Revelation readers see Mass, not world’s end
By: By Jennifer Willems
Reading the Book of Revelation for clues about when the end of the world will take place is not only poor scholarship, but it also does an injustice to the vision of Christ and his church that the author intended, according to two men who have become fixtures at the Diocesan Summer Institute.
“At the heart of the Book of Revelation is the liturgy, the holy sacrifice of the Mass. That’s what’s ironic,” Jeff Cavins told the 400 people who gathered at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Peoria last Saturday for an overview of “Adventures in Revelation: The Kingdom Yet to Come.”
“So many people speak with such authority about the Book of Revelation with no knowledge at all about the holy sacrifice of the Mass,” said Cavins, who developed The Great Adventure Bible Study System. “Adventures in Acts” is the fourth foundational study in the series.
What they substitute for this knowledge is what they see on CNN, said Dr. Tim Gray, Cavins’ teaching partner and professor of sacred Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver.
“You can’t decode it by modern-day events,” Dr. Gray said. “That’s a myth. That’s taking Scripture out of context.”
Throughout the seminar, the duo gave participants the tools they needed to put the text into its proper context and start digging into the imagery employed by John the Revelator.
Cavins explained that the Book of Revelation is considered apocalyptic literature and said that in order to understand it, the reader must know something about the rest of Scripture. Written figuratively, it cannot be read as linear history, he emphasized.
The author is John, the beloved disciple, who wrote the fourth Gospel as well as three letters that are included in the New Testament. His audience was the seven churches of Asia Minor, now known as southern Turkey and eastern Greece, that were suffering persecution and struggling to keep the faith in a pagan culture.
“What John is going to do here is roll back the veil and allow these early churches who are discouraged to see heavenly realities, to see what is really happening in heaven and how what’s happening in heaven is going to affect what is happening here on earth,” Cavins said.
That movement between heaven and earth continues throughout the Book of Revelation as John shows the same events from a number of different perspectives.