Apocalypse and Allegiance is a lively introduction to the Book of Revelation as political and social commentary, on both the ancient world and the modern world. Eschewing end-times interpretations, Kraybill places John's vision in its first-century context, opening a window into the political, economic, and social realities of the early church while demonstrating how its symbolic images mocked emperor worship, and presaged the Rome's imminent collapse.The message of this analysis is then applied to our day, to the issues of imperial colonialism, worship, and allegiance. Yet, the idea is not to "reveal" the mysterious prophecies of the book of Revelation as so many have irresponsibly done in our own day, but to demonstrate how Revelation critiques culture and the authenticity of faith through its imagery, both in the ancient world and today. This is not a book that proposes to untangle Revelation's prophecies so as to determine the end times, or anything of the sort, but illuminate how the efforts of humanity in the arena of politics and social order are inimical to God's kingdom.This book will make an excellent read for churches who want to understand the book of Revelation as it was primarily intended, that are as a powerful cultural and socio-economic critique, not as a puzzle book of prophecies. With helpful study questions at the end of each page, this book will provide an excellent study for Seminary and especially, College students struggling to understand and grapple with their conscience in society, as well, as socially active churches.
In this lively introduction, J. Nelson Kraybill shows how the book of Revelation was understood by its original readers and what it means for Christians today. Kraybill places Revelation in its first-century context, opening a window into the political, economic, and social realities of the early church. His fresh interpretation highlights Revelation's liturgical structure and directs readers' attentions to twenty-first-century issues of empire, worship, and allegiance, showing how John's apocalypse is relevant to the spiritual life of believers today. The book includes maps, timelines, photos, a glossary, discussion questions, and stories of modern Christians who live out John's vision of a New Jerusalem.
J. Nelson Kraybill (PhD, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia) has served as president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and has taught the book of Revelation for more than twenty years on four continents. He is the author of Imperial Cult and Commerce in John's Apocalypse and frequently speaks in ecclesial and academic settings on biblical themes of discipleship, peacemaking, leadership, and mission. Kraybill lives in Elkhart, Indiana.