Review: “The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation”

One of the most talked about and polarizing texts in all of the canon of Scripture is the book of Revelation.  This book has been the subject of fiery debates, discussions, theological stances, studies and TV programs on TBN.

At first glance the book of Revelation doesn’t really seem to fit with the rest of the New Testament.  It’s style and language are different than anything else in the Bible.  Reformer Martin Luther (as well as others) wanted the book to be removed from the Bible.

When it comes to interpretation of this book there are several camps of thought but I will highlight two of them:

  1. Dispensationalism– a literal understanding of the book; the book portrays events in the future that marks the Second Coming of Christ into the world.  The book is a coded message that the faithful need to understand so they can be on the look out of the signs of the return of Jesus Christ. This method of understanding the book of Revelation was first postulated by John Darby in the late 19th Century.
  2. A message or story of hope and support for a persecuted community– The message of Revelation is one that encapsulates the pain and struggles of a community trying to live and survive in a society that did not like them.

The Rapture Exposed puts forth the thesis that the book of Revelation has been misunderstood for many years.   The author claims that the book was not meant to be a future predicting, dispensational text,where people are trying to connect events in the world to the ancient text.  The author believes that the message of Revelation is really a hopeful one.

The book looks into the nature of Dispensational theology and how the text does not support this idea; one of the most popular modern versions of the this theology is the Left Behind series.  This series has sold millions of books world wide and even spun off into three films (with a reported reboot coming soon starring Nicolas Cage).  The Left Behind series follows the life of people who have been left behind after the “rapture” of all Christians on the earth.  They have to battle the evil Anti Christ and try to get the message out about the salvation of God in Christ before God destroys the world and starts anew.

The author, Barbara Rossing, writes:

To understand the biblical basis for much of today’s end-times thinking we have to begin our story further back than the book of Revelation. In the view of Darby and other dispensationalists, God’s whole biblical plan for the end-times is already mapped out in the Old Testament. The entire end-times framework of Darby’s dispensationalist system is based on just three verses at the end of chapter 9 of Daniel! (page 25)

The problem according to Rossing is that the Book of Revelation has been distorted to fit the model of theology instead of the Book itself shaping a model of theology.  She points out that no where in the text does the word “Anti Christ” appear as well as there is no mention of the Anti Christ establishing a covenant with Israel and then breaking that covenant.  These items have been read into the pages of scripture and made to fit.

Rossing lays out well reasoned arguments on why the message of Revelation is one of hope and not World War III. The message of Revelation is one that is centered in the notion of God’s revealing and redemptive power now, not in some predetermined future date. She writes,

Like the visionary journeys of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Revelation’s vision of seals, trumpets, bowls, and other manifestations are meant to be a wake-up call. They unveil the urgency of God’s justice and judgment by taking us on terrifying journey, all with the goals of persuading us to ally ourselves with God’s vision for our world. The journeys are not intended as literal predictions of events that must; they are nightmarish warnings of what may happen– if we do not follow God’s nonviolent Lamb. (page 91)

The Book of Revelation has been used as a tool for right action and orthodoxy (correct belief). The mode of thinking is: one does not know when the end of the world will be so you better get right with God or you will witness the destruction of the world. The faithful of God, however, according to dispensational theology, will have a front row view of the end of the world and humanity from Heaven.

Revelation is not a book written to inspire fear or terror. But it is definitely written to increase a sense of urgency for our world. It is an apocalyptic wake-up call for each of us, precisely because there is hope for us and for our world. … Revelation teaches us a fierce, urgent, and wonderful hope– not an easy comfort, but a hope that knows the reality of terror and evil and still can testify to God’s love in the face of that terror. (page 170)

Overall I thought this text was a good overview of the pitfalls of a literal interpretation of Revelation and I believe that the message of hope as laid out in this text is a refreshing one, one that the church needs to hear more of. This type of hopeful theology is one that is not being promoted and propagated in the church today; if it is for may it is falling on deaf ears.

★★★★☆
4 out of 5 stars
Amazon Link

In Christ,
Rev. Evan

Sojo.net gets 10,000 signatures on Victoria’s Secret Petition

A ministry colleague emailed me and told me that Sojourners had online petition encouraging Limited Brands to stop targeting young women in their marketing campaign; they cited one of the many article written about my letter in their petition information. I was honored that they asked me to write a piece about my experiences and thought process behind writing the letter to Victoria’s Secret.

Sojourners has been petitioning Victoria’s Secret to stop objectifying young girls; they have had about 10,000 people sign their online petition.  When some one signs it an email is send to Limited Brands.  According to a follow up piece on Sojo.net (see below), Victoria’s Secret has given them the same standard answers.  Catherine Woodiwiss, the author and Associate Web Editor of Sojourners, writes

This statement about “Bright Young Things” — what Sojourners has always made clear was a campaign, not a line — does not address Sojourners’ central concerns over reinforcing confusion about the value of young women, to young women. Over the action alert’s charges that oversexed objectification contributes to a culture of abuse, rape, and distorted worth, Victoria’s Secret gave no comment.

Please read the articles below and consider signing the petition.

Thanks for reading and supporting me.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


My article Link on sojo.net

Follow up article- 10,000 Emails, Victoria’s Secret Continues Business As Usual 

Consider signing the petition to tell Victoria’s Secret to stop objectifying teen girls.

Sojourners’ Bright Young– What? Campaign (via Facebook)

Reflection on Boston and West

I was in Phoenix all of last week.  I was attending a retreat for young ministers.  The retreat was jam packed and I had little time to check email and did not have any TV access at all.  It was only through twitter that I even heard about the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, the shootings in Watertown, the factory explosion in West, TX and the “man hunt.”

As information was flying across the internet I was able to catch a glimpse here and there.  As the days progressed and more and more information was being made available it was a difficult pill to swallow.  It seemed like it was an unrelenting barrage of tragic events.  Some of the people I was with in Phoenix stated that they were glad they were in Arizona during all of this, not because it was away from the action but because they knew they would be glued to their TVs while the events unfolded.

So what can we learn from these events?

First, don’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear on the news.  In the first few hours of the bombing and the West explosion, there were so many conflicting reports.  News agencies try to get the best information they can but sometimes the first information that is reported is either false or extremely over exaggerated.

Second, the human condition is alive and well.  Humans unfortunately at their core have the ability to enact violence and hatred on one another.  Whether it is racial tensions, religious objections, ideological differences, humanity can be a viscous beast. When tragedy strikes we reflect on how this could have possibly happened. We begin to think of ways this could have been prevented and sometimes that leaves us feeling empty and agitated. I know this is a dismal view when it comes to humanity, but is something that we as the human race have been trying to fix for millennia. Wars, hatred, violence, genocide and human rights violations are in our past; you don’t have to look that far to find this in history.

However, not all hope is lost. (see below)

Finally, humanity is not as flawed or selfish as we once thought. Yes, I know this might be hard to completely understand given the death in Boston (and the previous point), but I read report after report of first responders and police officers running TOWARD the blast sites in a effort to help others. Even the runners of the marathon continued to run to the local hospital to donate blood for the victims AFTER they had already ran 26.2 miles. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of supplies were collected in the days after both Boston and West. People recognized that those who fell victim to the bombings and accident at the plant did not intend for this to happen. We as a species have a great emotional gift called empathy. Our hearts break when we hear of tragedy and mourn right along with people even if we ourselves are not effected.


As a minister I began to reflect on the message of the Gospel and how that message was being played out in these cities. A colleague and ECLA minster, Rev. David H., tweeted something that stood out to me. (See below)

For me, the message of the Gospel is more about love and grace and care than anything else. Christ reminds us that his time on this earth is one marked by serving and loving than by being served. Christ’s redemptive and radical message of wholeness and grace is one that should inspire others to do the same. Christ’s message is one of self-lessness; it is a message that makes us look outside of ourselves to facilitate a world where peace, love and justice reign.

Maybe Rev. David is right… if the message of the Gospel of love and wholeness can not be shown in times of uncertainty and instability then maybe we should close up shop. However, Christian’s from all walks of life clung to the notion of God being ever present in the lives of those effected and walking right beside them.


May we continue to pray for those effected by the tragedies in Boston and West. May God’s comfort and peace and grace and wholeness be poured out.

Come Spirit Come.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Renewal and Retreat

This week I will be away from the blog for a spiritual renewal and retreat.  I am looking forward to it; this will be the first time I have ever done one. I hope to come back refreshed and focused on the future ahead.

I am happy to announce that I have been asked by two different websites to be contributors.  I am honored and thankful for the opportunity.

I have been asked by Radical Parents (radicalparents.com)  and The Good Men Project (goodmenproject.com).

About Radical Parents

Radical Parenting is an idea that came about through prayer, conversations, and observation of the typical “church-going family.” The goal of this site is to be a resource that informs, encourages, and even challenge parents. We pose the question, “What does it look like to raise children who spend their lives investing in the Kingdom of God?” Radical Parenting is about answering that question.

While parents have been tasked by God to raise their children, we want to provide you with resources, suggested reading material, pop cultural perspective, and social media understanding. While we can’t promise that your teenagers will think you are any cooler we pray that through you they will see the importance of investing their lives in a faith rooted in Christ, a faith that is their own.

About Good Men Project

We are a community of 21st Century thought leaders around the issue of men’s roles in modern life. We explore the world of men and manhood in a way that no media company ever has, tackling the issues and questions that are most relevant to men’s lives. We write about fatherhood, family, sex, ethics, war, gender, politics, sports, pornography, and aging. We shy away from nothing. Our content reflects the multidimensionality of men — we are alternatively funny and serious, provocative and thoughtful, earnest and light-hearted. We search far and wide for new stories and new voices from “the front lines of modern manhood.” And we do it without moralizing and without caricaturizing our audience; we let guys be guys, but we do it while challenging confining cultural notions of what a “real man” must be.

Stay tuned for links and articles from these two great websites.

Thank you all again for supporting me and for reading.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret- Update Part V- “Finding Your Voice”

It has been a little over 2 weeks since I posted my letter to Victoria’s Secret and what a crazy two weeks it has been!  I have never spoken about  Victoria’s Secret underwear more in my entire life.  🙂

Again, I don’t think I can say it enough, but thank you so much for sharing my letter.

Over these past weeks I have received hundreds of emails, tweets and Facebook messages.  Throughout them all there was a common thread- people were telling me “thank you for sharing your voice.”

Many people wrote and stated that they shared my feelings but did not know how to articulate them or even think that they would be heard– to be honest I never thought my voice would be heard either.

I never expected to be on TV stating that women are not sex objects or  that Victoria’s Secret (and others) are setting up a standard that is unattainable for young girls.

My friend and ministry colleague, Rev. Traci Siegman, wrote a blog post about my letter and wrote these wonderful and meaningful words

Rev. Dolive exercised his prophetic voice. He spoke his mind and faced culture head on. Christians are called to be prophetic and live counter-culturally. We are called to give voice to those without the power to speak. It is our responsibility as followers of Christ to continue to name the ways in which people are still held captive.

We all have the potential to speak out for what we believe in and for what we want to stand for.  As my friend and ministry colleague, Rev. Laura Phillips, told me “speak even if your voice shakes.”  While I might be one person I sent a message; I spoke up for my daughter and every other young girl.  I wanted to express my feelings about the message of beauty and sexuality that one particular company was sending.

One thing I learned through this process is that your voice matters, your voice can be heard, your voice is important and powerful.

Because of the attention that my letter has received parents now have been given a voice; parents have written me and told me that they are using my letter to start important and meaningful conversations about sexuality, marketing and beauty.

Let’s continue to use our voice to speak up for those who can not, let’s use our voice to bring justice to those who desperately need it, let’s use our voice to proclaim the goodness of God’s grace and wonderment of Christ.

Let’s use our voice not to shame people, but to empower people.

Let’s use our voice…

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret- Update Part IV

On Saturday March 30,  an interview that I recorded  was shown on Headline News; this was my first national interview.  Click here to watch it.

Yesterday was my interview with CNN with Don Lemon.  As of right now I do not have a video link to share.  I have inquired about an online video but so far nothing yet.  I do have a transcript  of the interview.  Click here to read it.  Be sure to check out the pictures of my interviews below.

Thank you for all that you have done to support me in this endeavor.  Please continue to share my letter and my updates.  I want the conversation about the unattainable standard of sexuality and beauty that Victoria’s Secret and others are setting for our young people to continue.  I believe that this is vital conversation that needs to happen in the public sector.

Thank you for your “likes”, comments, shares and questions.

I am truly humbled by it all.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


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Photo 1

My View at the station

Photo 2

The ear piece to hear the anchor

Photo 3

Me just waiting in my “library”