Revisiting Revelation

I’m in the middle of a class on the book of Revelation at Brentwood Baptist Church. Actually, I started in the middle of the class after another one I was in ended.

This book is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of imagery. Some of it’s pretty, but some of it is unsettling and disturbing.

There’s also quite a bit of disagreement on what it all means. I’ve come to decide that there are people on all sides that are strong believers with solid theology who have come to different conclusions about this book.

There are a few things that most everybody agrees with when it comes to Revelation:

  1. The hardest part of the story is never the last part. There may be a lot of darkness but there are also much brighter days ahead when Jesus truly comes back for his Bride the Church.
  2. The good guys really do win. That is, Jesus wins. Good overcomes evil and justice prevails over injustice. There’s not a wrong that won’t be made right when Jesus comes in sight.
  3. Worship is still the best witness. I don’t mean just singing hymns or worship choruses. I mean a daily life of sacrifice and surrender, of renewal and transformation. I mean a life that declares the worth and glory of God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  4. The end of the story is really only the real beginning. I still love how C. S. Lewis puts it inThe Last Battle where he says that all of history was just the title page and preface while eternity is where the real story begins– a story that gets better and better with each new chapter.

Having said all that, I confess that this particular class still makes my head hurt. I really can’t keep up with all the dragons and beasts and bowls and trumpets and all that other imagery.

It helps to keep in mind that John wrote this book to believers undergoing incredible persecution and torture for their faith. The purpose was (and still is) to show that no matter how bad and hard life gets, God will always have the last word.

 

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One thought on “Revisiting Revelation

  1. Mrs Z advises: Study The Revelation and Church History at the same time.
    It also helps to recognise that ‘the end time’ for each of us is death regardless of events described in The Revelation.
    Another helpful book is: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Recognising and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen.

    Most churches teach a version of grace which is illogical. Grace gets us into the Kingdom of heaven but from then on God (the church) becomes a hard task master. Salvation is free, sanctification is hard work. The result is a lot of anxiety about our performance, and hypocrisy and legalism – darkness as light.

    I really liked your post on 18000 steps. We write better when we are being honest. My experience of church was as a friend who made a lot of promises but never really showed up and whose apologies were shallow, if an apology was even present.

    Most Christians only care about their own performance you see. The Good News is about Jesus being perfect – not us. When we focus on sin it is usually the sin we or someone else might see. Yet there is jealousy, lust, greed, selfishness, hypocrisy ready to overcome every man/women at every step. If you expect sin to be dead in you and that God is displeased or even surprised at your sinful nature you are probably in a spiritually abusive system.

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