Reflections on Revelation #90

Day 90 

“And before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature like a calf, the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say.” Rev 4:6-8 NASB.

In this passage, we run into a group of four “living things,” the first of many strange and unusual creatures in the Book of Revelation. These four living creatures are full of eyes and have six wings each. Each of them reminds one of a completely different creature. This reminds me of one of the most popular cartoon movies of all time, known as The Lion King. It appears on the surface to be an animal story, but it’s not actually about animals. It is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The animals in the story represent people and how they relate to each other. The Lion King is, in fact, an African apocalypse. The cartoon portrays a perfect world, where everything is in balance and harmony. That world is then destroyed by the forces of evil and eventually restored by the heroic actions of a son. Revelation is a lot like that. 

Writers of books and cartoons have often used animals to illustrate how people and groups of people behave. We find it easier to recognize ourselves and our behaviours if the insight comes through a story about animals. If a writer tries to make sensitive points more directly, we tend to resist or reject them because we feel under attack. 

That’s what makes the Book of Revelation so powerful. Although it reads like an animal story, it’s not really about animals. It is more like a cartoon drama about the interactions among groups of people, both good and evil. It is about the relationship between God and the human race, and how the course of human history is going to turn out. 

Why then do people find the Book of Revelation so tough to understand? It’s because the drama of Revelation was not created in the 1990s, it was written in the 90s to a group of seven churches in the Roman Province of Asia. When it was written, God was speaking their language and encouraging them in their situation. But in His message to them, God was creating an animated drama that would continue to inspire His people for nearly 2000 years.

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