Review:: Painting Revelation Teaching DVD

13 May

I know there are many others like me—who want to learn about Revelation but are tired of arguing about a pre-, mid-, or post-tribulation rapture.  We’re not interested in eschatology arguments as much as trying to understand—to picture—what John was trying to pass on to future generations in his writings.  Artist Debby Topliff decided it would be a fun challenge to study Revelation and explain its various pictures in a visual medium.  Through her primitive folk art-style, Debby unearths a Revelation time line that helps viewers understand the historical-redemptive narrative in her teaching DVD Painting Revelation (Firefly Life).

Using a five foot by seven foot canvas as her guide, Debby masterfully depicts 29 scenes from the John’s revelation, written while he was an exile on the Greek island of Patmos.  While the art is rather abstract, Debby’s verbal descriptions are not.  She provides a clear and accurate depiction of the images of Revelation.  Of course, this is Debby’s interpretation of John’s interpretation of what he was seeing, yet it has been more understandable and meaningful to me than any other depiction of Revelation (and it puts those goofy Left Behind movies to shame).

Not only do I like Debby’s amazing painting; I like Debby herself.  She has a natural way of teaching in which her knowledge of Revelation is evident and her speech unencumbered with confusing theological jargon.  She begins her five teaching sessions by sharing a simple story in the woods surrounding her Michigan home and then moves into her studio to explain sections of Revelation via her painting.

The Painting Revelation DVD includes teaching resources to coincide with each of Debby’s sessions.  There is a 20 page leader’s guide, worksheets for each session, a discussion guide, and much more complete with Scripture references to add to one’s personal and/or group study of Revelation.  The resources that accompany this DVD and painting are thorough and well-crafted by Debby, who earned a bachelor’s from Gordon-Conwell and a master’s from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois.

I was 11 years old when I first heard a sermon on the book of Revelation.  I was terrified out of my sixth grade mind and had nightmares for a week.  Then the Left Behind books came along further solidifying my fear of the end times.  As I grew older, my fear faded but the final book of the Bible baffled my mind.  It has been much easier to study the Gospels or Ecclesiastes than Revelation.  Yet my desire to learn about Revelation—the only book in the Bible with a blessing and a promise for reading it—has been strong.  Fortunately, Painting Revelation has provided a perfect outlet for me to start engaging with Revelation and piqued my curiosity about end times theology.

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No Responses to “Review:: Painting Revelation Teaching DVD”

  1. MOM May 13, 2009 at 8:35 AM #

    GREAT REVIEW, AMY! I, TOO, APPRECIATED HER STYLE AND HER PAINTING. WHILE MANY ASPECTS OF REVELATION ARE, OF COURSE, NOT INCLUDED IN THE PAINTING (THE LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES, THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB, THE GREAT FEAST OF GOD, ETC.) THIS STUDY AND VISUAL ARE AN INTRODUCTION TO SOME OF THE EVENTS OF GOD’S FULFILLMENT OF SCRIPTURE. I LIKED DEBBIE AND WANT TO GO TO STAY AT HER RETREAT HOME.

  2. debby topliff May 13, 2009 at 9:41 AM #

    Hi–this is Debby who painted Revelation and made the DVD. I really appreciate your review and comments. I am a little confused by the comment by MOM. I’m not sure what she’s referring to by the marriage supper and great feast. Where are these in John’s vision? As for the 7 letters to the churches, I couldn’t think of how to depict those in the painting, so they are actually lesson 6 in the study guide and I’ve set it up so YOU get to draw the images in the letters–many of which are taken from the first and last chapters of the book. Blessings in the name of the Lamb!

  3. MOM May 13, 2009 at 7:55 PM #

    REVELATION 19:1-10 – THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB

    REVELATION 19:17 – THE SUPPER OF THE GREAT GOD

    SORRY ABOUT THE LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES COMMENT BUT I ONLY SAW THE VIDEO, BUT I WOULD LIKE FOR AMY TO SHOW ME THE OTHER MATERIALS, TOO. THANKS FOR YOUR PAINTING AND LESSON.

  4. debby topliff May 14, 2009 at 6:16 AM #

    Now I see what you mean. By the time I got to painting the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven (which by the way I now wonder if t could be a pyramid and not a cube–what do you think?) I decided to let it also represent the bride. It would be nice to show a bride and make clear that there are 3 women–the pregnant woman, the prostitute, and the bride–just like there are 3 beasts. John’s vision is so full of symmetry showing how perfectly the Lord has made all things. Thanks for interacting–and accepting my limitations!

  5. debby topliff May 14, 2009 at 6:50 AM #

    And the supper of the Great God–I did paint the birds next to the King of Kings on the white horse followed by the other horses, but I had to cut it out of my script because of time restraints. Perhaps there are 3 meals also–the little book, the marriage feast, and the birds?

  6. MOM May 14, 2009 at 8:56 AM #

    THANKS DEBBY! ISN’T GOD WONDERFUL ON JUST SO MANY LEVELS – BUT ALSO THAT HE ALLOWS US TO FIND THESE TREASURES IN THE MIDST OF HIS BOOK! MY SMALL GROUP HAS BEEN STUDYING REVELATION FOR 3 YEARS AND WE ARE JUST FINISHING. IT IS TRULY A BLESSING TO SEE HOW GOD HAS ORCHESTRATED THE ENDING FROM THE BEGINNING AND HOW THE WHOLE OF SCRIPTURE IS TRUE AND COMPLETE. THANK YOU FOR THE BEAUTY OF YOUR PAINTING AND WORDS.

    • Amy May 14, 2009 at 11:50 AM #

      Awww, look, Mom, you’re making new pals though my blog comments. 🙂

      Debby, thanks for stopping by, checking out the review, and commenting. Some people don’t even bother stopping by and I really think it’s cool when an artist, musician, or author takes the time to do so. Your painting is lovely. At first I wondered why you chose to use one canvas, but then I realized it provided a whole picture of the events you depicted–very cool.

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