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.