Thursday, January 13, 2005
Book Review: 'The Deep Things of God'
The biblical book of Revelation has probably had more ink spilled over it than any other book of the Bible. It is an engimatic book to most people filled will weird symbols that are a repository for an incredible range of theories and interpretations. How do we make sense of it? Is there a right way to intepret it? Are there principles that can guide us as we journey through its fantastic landscape? Jon Paulien has written a brilliant guide to understanding this book in his The Deep Things of God: An Insider's Guide to the Book of Revelation. In an easy-to-read style, Paulien surveys the world of Revelation, the patterns of Bible prophecy from Genesis to Revelation, issues and problems dealing with the writings of dead prophets, safeguards for Bible study, tools to help in interpreting the Bible and Revelation, the overall structure of Revelation, the way that the writer of Revelation uses the Old Testament, and how to see Christ in the pages of Revelation. Jon Paulien has spent 30 years studying the book and it shows in his gifted explanation of this important book of Scripture. Rather than tell the reader what Revelation means, Paulien's burden is to describe a method for understanding the book for ourselves which is faithful to Revelation itself. It is so easy to read our own agenda into Revelation. Paulien offers a way of avoiding that and genuinely hearing what the author of the book really wanted to say. On the way, though, he illustrates the method by shedding light on some of the most difficult passages in Revelation. This is truly an exciting book for anyone wanting to carefully and responsibly interpret Revelation. Jon Paulien is a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) scholar and, therefore, has commented on various issues relevant to that denomination's members. Seventh-day Adventists claim that Ellen G White, one of the founders of the denomination, is a prophet whose writings are authoritative for members. In a few places in his book he comments on the relationship between White's writings and interpreting Revelation. These issues are not relevant to non-Seventh-day Adventist Christians and detract from the overall general nature of the book. This should not deter the general Christian reader, however. The general Christian reader can safely ignore those parts which are not relevant. These parts of the book are minimal and the majority of the book is quite brilliant and relevant to anyone wishing to understand Revelation. Seventh-day Adventists, however, should listen carefully to what Paulien has to say to them in particular as he gives wise advice on using extra-biblical sources when interpreting the Bible. If you are interested in uncovering the "secrets" of Revelation then this book is a must read. Buy The Deep Things of God from Amazon.com