Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Revelation Website Analysis

In this class, I often consulted other websites and sources for information since our text “Revelation” by Ben Witherington III merely provided basic information. I often tried to find information the expanded on the issues discussed in our text and in class. In looking for this outside information, I came across many different websites. I found that some were extremely terrifying and made almost a mockery of the book of Revelation. Others simply provided basic information or quotes. It was honestly very difficult for me to find a website that provided adequate information and interpretation on the book of Revelation. Half way through the semester, I came across the website http://apocalipsis.org. My first impression of the website was that it is just like any other Revelation website, filled with nonsense and terrifying facts that are interpreted to scare people and promote viewing. But, after some examination and exploration, I found that this website is actually different. It provides an abundance of information and draws verses from other books of the bible to explain their reasoning for the interpretation. The website uses expert input and also has a piece of artwork for each book. The website has great organization, a separate section for each chapter of Revelation and links to other websites, novels, artwork websites, and commentary. The website is very interactive and provided me with a lot of information throughout this semester. While the website is not perfect and has a few flaws, it is honestly the best website on Revelation that I have come across.

Apocalipsis.org looks very confusing when you are navigating the content. And, quite honestly, it is a confusing website and could use a good sprucing up. The links a bit jumbled and there seem to be too many things going on. But, if you focus on the main content (IE the chapter links and the main links to the artwork and commentaries) the website is very straightforward. If one simply clicks on a certain chapter, they are redirected to the home page of that chapter which provides about a paragraph interpretation of each verse in that chapter.

Once redirected to the page one can explore the interpretation of the chapter. I found that the interpretations were very believable and not out of left field. They stuck to the main points of the verse and always provided outside support for the argument. The outside support comes from either an expert or a verse from a different book in the bible. I loved this aspect of this website because it tied the entire bible together, which is often times very hard to do. For example, the author of the website says that John is ordered not to seal up the scroll in Revelation. He contrasts this with how Daniel is told to seal up the words of the scroll until the end in Daniel chapter twelve, verse four. I liked that this website tied everything together because it shows how other books are related to Revelation, and Revelation is not purely a bunch of random scary verses people have put together, which is often time the common belief. Another example of this is in the interpretation of Revelation chapter five, verse nine. The author is saying that the elders are singing a song. He finds that verses that are sung in this song are found in Psalm 33 verse three. This shows that this author is not simply making these interpretations up in his head and just publishing what he thinks instead of facts. Instead, he does research and supports his arguments with pure facts from the actual bible. This gives this site a lot of credibility and also makes it much more interesting and interactive. It is more interactive because readers can look up those verses and try to understand why those verses are being reiterated in Revelation.

The author not only uses the bible for reference, but he also consults scholarly sources and uses the expert’s words for support. This use of experts is especially prevalent in the interpretation of chapter 15. For example, in the introduction to this section of the website, the author writes a long paragraph prefacing the darkness that is revealed in this chapter. He says that the Jews crossing of the Red Sea in exile of the Egyptians was a preface to this chapter and how God’s people are redeemed after overcoming the beast. He uses texts written by experts to support his argument so we know that he is not drawing these conclusions out of this air. Then, under the section “Eschatological Articles” the author provides a link to the articles he used in order to validate these arguments and show us that they are real. This is not only helpful for validating his arguments, but it also helps us to further our study of revelation. If we are curious about a certain topic or want to learn even more about a certain argument, we can further our studies by exploring the articles he provided and the links under this tab.

I also loved the author’s generous amount of information. There was never a shortage of interpretation with this website. I loved that there was always about a paragraph at least for each verse. Particularly, I thought that the interpretation of Chapter 20 was very strong. This is because the author showed the difference between the interpretations throughout history. It used interpretation from Pre millennialism, Amillennialism, and Post millennialism. I thought this was very informative and interesting. While I used the Post millennium interpretation, I found the other ideas to be beneficial and informative.

The next aspect of the website that I found to be interesting was the artwork. Each chapter had a designated piece of art that was used to illustrate the main points of the chapter and illustrate a visual for the readers. The artwork comes from three Christian artists: Duncan Long and Pat Marvenko Smith plus Albrecht Durer. The artwork is available for purchase, which I find extremely interesting. The website provides links to the artists’ websites so that the reader can look at more and possibly purchase one they like. I found this extremely cool because one can get cultured and learn about art and Revelation simultaneously. When I did my presentation, I tried to copy and paste one of the images into my PowerPoint, but one cannot copy and paste the images because they are simply for the use of this website. This also validates the website because it shows they have some legal precautions and are not doing shady things behind the backs of these artists.

The artwork that is used to demonstrate the chapters are extremely intriguing and beautiful. The artwork used is by a Christian artist who drew the art with that specific chapter in mind. For example the artwork for chapter 15 really embodies the themes expressed in the chapters. The chapter is about the seven Angels who later pour out the seven Plagues. The artwork that leads the commentary of this chapter shows seven angels with scary faces descending the sparkling stairs. They carry bowls in each of their arms and there is a sea of blood after the steps. You can see the people in the background glistening in Heaven. This really embodies the chapter because it has a mix of dark and light and is not the most terrifying chapter in the book of Revelation. In contrast, the darkest book in my opinion is chapter 14. The artwork that opens the commentary on this website is very terrifying and ambiguous. Chapter 14 is about the lamb and the 144,000 people who are safe in heaven. The art is very red and the lines are not clear. It is very blurry and it looks to be the outlines of people in a forest, but it is not very easy to see. It is almost as if the picture is up for interpretation. I found this interesting because a lot of the information presented in chapter 14 is up for interpretation. Thus, after exploring the various elements of the artwork and the fact that the artwork is up for purchase, and the artists know that their artwork is being used, I believe that it adds a lot to the credibility and visual appeal of the website.

In conclusion, I believe that the website Apocalipsis.org is a very beneficial website to use when studying Revelation. It has legitimate arguments and does not have purely terrifying and out of nowhere arguments. The author of the website uses actual facts and scholarly sources to prove the points he makes and to illustrate his arguments. The website also uses the artwork to help illustrate the chapter. This helps the person using the website paint a mental picture of what is happening that particular chapter. The artwork that is chosen relates to the information and is usually painted specifically with that particular chapter in mind. But, this website is not perfect. The actual layout of the website, especially the homepage, could use a lot of sprucing up. It is a bit confusing and hard to navigate. But, overall, I believe that Apocalipsis.org is the best website on Revelation that I have found. This is due to its facts, generous amount of information, and incorporation of artwork.

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