Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rolling for Lucky Seven

The series of sevens in the first three chapters of the Revelation, however cryptic they may seem, are relatively clearly identified by John. When it comes to symbols, I think the tendency of creative minds is to dig for some deeper meaning despite any simple identification, even if given by the author! Perhaps that seems too superficial for inquiring minds. Anyone remember Paul being dead?

I think that tendency leads to error in interpreting the Apocalypse, and produces anything but an understanding of what John and Jesus clearly wanted people to understand. A simple, straightforward reading which takes the text for what it says and doesn't feel the need to go beyond is what actually produces sense. Though there are unidentified symbols and surreal narrative sections, I think, on the whole, the Apocalypse is more forthright than many let on. KISS.

Case in point: the interpretation of the seven lampstands and the seven stars. In both cases, the antecedents for the symbols are clearly identified (see also the Seven Churches). Yet, there are those who look for further mysterious meanings, which tends to so subjectivize the text as to make it incapable of dependably meaning anything to anyone. How can we read the prophecy and take it to heart if we're speculatively rolling the dice looking for lucky seven?