Thursday, April 20, 2017

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Book of Revelation

Ted uses some Book of Revelation logic to motivate his little girls'
soft ball team. 
When I was a kid the Book of Revelation (last book in the New Testament) was used to scare the bejeebers out of me and other folks on a regular basis.  There were preachers who used this book of the Bible exclusively.  It got the job done in an expedient way.

The Book of Revelation - Scaring the Hell Out of Us for the Last 2000 Years!

When I got older and became a Methodist I quit reading it.  And then, in 2005 one of my ministers asked that I teach a class on Revelation.  I patiently explained why that would be impossible since it had seriously traumatized me as a child, etc.  She said, That's the reason you need to teach this class.

So I did.  But not until after weeks and weeks of study - and interviewing people.  I learned that many folks had the same childhood experience I did and wanted nothing to do with it.  A friend who is a very spiritual artist surprised me by telling me she loved the book.  But then let me know it was because of the imagery.  I could understand that.  Right off the bat we're given this description:

I saw a gold menorah with seven branches,
And in the center, the Son of Man,
in a robe and gold breastplate,
hair a blizzard of white,
Eyes pouring fire-blaze...

Who wouldn't want to capture that on canvas?

I Googled The Book of Revelation this morning and found Nineteen million, three hundred thousand references.  There are literally thousands and thousands of interpretations of the symbolism in the book.  The man who wrote it was in exile on the island of Patmos and had a fever dream about seven churches. The number seven is prominent in Revelation.

Who was it written for?  The people in the seven churches?  The next generation?  Us?  I'm not sure.

Writers of horror stories have had a field day with Revelation.  It's gory, to say the least.  In chapter 16 there are seven bowls filled with seven disasters - like malignant sores, oceans turned into blood and cities destroyed.

Since the first of the year I've been rereading the New Testament.  I'm now delving into the Book of Revelation once more.  How am I feeling?  I love it.  Am I terrified?  No.  I've come to it this time already having pretty clear understanding of the nature of God.