When Guitarists Preach: John The Revelator

Phil Keaggy LIVE event

In order to find suitable songs to kick-start our study through Revelation, I went scrolling around YouTube.

The goal was to mark the end of our successful journey through Luke and Acts; to find something that would also mark the start of a new quest that will take us through the Book of Revelation.

What I found was this performance of ‘John the Revelator’, by Blues Counsel and Phil Keaggy, dated October 2014.The song has been around since at least the time of Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945) and since then it’s been covered by more than one performer.

I’ve long been partial to the Keaggy version, which appeared on his ’93 album, ‘Crimson and Blue.’ So, I figured what better song is there to get the ball rolling than one which features a bunch of guitarists.

One other stand out that I’m fond of and plan to use in my approach to teaching from John’s letter, prophecy and recount, is Michael Card’s ‘Unveiled Hope.’ Card’s entire album is written and performed with a contemplative closeness to the content of John’s book.

Some songs fall flat, such as Holy, Holy, Holy. Others, however, punch out a sound that reflects the present and future, hope and victory in Jesus Christ. Themes that contribute to the major points of the text.

As I did with Luke and Acts, for my ongoing prep for each session I’m resting a great deal on the Holy Spirit’s direction. Working hand-in-hand with Greg Clarke and John Dickson’s ‘666 And All That, 2007‘ and, Achtemeier, Green and Thompson’s, ‘Introducing the New Testament, Its Literature and Theology, 2001.’

‘While Revelation is a book that discloses and prophesies, it is above all a book that, like the writings and words of all the biblical prophets, intends to admonish, correct, and encourage its readers. John calls for repentance, obedience, faithfulness, and perseverance. This is not a code needing to be cracked; it is a proclamation that needs to be heard and obeyed’
         – (Achtemeier, Green and Thompson, p.558)


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