Come Out of Her My People
by Tony Kessinger
The mysterious book of Revelation was addressed to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Kessinger examines these “churches” (cities) in historical context, to see what lessons can be drawn for our benefit today.
This is a good book, so let me get my minor complaints out of the way first. First, it reads just a little dry, but that’s made up for by deep scholarship. It’s seldom that we readers get both. Second, Kessinger’s insistence that Revelation is the inspired word of God comes through a little too strong, sometimes making him seem just a little naive. For example, Revelation is usually considered apocalyptic literature, very similar to many other non-canonic writings in the first century, but Kessinger discounts that genre out of hand. Why? Because those other writings are purely fiction, and Revelation obviously is the inspired Word of God, so classing them together would insult God … regardless of how extremely similar the writings are.
One hundred pages into the book, though, it turns really interesting. Kessinger’s historical background sets the stage for each of the seven cities, putting you right square into the atmosphere of the first-century. Then, using the “historical method” of interpretation (Kessinger believes that Revelation was written specifically to these churches, but with the added purpose of providing inspiration and instruction to all churches through the ages) his deep exposition brings John’s Revelation to bear, so that the Bible’s words come alive. Kessinger liberally quotes other Bible scholars and historians, which helps a lot.
I strongly recommend this book if you wish to dig deep into Revelation’s audience. However, Kessinger does have a strong bias that it was intended also for our edification today, which devalues (in my opinion) the tension of that age. Particularly, the tension between Christianity and the Imperial Cult which was so strong in Asia minor at the time. For this reason, I give it only four out of five stars.
Xlibras Corporatio, © 2003, 248 pages