Revelation is a powerful read. Unfortunately, it has been strangely interpreted, misinterpreted, and often relegated to the pile of “Don’t read this it’s too mysterious.”
The Revelation is a vision given to the Apostle John, who wrote down what God revealed to him. Then, as a letter, it was first given to seven churches in Asia Minor. The letters goal was to encourage and inspire the followers of Jesus in these churches to stay strong even though the Mighty boot of the Roman Empire seemed to be firmly on their neck.
Somehow over the millenia, it became something it was never intended to be. People created elaborate time-line charts and terrifying images that would scare the bravest of us, right? Although Jesus told us that no one would know the day or the hour of His return, we have well over 300 documented predictions, all of which did not come true.
The Revelation notes that it was framing events from the past, in the 1st-century present and the future. Over the years it became all about the future (except for the first 3 chapters and perhaps the fourth). Predictions concerning the identity of the Beast, the Anti-Christ, what taking the 666 mark would be, all found their explanations in a futuristic world that nightmares are made of.
This view has lead to some pretty crazy speculations which created end-times movies who needed heroes like Kirk Cameron and Nicholas Cage! Things that make you go hmmm.
Revelation does indeed have some images of the future, however, that is reserved for the final two chapters. The rest of the book would have been completely understood by the hearers of the letter in their day because most of the letter covers “what was” and “what is.”
The over-arching goal of the Revelation aimed to provide hope to some pretty worn out followers of Jesus. God longed to build up their faith, inspire courage and communicate that He was with them in the midst of their struggle.
God identified with them and promised there soon would be a new kingdom where pain, death, violence, and darkness would be done away with forever.
The Revelation crescendos toward the renewal of all things in the most beautiful and intimate of words and images, images that should leave us breathless and longing for Christ’s return.
If your understanding of the Revelation is dark, scary and hopeless, I encourage you to grab a copy of my book and find faith, hope, and love.
Get your copy here: Rescuing Revelation