You Say You Want a Revelation

My apologies to John Lennon for using a line from one of his songs but I couldn’t help it. I have been looking into the Book of Revelation over the last week or so and this line kept going through my head. I have always wondered about this book as it seems pretty scary until you take the time to look at it more closely.

This book describes a vision that came to the apostle John from Jesus on what was about to happen. Now like every other book in the bible there is plenty of disagreement as to who actually wrote the book but I beleive it was John.

Revelation (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture)believe it was John. If you have never read Revelation think of it as another Lennon classic, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” with a biblical background.

The book is full of symbolism.Many people, including myself until I actually studied it, believe this is a prophecy of the end of the world and what is going to come. Others believe it is a vision of the fall of Jerusalem and eventually the fall of the Roman empire. And yet another school of thought believes it is both. This is where I stand.

For centuries people have read this book and have tried to fit the world of today into the signs that Jesus revealed. They try to use this book (and others) to predict when the end of the world is coming.  There are two problems with these lines of thought:

  • As we are told in Scripture: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” – MT 24:36 No matter how hard we try we won’t be able to determine when this is going to happen.
  • This book was written almost two thousand years ago and needs to be understood using the symbolism of the times. Jesus wanted the hearers of these visions to be able to understand them at the time he was writing them.

It was written at the time the church was being persecuted by the Romans, including both Judaism and the newly formed Christian church. He was warning them about this and what they would need to do. If we look back to this time, we can see that the symbolism fits the times and what happens.

But what about the other books of the bible? The prophetic books of the Old Testament are full of the death and destruction to come, but when you look at Revelation, the symbols there are all taken from those books. This leads me to believe they are also foretelling the fall of Jerusalem as well. (Fortunately, there are bunches of people smarter than me who already have figured this out.)

What about the New Testament? Jesus seems to do a lot of talking about the end times and what will happen then. Is he talking about the world or just Jerusalem? My not so learned opinion is both. He talks about his second coming and this would be the end times. Some of the other things he talks about refer to Jerusalem and the Roman Empire.

Why am I writing about this? Because there is a lesson for all of us to learn from the Book of Revelation. I always talk about “Living with the End in Mind” and that is the lesson here. There are only two choices we can make in our life. We can choose Jesus or we can choose Satan. There is no middle ground. We can’t hedge our bets. It is one or the other. Our choice will determine where we will end up on Judgement Day, where we will spend the end. Revelation reveals the two choices and what they will be like. One isn’t very pleasant.

Making this choice is not easy in today’s world. Satan’s pull is greater than ever. I believe this is because he knows his end is near. He wants as many of us to go with him before he is destroyed. We need to resist his advances. He comes after us in all forms, in all ways. We can’t shut ourselves off from all of this, but we need to stay alert so we know what comes from Jesus and what comes from Satan. Sometimes the difference can be subtle which is why we need to stay awake.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” – RV 21: 1 – 4

To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” – RV 21: 6 – 8

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