Revelation DIY

Direct link to all of the materials


The Project: Dennis Meier

Who wouldn’t want to peek behind heaven’s veils to catch a glimpse of God’s „home“, his throne room? This is exactly what happens to John, the seer. A door in heaven opens and he is begged on a guided tour through heaven. On this tour he sees wondrous and strange things and becomes eyewitness of the deliberations in God’s „situation room“ – His heavenly council. 

Eyes are of special importance to Revelation. God is surrounded by beings replete with eyes. Nothing escapes these eyes. Seeing (=understanding) seems to be of utmost importance. 

When we pick up the study of Revelation in our churches today, it is equally important to monitor eye-reactions. The first group to be observed is the rolling-eyes faction. These people seem to beg us: „not again“ or even „not the same old stuff again“. This is due to various reasons. There is a second group, the glassy-eyed folks. They openly admit never to have understood Revelation or to not even be interested in its study. Then there is the last group. Their eyes are glowing. They are fascinated by Revelation’s symbols, beasts, hymns, angels, seals, trumpets and cataclysms. And obviously by the message of the canon’s last book. 

Jon Paulien is definitely a protagonist of the latter group. He has spent much of his academic life teaching and researching the book of Revelation. Werner Lange in turn is a former lector of the German Adventist publishing house and an avid student of Revelation in his own right. We both met to discuss Revelation. The German edition of Jon Paulien’s book (among others) was our guideline. This book triggered Werner’s project “Revelation DIY” – helping people to study their bible for themselves. DIY means do-it-yourself. In DIY you, the reader, are the expert. But you need a well-equipped toolbox and that is exactly what Werner and Jon want to hand you out this quarter. Each weak they’ll be pointing you to a number of tools that might help you unveil the message of the text. The result will not necessarily be the hoped, expected or orthodox conclusion, but it will be the result of your honest dealing with scripture and what could be more Adventist than that?

 If a concomitant result would be even more glowing eyes when it comes to Revelation, much would have been achieved. After all, it’s the Revelation of and about Jesus Christ!

Dennis Meier (President, Hansa-Conference, Germany)


Werner and Dennis busy with the book of Revelation 


About the Project: Jon Paulien

A friend of mine, Werner E. Lange, has started a very interesting project in relation to the Sabbath School Lessons for the next quarter. He is the retired book-editor of the German Adventist Publishing House and has edited several of my books. 

I am excited about his project called “Revelation DIY” (Do It Yourself). The aim is not to present a verse-by-verse interpretation of Revelation or a different study guide, but rather to show church members an approach whereby they can discover themselves the meaning of the visions and judge whether a given interpretation does justice to the text and its context. His goal is for church members to be less dependent on pastors, books or study guides, and more on the Word of God itself. He contends that Revelation is easier to understand than many people think—provided that we approach it with the appropriate tools for its interpretation. The principles he uses are based on my book The Deep Things of God (German edition: Die Offenbarung verstehen).

His elaborations are published in both German and English on the website of the Hansa-Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The first (PDF Revelation DIY1) concerns hints on the interpretation in the introduction of the Revelation, the second (DIY 0) describes specific principles for its interpretation, focusing especially on how to detect and apply the allusions to the Old Testament. 

You can also get his elaborations with hints on the interpretational approach for the chapters in Revelation which are the topic of the Sabbath School lesson for that week. There he will also show dead ends in interpretation and give some explanations of the text. The one on Rev 1:10–20 (PDF Revelation DIY 2) is already available, too (others are published weekly). You find the link to the PDFs at the bottom. 

 I am personally very curious about his suggestions for interpretation. Some years ago he translated and heavily revised (with my approval) my Facebook comments on Revelation 12–14 and put them into book form (published by the Advent-Verlag with the title Der letzte Kampf). From the detailed discussions we had, I know that he is a careful and thorough Bible student and has internalized my principles for the interpretation of RevelationHe would remind me when I hadn’t followed my own rules and challenged some of my interpretations (often with success).

 I would love to see more open discussion about Adventist interpretations of Revelation. Ellen White encourages us to study the book thoroughly, even claiming that we haven’t understood it well enough (see the quotations at the end of PDF DIY 0). And Jesus promises a special blessing for those who read Revelation and heed what they have learned (Rev 1:3). So let’s study it anew and with an open mind. We just might be surprised at what we learn.

Jon Paulien is Dean of the School of Religion at Loma Linda University in California.

An overview of all available elaborations (as PDFs) with direct links and a video on Rev 1 you find here.


Die Glaubensüberzeugungen der Freikirche der Siebenten-Tags-Adventisten sind dazu angelegt, das ganze Leben zu durchdringen. Die heiligen Schriften der Bibel zeichnen ein überzeugendes Porträt von Gott.
Jeder ist eingeladen, den EINEN zu entdecken, zu erleben und kennen zu lernen, der nichts anderes, als uns heilen will.

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