A Colorful Way to Come to Grips with the End Times
One-of-a-kind DVD study portrays Revelation’s prophecy in a whole new light
by Diane Morrow Thursday, April 16, 2009
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—Revelation is one of the most difficult books of the Bible. Most of us can’t really picture the images the Apostle John describes. We’re often left scratching our heads: Who are all those strange characters? What do they have to do with my life?
Because Revelation is primarily a vision, we need more than words to understand it—we need pictures. Artist and teacher Debby Topliff has painted the scenes described in the last book of the Bible on a 5 x 7 foot canvas in her Saugatuck, Michigan studio. In the DVD study Painting Revelation: A Visual Exploration of the Last Book of the Bible, Topliff tells the story of Revelation by taking the viewer through 29 scenes from the book. The fascinating—and sometimes frightening—visions described in Revelation are unlocked in unique ways as Topliff depicts the apocalypse of John with a spectacular array of colorfully rendered scenes. The DVD-ROM also includes downloadable study guides and discussion questions for individuals and small groups who wish to spend more time with the book.
Debby Topliff holds a master’s degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. Painting Revelation began as an expression of her own personal study of Revelation. “Several years ago, I challenged myself to dive in and swim around in the murky waters until I could sort things out and ‘take the dragon by the tail.’ When I emerged—with charts and drawings in hand—I thought it would be fun to put what I’d learned down on canvas,” she recalls. The resulting work of art, with its vibrant colors and primitive folk art style, is a modern icon that will speak to children and theologians alike.
Painting Revelation has drawn enthusiastic endorsements from Rob and Kristen Bell, founders of Mars Hill Bible Church; John Ortberg, author and teaching pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church; Brad Long, author and executive director of Presbyterian-Reformed Ministries International; and many other pastors and laypeople who have experienced Topliff’s unique view of the book of Revelation.
The 45-minute DVD is divided into five teaching sessions. Each section begins with a personal introduction filmed in the woods surrounding her Michigan home, then moves into her studio. Though the trend among many Revelation buffs has been attempting to decode every event and predict the likely identities of the characters and nations, Topliff clearly tells the story in words and pictures, much like the Apostle John must have experienced it.
“My intention is to show what the Bible actually says so you can uncover its meaning for your own life and receive the blessing promised to those who read and hear the words of this prophecy and take it to heart,” Topliff says.
In addition to the video, the DVD includes a 2-minute preview, a jpeg photo of the entire painting, a visual key and scripture guide to the painting, and a 6-week study guide with leader’s guide, discussion questions, charts, and worksheets. The DVD is appropriate for all ages and can be used in a variety of ways.
The DVD Painting Revelation: A Visual Exploration of the Last Book of the Bible ($24.95) is available for purchase through Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and www.paintingrevelation.com. A short clip from the video can be viewed on the website, as well as samples of the study materials.
“Debby is an extraordinary person—she lives with this profound sense that every moment matters, every conversation counts, and God might really be here with us, right here, right now. She reminds me that sometimes prophets use paintbrushes.”
—Rob Bell, author and founding pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church
Diane Morrow is Vice President of Publicity for The B&B Media Group based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
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