Brilliant and Maddening

William Jackson’s review of Moses and the Revelation.

“What makes Michael Bull’s books both brilliant and maddening is their conciseness.”

What makes Michael Bull’s books both brilliant and maddening is their conciseness. Writing as a graphic-artist, he lays out the text, and in fact the whole book, in a form that takes the shape of his subject. On one hand, this book on the Revelation is easy to read. In fact, the first half of the book is a summary of the whole Bible and how the shape of creation in Genesis shapes the rest of the text. This is called the “Matrix” pattern. He explains how these themes are repeated and applied to different circumstances. The second half of the book applies this “Matrix” to the book of Revelation. This means he has expertly condensed a monumental amount of information into those last a hundred pages or so! In many ways, this book is much more like brilliant lecture notes that allow you to explore a topic more fully on your own… after you have been introduced to the topic.

This book can be maddening to read, so you have to know that it is worth it. And it is worth it. Beside the format, another aspect that can make this book maddening is that you have to suspend all your preconceived notions about “End Times.” Debates such as those about “Post-Trib” or “Pre-Trib” that are so divisive, yet they are not easily avoided. While I agree with most of Michael’s points in the book, some of his statements struck me as cryptic and sent me searching for substantiation. Sometimes I could make the connections, sometimes I couldn’t. This could fuel his critics.

The book is maddening, but it is brilliant. Even if you don’t understand or agree with much in Michael’s premises, the connections he makes with the texts is rewarding. Any one of his outlines can yield a wealth of biblical insight… and I find that more valuable than having someone confirm what I might already think. While I agree with most of the conclusions of this book, I am sure these “Matrix” outlines (“T.H.E.O.S.”) will be valuable even to those who hold a different dispensational view of history. I think Michael is really onto something by seeing Moses as Revelation’s major interpreter.

For me, I found the book more rewarding and understandable read in light of where it is going. It may have been helpful to have included a section titled, “How to use this book.” I suggest reading chapter 5 and then the last two chapters (13 & 14) right after the introduction, before reading the rest of the book. This will clear your mind of how he sees the big picture fitting together. The rest of the book backs up that vision. I highly recommend this book. It is a much needed word that brings a fruitful simplicity to the text and answers many critics’ complaints about the Bible.

You can read the introduction to Moses and the Revelation here.

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