"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
In this lucid exposition, an acclaimed interpreter shows that the book of Revelation is to be read as a unified work of religious poetry aimed at extricating Christians from Roman society, in which they were living quietly and peacefully. Thompson considers connections between John’s negative view of society and his social location as a wandering prophet, compares his visionary experience with that of other prophets and seers, especially in Judaism, notes similarities between the depictions of Christ and Satan in Revelation and portraits of heroes and demons in other writings of the time, and emphasizes that John’s vision of heaven and the future were intended to infuse everyday Christian life with confidence in the goodness and ultimate triumph of God.
“Thompson’s commentary on Revelation is written in an engaging literary style and, by presenting perceptive comparisons and contrasts with both Greco-Roman and Jewish literature—canonical and non-canonical—he highlights the distinctive features of this book. He deals effectively with the rhetorical and even the epistemological dimensions, while offering an illuminating and convincing proposal for the structure and thematic development of Revelation. In short, it is a most revealing and insightful analysis of this challenging early Christian writing, as it shows how this book addresses perennial human questions about divine purpose and human destiny.” –-Howard Clark Kee