The gospel’s foundational declaration is not that God is revealed in general, but that he has definitively revealed himself in Jesus, a particular Aramaic-speaking Jew who lived and died in a particular time and place.

So our first point of approach will be historical – to understand who it was written to and why, and then and only then to begin to draw some connections to us here and now.

Revelation is a call to have faith in God rather than empire.  It draws on language familiar to a people who throughout their history had been subjected to one empire or another, who had experienced oppression at the hands of Egypt, Canaan, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and finally Rome.  Revelation is a witness to the way of God, who entered into the heart of the empire in Jesus, breaking the cycle of earthly powers not by conquering it, but by submitting to it in love.

So for all the pictures of violence in this book, you have to remember that Revelation relies upon visions and dreams and often communicates things by way of illustration, parable and allegory – and when we literalize these things we do violence to the message itself.  Because the God of Jesus Christ revealed himself ultimately not as a violent king, but as the lamb who was slain.

Revelation is a call above all else to loyal endurance – to remain faithful when it appears evil is having its way, it is a call to be ready to forgive, to turn fear and anxiety into trust – to know that our victory as the people of God often remains as hidden as the victory of Good Friday – but that the way of God, the way of love, the way of the cross will always win.

So in the next few weeks we will bravely blow the dust off this long neglected, much misunderstood masterpiece.

May God give us eyes to see it anew.

You can listen to subsequent messages on Revelation here.