jQuery Slider

You are here

The FIRST and the LAST: The Comfort of the Triune God in Revelation

The FIRST and the LAST
The Comfort of the Triune God in Revelation
By Melvin Tinker
www.epbooks.org 176 pp

Reviewed by David W. Virtue, DD
June 22, 2021

Over the course of listening to sixty years of sermons, I have never heard a preacher fully engage with the Book of Revelation. Preachers avoid it; its apocalyptic language, end of world scenario, its signs and symbols seem not to relate to our contemporary situation and are difficult to engage an audience for meaningful life change.

Occasionally a preacher will cite one of the seven churches of Asia, if only to highlight their relevance to contemporary church life with their sinful comparisons.

Theologian Melvin Tinker has grabbed this book by the horns bringing to life its mysterious language to us. He demystifies the signs and symbols, unfolding the deep complexity of the book to the modern reader. He reveals God the Father, who was and is and is to come; God the son, the Lion who is the Lamb; and God the sevenfold Spirit.

I can do no better than let the book speak for itself. Here are some lines from the volume that caught my attention:

What the Book of Revelation presents is a different 'social imaginary' -- not a fiction, but a higher reality to help us envisage our situation properly.

'The worship scenes of Revelation 4 and 5 articulate a model of a well-ordered cosmos in which all created beings in every region of the map turn towards this one center -- the throne of God and the Lamb -- to offer grateful adoration.

'The revelation of Jesus Christ'. This is the word 'apokalypsis' from which we get our word 'apocalypse. It doesn't mean the catastrophic end of the world: it literally means 'pulling aside the veil' in order to allow us to glimpse something which otherwise would remain hidden.

In terms of the genre, then, the book is a mix of epistle, prophecy and apocalyptic. The latter uses symbols, colours and numbers which have significance for the readers...much of which is drawn from the Old Testament.

It is the Old Testament theology of God as the one true God who is creator and redeemer which is dominant throughout.

The Apocalypse introduces us to the triune God in a distinctive and awe-inspiring way.

This is where the Book of Revelation provides us with a map of ultimate reality: 'the book's symbolic visions shapes believers' world views around what is true, good and beautiful...motivating them to live counter-culturally in the world as a follower of the Lamb wherever he goes.'

Thrones stood for power, wealth, sometimes justice and always entitlement to rule. 'This is the image we are being presented with here, but purged of all its human imperfections -- the rule of God.

The language of the Bible, and the Book of Revelation, is the much more guarded language of analogy.

...the seven lamps, a reflection of the sevenfold spirit, signifying the perfection of God's Holy spirit; perfect in wisdom, righteousness, and power.

This slim volume has many more memorable quotes. I conclude with this:


One of the most captivating descriptions of the new heaven and earth in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, is how God's radiant presence touches everything, everywhere; 'And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it lights, and its lamp is the Lamb' (21:23).

The person of Christ is the lamp which shines, illuminating everything and everyone.

This volume is not for the faint-hearted. If you sincerely desire to read, learn and inwardly digest the last book of the Bible, you might be encouraged by Rev. 1:3; "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near".


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top