MTS Revelation 21-22

The Mormon Theology Seminar is rolling out a new detailed consideration of a passage of scripture. The latest version of the seminar is going to be looking very closely at the final two chapters of the NT, Revelation 21-22. The blog posts and comments from the seminar participants may be followed here. The concluding in-person seminar will take place in Austin, Texas, sometime in September (date to be determined). My initial post on the reading as a whole is now posted; check it out.


  1. Enjoyed your post. I wonder about your opinion on Papias. He states that John the elder is the John of Patmos who wrote revelation and not John the beloved disciple. He specifically states that he knows this John personally.
    Richard Bauckham addresses this in “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”

  2. I did a blog on the use of the symbolism of Twelve in the New Jerusalem in Rev. 21 and then branched out. But I am interested how the seminar treats some of the same material.

  3. This will be an interesting exercise. I hope that some of you will discuss the temple theology and John’s theophany that arises through-out Revelation, perhaps comparing them with other theophanies in the scriptures, etc.
    I see John as taking us through an endowment, beginning with a theophany, then God showing the history of the world (premortal divine council, creation, fall, and then redemption into a terrestrial and then celestial realm).

    I’d also like to see how you combine Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life, which supposedly was the “same” as John’s.

    Finally, there is the concepts of chaos and order. Ancient tradition suggests that God formed the earth by ordering chaos, and it works fine until man reintroduces chaos through sin and error. At such points, chaos from the underworld or the sky is released to wipe out the sinners, and then the chaos is restored back to order (Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc). This same order seems to occur in the Book of Revelation, and I hope someone will take it up in the discussion.

  4. Neal Kramer says:

    I’m interested in another question altogether. I think Mormons and many scholars are trapped by the desire to make Revelation a prediction rather than an apocalypse. What is the genre of Revelation? How does that affect the way we read?

    Revelation as prediction could be a literal-minded and weak misreading that turns the text into a thoroughly modern document, driven by a kind of positivism that wants the text to morph into an account of specific events that must occur in the future. Why must that be the case? What is the sense that such a future ought to be revealed or must be revealed? Why is the future more important than the the present of any reader?

    Should this book be read as a simple allegorical code that can be broken, writing with an underlying structure which we can recover to reveal the mystery of the Second Coming?

    Can we read Revelation as a description of the indescribable? What if its language is purely poetic in the sense that it has no direct referent we can uncover? What if it discloses little or nothing? What if it reveals that God’s future is a mystery? What if it is a reminder that we live each moment in the recognition that we always already stand before God?