When searching for a website to complete the critical analysis on, there I simply Googled, “The Book of Revelation.” Having over a million and a half pages that related to this topic, it seemed that there would be no problem finding a webpage on the book of Revelation that I would be able to analyze. I chose to do my analysis on the site, http://www.christian-community.org/library/revelheresy.html. This is a page of the Web site, The Christian Community, that is entitled, “Why the Book of Revelation is Heresy.” I chose this because of the title, I agree strongly with the idea of the book of Revelation and this page looked like it was going to debate some of the things that we have discussed in class. There are many interpretation of the book of Revelation, and this site is no different.
This page, along with the rest of the pages in The Christian Community, is written by Clare G. Weakley, Jr. Clare has a Masters of Theology from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. The page begins with a list of six questions that are supposed to make one question what Revelation represents. These questions are to prove the point, in the eyes of Weakley, that the ideas about Jesus in Revelation should seem very radical to Christian viewers. He believes that instead of worrying about the events that are mentioned by Jesus in Revelation, the followers of Christ should focus on what is happening every day in their relationship with Jesus.
This page declares that it is in disagreement with the books of the Bible that precedes it, and this is what makes Weakley believe that it is a heretical piece of writing. He defines heresy as "An opinion or doctrine that is at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, esp., of a church or religious system;" and, "the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine." He believes it can be considered heresy because the Revelation does not coincide with the Bible. Obviously, saying that a book of the Bible is heresy is very controversial and it needs major claims to back the statement up. Weakley repeats several times that what Revelation teaches opposes the teaching of Jesus and his Apostles.
The author of Revelation is John, and that is all we know. John is reveled in the very beginning of this chapter. It does not state who John is or why he was chosen to receive the testimony of Jesus Christ. Weakley introduces John to be John of Patmos. Patmos is simply an island, and nowhere does it say that this is where John resides, it simply states that he was there because he was testifying about Jesus. Because of this, referring to John as John of Patmos does not have much credit because we do not know that is where he is actually from. The reason that he believes that John of Patmos, and not another John, is the author is fairly vague. The main reason that he states that he believes John of Patmos is the author is because of his writing style. The writing styles of John of Patmos and John the Apostle are obviously different. Weakley states that Greek scholars have commented that John of Patmos’s writing style contradiction with John the Apostle’s style. This argument seems like Revelation points out that it must be one of these two men. Since Revelation does not match the rest of the Bible, where John the Apostle has written, it must be John of Patmos. There is nowhere in Revelation that states the author has be to one of these two men.
There is one other reasoning for Weakley to have the belief that John of Patmos is the author. In Chapter 1 verse 17, John faints when he saw Jesus. Weakley argues that this is not John the Apostle because he had been with Jesus throughout and even after his Resurrection. This could be considered a valid argument against John the Apostle being the author, but this gives to credit to John of Patmos at the author. All of the points about who he believes is the author do not support his argument; they simple disprove John the Apostle. This in my opinion lessens Weakley’s credibility as a writer of Revelation. Seeing that there is not even mention of John of Patmos in Revelation, Weakley would need a much better argument for crediting him as the author.
Weakley truly believes that the Revelation is complete heresy. He states that John may not have been as accurate as we believe. The things that he saw were, in what Weakley calls, an unconscious state, making it look like he would have had to add his own opinion into his writings. He thinks the fact that John was “in the Spirit” discredits his account of his detailed descriptions of what he sees and what is told to him. Throughout Revelation, John describes, in great detail, many of his sightings, such as the lamp stands, the horns, and the eyes. John also writes exactly what Jesus testifies to him. Weakley believes that the Bible would have stated somewhere in it that John had a great gift to perfectly recall these photographic events and testimonies.
The book of Revelation could almost be considered a guide to what do to before the second coming of Jesus. In Revelation 22:18-19 John writes, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.” We are told that we must accept Revelation, but Weakley argues that because it is all heresy, each version after it is translated is different. It is possible for the different translations to lose or add certain words in the writings, but the ideas that need to get across are all pretty much similar. Weakley thinks that John should have told us what version to follow. When it was written, John probably did not think that his writings would even be translated, explaining why he did not mention what version is the best.
The audience that John is addressing in Revelation is picked apart by Weakley. In Revelation chapter 1 verses 11, John is commanded to address the seven churches of Asia. They were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. In verse 1 through 3, it is stated that Revelation will discuss the matters “of things that must ‘soon take place’ and ‘for the time is near.’” Weakley has a problem with these thoughts because of the wording used in the verses. The seven churches of Asia are no longer around, and he uses this to defend his argument. Weakley defines soon as, “within a short period after this or that time, event, etc” and near as, “close to a point not far away.”
Only the seven churches of Asia were addressed, and not the entire church of God, because of this Weakley believes that this was not from the mouth of Jesus. I can see where he is coming from with this view is you are looking at the text in a literal sense. Since the seven churches are no longer, and it states that things will be soon and near, he would have expected them to already happen. From what we have read in Revelation and the rest of the Bible, it is not likely that the text should be taken literally, instead it should be looked at as more of a symbolic piece. The seven churches made up the people of that time, by only addressing the seven churches; it could be a symbol of everyone who follows Christ because everyone who did belonged to one of the churches.
Weakley’s take on why this interpretation is heresy is because he believes this is a false prophecy, if not a straight up lie. He states that Jesus is known as the Truth, and that he is not mistaken. Because he is not mistaken, Revelation would have be addressed to the entire church of God, or already have happened because to the seven churches soon and near would have already passed because they no longer exist. Weakley does not take into account that compared to eternity, which we are promised by God if we follow what it says in Revelation, what we may consider to be a very long time is a considerable short period of time because eternity lasts forever.
Weakley’s arguments about the book of Revelation could be looked at by a number of people and accepted because Revelation can be interpreted by different people in many different ways. Instead of taking the, sometimes bizarre, events that happen in Revelation and try to interpret their symbolic values, Weakley takes it very literally and toward the end of his page, he asks, “How can anyone take the Book of Revelation seriously? It makes no sense to us and there is no consensus of opinion about its meaning.” His opinion that the book is complete heresy could potentially arise from the fact that not being able to completely understand what it means can be frustrating, so it is easier to dismiss it.
Ch.1, Revelation. New American Bible. December 2002. November 2010
Ch.22, Revelation. New American Bible. December 2002. November 2010
Weakley, Clare. Why The Book of Revelation is Heresy. November 2010