Finale Revelation and Imagination Daily Devotional- 1
June 06, 2021
REVELATION 1:20 | 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
If I asked you to read a digital journal or conventional newspaper, your cultural intelligence and familiarity would allow you to easily identify the different genres of writing and their very different intentions and use of language. You would know the comics with their invented characters, sardonic tone, and humorous intent. You would distinguish the front page reporting and back page opinion pages (though in the last decade or so these have blended). You would notice the obituaries, with their sad and thankful tributes, and personal tone. The sports page’s odd mixture of reporting, statistics, and opinions would not be strange to you. But with the bible, such instant cultural knowledge is not possible, given the historical and sociological gap between a 21st century reader and the various ancient people, places, and settings we encounter in scripture.
Notice the symbolic language of verse 20, it seems strange and mysterious. Revelation is connected to several different first century literary traditions, including the epistolary, the prophetic, and the apocalyptic. The seven stars and seven lampstands are from this last genre, also found in sections of Ezekiel and Daniel and in the discourses of Jesus in Mark 13. We will explore it as we progress in our series.
How many genres of literature can you name in the bible (poetry, history, gospel, letter, novella, song, etc.)?
How can you tell? What is distinctive about each one?