Reflections on Revelation #150

Day 150

“Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder and sounds, and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.” Rev 8:5-6. NASB.

This is a well-worn story, but it fits with our text. At 8 PM on October 30, 1938, Orson Welles began the “The Mercury Theatre On Air” program with a fake weather forecast, followed by music from a dance band. He interrupted the music with a series of news flashes about explosions on the planet Mars followed by the arrival of a strange cylinder. 

Many listeners, stumbling onto Mercury Theatre on the Air were drawn in by the seemingly live news flashes. There were fake interviews with crowd noise and police sirens in the background. Fearful creatures were reported trashing New Jersey neighbourhoods and fields. Deaths of police and civilians were reported as if they were actually happening. The aliens from Mars were attacking everything and everyone. Nothing seemed able to stop them. 

The imagination of the listeners began running wild. There was mass panic across the nation. Church services were interrupted and then dismissed. People contemplated suicide rather than fall into the “hands” of the invading monsters. Even highly educated scientists were duped. 

In Fayetteville, Indiana, the Nickless family became concerned for their lives. They collected the children and drove 3kms over to grandfather’s house. Grandpa was a solid man with solid values. He would know what to do. By the time they arrived at Grandpa’s they were almost hysterical. They shouted, “Turn on the radio!” Grandpa listened for a bit and then began to laugh. He told them it was a hoax. It was just a radio program. 

“How do you know?” they shouted. 

He picked up his Bible and said, “According to this, the world won’t end like that.” He reminded them of Revelation and its outcome. In a while, the Nickless family calmed down and returned home to put the children to bed. Grandpa was right. 

Strange things have occurred and will occur in this world. The trumpets of Revelation don’t hide the premonition of disaster. But Revelation was not written to terrify us. Instead, it assures us that, no matter how bad things get, it will turn out all right in the end. 

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