Don't fear the Book of Revelation, read it
- 1999 1 Jan
- Read it. God promises to bless you just for reading the book. Understanding will come when you finally arrive at heaven (Rev. 1:3).
- Finish it. This book had a good ending: God wins. Satan, who made his first appearance in the first pages of Genesis, is finally defeated, and Jesus rules unchallenged for the rest of eternity.
- Read a chain-letter. Revelation actually is a letter to seven churches in what is now Turkey. John was celebrating the Lord's Day when a loud voice came up from behind and instructed him to write down everything he was about to see.
- Enjoy the story. John did his best to describe the indescribable heaven. He provided more than 300 vivid symbols: pictures of things we do know to help us form an understanding of what we cannot fully know. His symbols are clear: lampstand, eagle, lion, lamb, scroll, etc. We know what these things look like, so he used them to describe what we've never seen. What's really mind boggling is that we have the play-by-play account of a showdown that hasn't even happened yet.
- Learn from the letter. The messages to the seven churches were appropriate for the particular churches of that day, but also for church conditions in congregations today. This is not an outdated letter by any means.
- Side with the victor. Jesus returns to fight a victorious battle over Satan and his evil forces. God puts a stop to it all by casting Satan into hell forever and ever. Finally, God starts fresh with a brand-new heaven and earth. This unblemished world includes a new Jerusalem, constructed of gold and jewels where the saints (believers) will live forever.
- Savor the history. Reading Revelation challenges the skills you've learned in other Bible sections. It contains history of the past and the future.
- Relish the poetry. It reads best when you form the pictures in your head. Most of John's word-pictures are incomprehensible in the literal sense. Remember that he's describing governments, technology, and weapons of war that didn't exist in his day. Use your modern-day imagination to ponder what he might have been describing.
- Anticipate the prophecy. God told Isaiah that Jesus was coming, then delivered as promised. This same God told John that Jesus was coming back. In both cases the prophecies even name the arrival gate: last time He arrived in a Bethlehem barn; next time he's showing up in grand style, for all the world to see.
- Don't look for a specific date. God has sent us a life-or-death alert: Christ is coming back. Be ready. The clincher: we don't know the arrival time. The message for you is to be ready so that no matter when He comes, you will be ready.
- Get right with God through Jesus. He's the only one who can rescue you from the trouble ahead. Call out, Come, Lord Jesus! and He will. Immediately, in the spirit. And soon, in the flesh (Rev. 22:20).
Taken from 21 Days to Enjoying Your Bible by Todd Temple. Copyright (c) 1998 by Todd Temple. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1-800-727-3480.
Todd Temple is the author or co-author of 16 books for teen-agers and adults, including Creative Dating. He lives in Del Mar, Calif.