Reflections on Revelation #10

Day 10

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.” Rev 1:4-5 NASB. 

In the opening lines of most books, the author tries to bring the reader up to speed on his or her purpose for that book. The Book of Revelation is no exception. The first eight verses of the book form a prologue, in which the major themes and intentions for the book are laid out. The language of the Prologue (Rev 1:1-8), however, is different from the rest of the book. It is fairly normal and straightforward, the typical language of the New Testament. It is quite unlike the apocalyptic language of the rest of the book, which is filled with complex, symbolic images that have vexed interpreters for nearly 2000 years. 

What do you do with a book that describes animals with seven heads and ten horns that have the body of a leopard and feet like a bear (Rev 13:1-2)? What do you do with a book in which eagles speak (8:13), but gigantic cities are silent (18:22-23)? What do you do with a book in which blood flows as high as a horse’s bridle (14:20)? With images like that, it is no wonder that twelve people trying to interpret Revelation often will come up with thirteen different opinions about what the book means! 

The good news is that before you get into the bizarre stuff, John takes a moment to let you know why this book was written. And he does this in plain language, the language of straightforward prose. Yes, the Book of Revelation does have a strong focus on End-time events (Rev 1:1, 7). But above all else the theme of the book is Jesus. It comes from Him (1:1), it is His testimony (1:2), it is grounded in his death, His resurrection, and His work for us (1:5-6). The reader is not to forget this beginning, no matter how confusing the journey gets. 

You see, the Book of Revelation is like a riddle. And everybody loves riddles. Riddles present you with a puzzle that needs to be solved. Let me share one with you. “The majority of people on earth live within 80km of what place?” When most people hear this riddle, they start thinking about the world’s most populated places. They quickly realize that no place on earth has even a tenth of the world’s population located within an 80km radius, much less the majority. So, the solution to the riddle will not be found in a certain spot on the globe. What is the solution? Most people live within 80kms of the place in which they were born! Once you have the key to the riddle, the answer is obvious. In Revelation, the key to the riddle is Jesus Christ! 

The key that John has placed at the door of Revelation transforms its meaning. No matter how weird the images get, the correct interpretation of any passage will open up a clearer picture of Jesus. 

No Comments

Post A Comment