The Book of Revelation
I was caught by surprise, again! A friend asked if I’d do a bible study on the Book of Revelation. My answer was quick, “No.” Revelation has rarely been of interest for me. But within the week I began to read the Book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, again.
I’ve read it several times. I remember taking detailed notes of all the strange images: a beast, a dragon, creatures with seven heads and ten horns with seven crowns... or was it seven horns and ten heads and one head with a mortal wound?
You get it. It’s for the fan of science fiction, which I am not. There were sections of the letter that attracted me: the letters to the seven churches in chapters 2-3; or the vision of eternal life from chapters 21-22. But as I began to read this past month I was looking for something more, something different. And I found it!
The visions and revelations were recorded for the Church at a time when the believers were experiencing threats and danger from the secular world. Persecution was a very real tool of the government toward people who refused to recognize Caesar as a “god!” and Christians couldn’t accept the idea of pledging allegiance to anyone other than the Christ!
But as we read Revelation today, we come to understand that if the Church is living faithfully, serving Christ, then we, too, will experience opposition from “forces” in the world, (political forces, social and economical forces, and from personal relationships).
There is an obvious contrast - there must be a contrast – between the way the followers of Christ live, from the way others live for the world. So in that way, the Book speaks to us still!
When reading Revelation, look at what success and power means to these two opposite groups. Look at how the believers worship and who they worship! Look at the different powers that are described – between those who follow the kings of the earth and for the people of God. Contrast the loyalties of the Christ-followers versus the worldly people who will do anything to sustain a long and prosperous life. What looks like great victory for those who are selfish and powerful is an illusion compared to the lasting and eternal power of the One who was, who is, and always will be!
Most importantly, the Book of Revelation warns us – to know who you are and to whom you belong! Know that you are not of the world, and the pleasures and purposes of this temporary world have little for us. You are a child of God, and God has delivered you from a terrible connection to what is evil. So do not be deceived: the demands of worldly powers leaves you eternally defeated!
John records visions that warn Christians today not to be easily persuaded by the benefits or pleasures of a world that are driven by your self-interest and personal luxury. Our call to follow Jesus is a very select purpose as we build upon a relationship of faith in the Light of the World.
Study with me!
Leave a Reply.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Steele Memorial United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 346
733 Shaw Street
Barboursville, WV 25504