The End Is the Beginning

Revelation, Hope, and the Love That Lit the Stars

The End Is the Beginning

Revelation, Hope, and the Love That Lit the Stars

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Available October 1, 2024

Dragons, battles, beasts, and plagues--it's no wonder Revelation is often called the scariest book in the Bible. And most of us aren't sure what to make of it.

What do you think of when you think about the book of Revelation? Prophecy, apocalypse, rapture? While certain evangelicals are steeped in the rhetoric of Revelation (albeit a very particular and peculiar interpretation), the rest of us often have little interaction with Revelation, beyond its fire-and-brimstone reputation. Revelation rarely shows up in the pulpits of mainline Christian churches, and many progressives feel as if Revelation is only for "the end is near" apocalyptics or Christian Nationalists and QAnon theorists. But the book of Revelation offers so much more if we're willing to crack it open in new ways.

The End Is the Beginning cuts through the echo chamber of rapture-haunted apocalyptic anxiety with a clear picture of God's persistent love for all that was, and is, and will be. It will serve as a trusted companion, providing tools to carry readers into all corners of Scripture. Pastor and writer Matthew Ian Fleming is a sage Revelation guide, combining his own stories with shared perspectives from an entourage of interpreters of various generations and diverse backgrounds--pastors, theologians, and people of faith--who dare to read Revelation in the face of world-wrenching events, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the murder of George Floyd. Reading the book of Revelation takes us to the height of heaven and the depths of despair; it requires curiosity and courage. It means standing in the face of a Christian mechanism fueled by fear to reclaim a message of promise and persistence. With equal doses hope and humor, Fleming suggests that if we can contend with Revelation, it really can change everything.


"Matthew Fleming brings to his study of the book of Revelation his vivid personal memory, his alertness to popular culture, seriousness about the text, and a winsome imaginative sense of humor. The outcome of the work of his many gifts is an invitation to rescue the book of Revelation from the mistaken use made of it by fundamentalist literalists with their infallibility, inerrancy, and theology of fear. In the place of such distortion, he offers a reading of the book of Revelation through an engagement with its imagery and cadences. Fleming's rendering of the book will be much appreciated by those who receive the Bible and particularly the book of Revelation as the voicing of a world under God's gracious, relentless goodness. As Fleming reads it, that gracious, relentless goodness will, soon or late, prevail."

Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, and author of many books, including Prophetic Imagination

"The End Is the Beginning is a generous companion to the book of Revelation, filled with personal and cultural connections that help us find new ways into this book and the wild ways it is baked into our lives. Matthew writes like he talks, making the dynamic and conceptual more accessible for the rest of us. His wonder is an undercurrent, pulling the reader into trusted company while we are reclaimed by good news and love that lights the sky."

Meta Herrick Carlson, author of the Ordinary Blessings series and Speak It Plain

"Through one of the most unexpected journeys, Matthew Fleming leads us to discover a God who is present and 'making all things new.' What I love most about Fleming's work here is the deeper invitation to a way of reading the Bible. Part commentary, part memoir, part history, part interpretation, the book defies genre and helps us practice a relationship with the Living Word through engaging Revelation. As I see it modeled by Fleming, this means sharing our story with the Living Word, which is active and dynamic, and compels our imagination toward a beautiful world that we are called to bear witness to and usher in the here-and-now."

Mihee Kim-Kort, author of Outside the Lines and co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Annapolis

"If you have ever looked out at the world and wondered if it was the end times, this book is for you. Rigorous and accessible, Matthew Ian Fleming guides us through the scariest book in the Bible, inviting us from fear back to love, where God's vision of a new world is revealed. As sage, storyteller, and scholar, Fleming's beautiful words teach, heal, invite, and inspire. The end is, in fact, the beginning."

Ellie Roscher, author of The Embodied Path, Play Like a Girl, and How Coffee Saved My Life, and coauthor of 12 Tiny Things

"Rev. Fleming invites readers into Revelation by beginning with the ending, the promise that God is building a new heaven and a new earth, a place beyond all suffering and sorrow. Weaving his own story and stories of our current context together with stories from Revelation, Fleming illustrates how knowing the ending shapes all that comes before it, especially in terms of taking on the beasts, the monsters, and the dragons that try to thwart God's promised vision to which we all ultimately belong."

Deanna A. Thompson, author of Hoping for More and Glimpsing Resurrection

"Matthew Fleming has written a wonderful guide to reading the book of Revelation. In this engaging and sweeping deconstruction of fundamentalist Biblical theology and reconstruction of ways of reading the Bible that draw out profound meaning and application for our walk with Jesus, Matthew Fleming invites us to enter the Biblical imagination of the book of Revelation and hear God's concern for the very real struggles of life on earth."

Rev. Winnie Varghese, author of Church Meets World, and rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506497044
  • eBook ISBN 9781506497051
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 206
  • Publication Date October 1, 2024