Revelation 11:15-19 — A Climactic Announcement

August 31, 2013

The drama of Revelation’s second vision (Revelation 4:1-16:21) comes to a climactic moment when the seventh trumpet sounds. The whole of heaven–the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, myriads of angels and the great multitude–have seen the seven seals opened and all seven trumpets sounded. Heaven anticipates something dramatic. The seventh horn is trumpeted and […]


Revelation 8: Prayer and Plagues

August 3, 2013

The Lamb took the book out of the hand of the one who sits on the throne and began opening the seals. The opening of the first four seals were accompanied by four horses that spread destruction upon one-fourth of the earth. The next two seals asked two questions. The martyrs asked “how long” will the persecution continue […]


Revelation 6 – Divine Judgments on Empires

July 20, 2013

The Lamb, having taken the book of prophetic judgment from the hand of God, now begins to open it by breaking the seals. Systematically, the Lamb breaks one seal after another–six in Revelation 6. As each seal is opened John hears and sees a variety of images that evidence divine judgment or are related in […]


Revelation 1:9-20 — An Imperial Christophany

May 28, 2013

The Christophany–the appearance of Jesus to John–sets the tone for the letters to the churches (Revelation 2 & 3) and provides the ground for patient endurance through the dramatic conflict that the Apocalypse will unfold in the second and third visions (Revelation 4-16 and Revelation 17-21). It is, therefore, important to pay close attention to […]


Amos 8:1-14 — The Pride and Greed of Jacob

April 19, 2013

The dialogue between Amos and Amaziah (7:10-17), which interprets the third vision (7:7-9), is followed by a fourth vision (8:1-3) with a further interpretative comment (8:4-14). Ripe for judgment, Yahweh reminds Israel exactly why they will face eventual calamity. God judges them for their economic practices and the greatest calamity they will experience is divine […]


Amos 4:1-13: “Yet You Did Not Return to Me”

March 4, 2013

This is the second of Amos’s three prophetic speeches against Israel. They each begin with “Hear this word” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). The first announced God’s coming visit in judgment against Israel while the third will voice lament. The second highlights divine patience and persistence in seeking to turn Israel from its sins. While this second […]


Amos 3:1-8 — An Oracle of Divine Punishment, Part I

February 20, 2013

The first two chapters of Amos set Israel’s sins within an international context.  As they heard Amos condemn one after another of their regional neighbors they were no doubt alarmed that Israel was included in the list and received the most attention. Israel is the focus of Amos’s concern. The second major section of Amos […]


Amos 2:9-16 — Yahweh Makes A Case

February 6, 2013

As the last in the list of nations and the major focus of Amos’s ministry, Israel receives the most attention. In Amos 2:6-8 the prophet identified the reasons why Israel (the northern kingdom) will go into exile. They will suffer for their sins. They abused the innocent and poor, pursued sexual immorality, and approached God […]


Malachi 4:1-6 — A Day is Coming

August 30, 2012

Though Malachi characterizes Judah’s words against Yahweh as “harsh,” we might find ourselves rather sympathetic with them. It does appear that evil often wins and that abusers go unpunished. We might wonder whether, in fact, evildoers are “blessed.” Or that God is indifferent, or that faith is worth the journey. Malachi, however, is quick to […]


The Flood Story — What Might We Learn?

July 6, 2012

This is not a children’s story. The animals going into the ark two by two do make a classic VBS song and it certainly makes a great flannel graph. But this story is more like a horror movie than a Disney cartoon. The story is important for our author. It takes up more space than […]