Explicit Argumentation and a Foretaste of the Future Hermeneutic in Revelation

A foretaste of the future reading strategy considers how the visions of the future in Revelation invite and motivate participation and action in the present as a way to live into God’s promised future. In this approach, the visions in Revelation function as the ideal toward which Christians should work in the less than ideal present. This chapter will evaluate the foretaste of the future hermeneutic in light of how John explicitly sought to motivate his hearers through a consideration of every imperative in the book. This study of the imperatives in Revelation suggests that a foretaste of the future missional hermeneutic could be a legitimate means by which the visions in Revelation shape our understanding of the motive, message, and method of Christian mission, but such a hermeneutic should not replace or overshadow clear statements from the text which call the hearer to action with hypothetical ideas about the effect the visions could or should have upon a hearer. When our reading strategies take priority over explicit statements we run the danger of using the authority of Scripture to advocate for positions and causes that are far removed from the concerns and emphases of the original author and hearers.