Introduction to the Book of Revelation
That’s what Christians think about the Book of Revelation. After all, what is there to like? The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? The Red Dragon? The bodies of the Two Witnesses lying dead for 3½ days? The Battle of Armageddon? The Whore of Babylon? Gog and Magog, whoever they are? The Great White Throne? The Lake of Fire?
On the plus side, the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven looks pretty good, but that’s somewhere off in the future. Nothing to do with me here and now. Leave Revelation to the specialists!
In fact, Revelation has everything to do with how we live as Christians, and what is going on around us in the spirit world.
I recently saw a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the middle of this drama, the spirit world (represented by Oberon, Titania and other fairies) collides with the ‘real’ world of the central characters, Hermia, Helena, Demetrius and Lysander. It dawned on me quite suddenly that the mortals had not the least awareness of the presence of the fairies and what they were up to, though we as the audience could see the whole thing.
So it is with us as Christians. We have our struggles and triumphs, our lives and our loves. We know that there is a spirit world, but we have only a limited understanding of its activity in our own lives or in the world around us.
The Book of Revelation – the very word Apocalypse means ‘unveiling’ – puts us in the stalls and invites us to view the whole drama of history. It’s a glorious panorama of the whole Church Age, from the resurrection right through to the end of all things. If Genesis is the seed-bed of the Bible, Revelation is the picture book, nothing added, nothing taken away.
Above all, it’s a book of hope:
Jesus Christ is central to the whole of history.
God’s in control.
He’s working His plan.
It can be painful at times in the here and now.
But God wins in the end, and if God wins, so do we. Even in the darkest moments – and some moments are very dark – God’s victory is never in doubt.
Sit back and enjoy the drama!
A Summary of Revelation
There are many approaches to interpreting Revelation. The best short introduction I have found is by the Bible Project in their two videos. Take time to view these. Get an idea of what the book is about and how it all fits together.
Download the graphic of the full slide and keep it by you as you read the book.
Also, ask the Holy Spirit to open it up to you as you read. If you are going through unfamiliar territory, a map and a compass are a must.
Above all, remember that Revelation is a book of hope!
Copyright © 2019 Henry Cairns-Terry. All rights reserved.