The Meaning of Miraculous Healings in Acts (and the Gospels, too)

“This healing [Acts 4, the lame man at Solomon’s Portico] may be thought of as both an X-ray and a preview. As an X-ray, it makes visible to outside observers the unseen inner cure that faith in Jesus produces. Astonishing as it is for a man of forty who has never walked to leap in the temple, the cure of hearts paralyzed in sin is even greater. As a preview, it shows the final completion of Jesus’ restorative work, when believers’ physical bodies will fully experience the salvation which we already taste in the form of firstfruits (see Rom. 8:18-25). Astonishing as it is for a lame man to leap, it is nothing when compared to the cosmic restoration to come– “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21).”  -Dennis Johnson, The Message of Acts, pg. 65

Dennis Johnson’s Observations About Revelation

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  1. Revelation is given to reveal.
  2. Revelation is a book to be ‘seen,’ being full of symbolism.
  3. Revelation makes sense only in light of the Old Testament.
  4. Numbers count in Revelation.
  5. Revelation is for a church under attack.
  6. Revelation concerns “what must soon take place.”
  7. The victory belongs to God and to his Christ.

( from “Introduction” of Dennis Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb).

Magic Eye Art and Revelation

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Here is a nice illustration of how the book of Revelation works. It could also serve well as an illustration of the doctrine of revelation itself.

The Magic Eye phenomenon provides a parable for Christian thinking about the world: to see the pattern that counts, you have to focus beyond the surface, to see the shape of deep realities not accessible to casual observer. Like everyone else, Christians spend much of every day with eyes and mind focused on the surface of things–details about deadlines, delays, dollars, dress, food and shelter, going and coming, work and recreation, politics and more. Attending to everyday issues is necessary and right, but out hearts long to see the big picture, the meaning that lies behind the details. The Revelation shown to John unveils this deep pattern beneath the surface of history. (Dennis Johnson, Triumph of The Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, pg. 50).