We’re studying Revelation this week. I’m taking a breather right now to digest what we’ve heard in class and read thus far.
Just as the book itself seems to depict layers of the same “event” and from different perspectives, I have had layers of reactions to it and tried to view it from different perspectives. For a book with so much potential to confuse, I love one of the opening statements…
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” Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (1:3)
If you’re like me, you just don’t read Revelation ever… except maybe pieces. Over the years I have especially loved chapter 21 which talks about heaven. I have also loved the letters to the churches in the first 3 chapters because there are practical things in there I can relate to. Don’t be lukewarm in your faith, don’t give up, remember that enduring to the end leads to eternal reward… stuff like that….
When a few of us read it aloud together on Sunday it may have been the first time I’ve read it all the way through? Maybe? I have certainly heard it referenced a lot over the years. People talk about the possibilities of its fulfillment in a way that now seems amazing… they speak with such certainty. So-and-so is the anti-christ, this other thing will be the “mark of the beast”, etc. As if movies and fictional book series can do a better job than John himself at conveying this spiritual vision he saw.
All of those categories that people of a theological bent like to put themselves in- Post Millennialism, Dispensational Premillenialism…. words that if you have not heard, don’t feel bad, neither has my spell check. Then there’s Preterism, Futurism and a few other isms about when all of the stuff in Revelation will take (or has taken) place… how they will take place… literally? symbolically?
Even this week as I am gaining new understanding, I am still far from real understanding. At some points in my reading I want to cry because I’m so filled with awe about who God is, I want to worship. Other times I want to just shut the book because it stops making sense to me. But also? Seeing Jesus more clearly in this book makes me hunger to keep it open and keep reading.
I love that regardless of how this prophesy has, is, or will play out, God is the beautiful victor. He is full of love and power and He is WORTHY. Above all, He is worthy.
What do you think? Have you read Revelation? Are you sure you know what it all really means? Do you see Jesus in there?