The appointed time is near. 

It’s probably no surprise that many people shy away from the Book of Revelation. It’s full of graphic language about cosmic events that we find hard to understand, let alone identify with! We are dimly aware that some religious leaders have associated certain world leaders and institutions with the evil forces portrayed in Revelation. Others have used this book to make specific predictions about what will happen in the future. And when these predictions fail to materialize (at least in the anticipated way), new theories are born. So how could ordinary believers like ourselves hope to make sense of this puzzling book?

Actually, Revelation wasn’t so puzzling to John’s first readers. Most of them were familiar with imagery like the moon turning to blood and stars falling from the sky. Earlier writers like Isaiah and Joel had used word pictures like these to talk about God’s action in bringing down power-hungry empires and upending a status quo in which the rich continued to exploit the poor.

Because they themselves were being persecuted for proclaiming Jesus as Lord rather than Caesar, John’s readers knew that he was using language that could both veil and reveal. A pagan reader might have dismissed Revelation as little more than an imaginative story. But a faithful Christian would have found assurance in it that God had not abandoned his people. He was very much at work, moving history forward to its climax when Jesus would return in glory. This vision of a world totally renewed in the love of its Creator gave them hope in their darkest hours.

As we turn again to the Book of Revelation at the end of the Church year, let’s catch the spirit of those early followers. Let’s look up to see the Lamb enthroned, eager to transform us and our world in the light of his glory. He is coming soon! Let’s be sure our preparations for his return are motivated by that “love [we] had at first” (Revelation 2:4), the love that Jesus had for us before we even began to respond to him.

“Come, Lord Jesus! Make me ready and eager to welcome you, both in my day today and when you return to bring me to your heavenly home.”

Revelation 1:1-4, 2:1-5
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Luke 18:35-43


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