For years the book of Revelation scared the lights out of me. Multi-headed monsters rising out of the oceans. Locust looking helicopters. one-world anti-Christ. Mark of the beast. Slaughter, blood-gushing apocalypse. Not even Hollywood could make this stuff up (though they often try).
I used to believe that John was taken up into heaven where he received the best seat in the house to the biggest IMAX pre-viewing apocalyptic not-yet-released movie in history. But no one has ever been able to understand the graphic images of God’s apocalyptic saga until Hal Lindsay and Tim LaHay came along to explain them to us.
But one day it occurred to me, Revelation means, well, “revelation”. The opposite of “hidden”. John wrote the book of Revelation in our real space-time continuum. It did not drop out of heaven on golden tablets waiting to be revealed in the last seven years of human history. And I wonder,
could it have
might it have
by the original
My facebook friend, Larry Garcia, believes they did and he wrote a note summarizing how he believes the original recipients of John’s provocative letter would have understood it. In the midst of intense persecution by the Roman Empire, seven churches in Asia Minor received a letter by the Apostle John, and this is how they understood the message they received:
“I know Caesar, Rome, and all of its so-called benefits are tempting you to grant them the faith and worship due to the one creator God and his King Jesus alone. I understand that Rome’s military glory is incomparable to anything like it before, and that their constant military victories seem to proclaim unambiguously that the goddess Victoria herself is marching with Caesar’s legions. But don’t be fooled, the goddess Roma is but a greedy self-indulgent municipal rebel; their promises of peace and security when seen for what they are are nothing but violence, exploitation, and a ravaging of the good earth and it resources which are meant to be shared by all. Don’t be intoxicated by her version of victory by way of war, but look at the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who is no sword wielding Pompey or Augustus, but a Lamb that had been slain. Look also at the saints, who by the witness of their martyrdom testify to all, that there is another way to be human, another kingdom and yes, another King; not Caesar, but Jesus, who will not bring famine, pestilence, and sword, but healing justice, wholeness, and a hand that will wipe away all tears. Therefore saints, trust him, pledge your allegiance to him, and know for certain that in God’s new world all his saints will be royal priests ruling, reigning, and worshiping him in God’s new creation; a cosmic temple where God’s presence rests in a total reversal of the fall. “He who has an ear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the seven churches”.”
Used with permission. Slightly modified.