Revelation on Revelation

At the beginning of the book of Revelation it says this:

‘Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.’ Rev 1:3

Despite this, the book of Revelation is not often the subject of sermons or Bible studies and many Christians avoid it, because it seems so hard to understand.  There are, of course, a few much-loved passages within it, but as a general rule we tend to be selective about the bits we like reading.

The opening lines of the book tell us that the things described in it ‘must soon take place’.  There must, therefore, be things for eschatological communities to glean from it, since we know that Jesus’ return is much more imminent today than it was in John’s day.  With Israel back in her ancient homeland, secular humanism destroying the Judaeo-Christian heritage of the West, and liberalism and Eastern mysticism infiltrating and deceiving the church, we know the days are short before the final events preceding Jesus’ return.

So the book of Revelation has specific revelation for the end-time church, and a blessing is in store for all those who read it.  How about simply reading it aloud, and letting it sink into us, whilst praying for Holy Spirit revelation?  A different approach, since we’re not purporting to understand it all in advance, but confident that we’ll be blessed by hearing it, and assured that God has things to reveal and for us to understand.

A group of us decided to do just that.  At the first get-together, we read just one chapter four times over the course of the evening, and meditated, cogitated and grappled with what we heard, praying into the insights we shared.  It was one of the most worshipful, prayerful and refreshing times we’ve spent together! 

As a lover of the Bible, over the years there are few things I’ve enjoyed more than an in-depth Bible study on a book of the Bible or a topic contained within the Bible’s pages.  I’ve enjoyed brilliant Bible teaching at conferences and events such as Spring Harvest too, and to partake in the wisdom and insights of eminent Bible scholars is a real privilege.  In contrast, meeting with a small bunch of believers to read a book aloud, simply relying on the Holy Spirit to illumine it, is a different approach, but one I thoroughly recommend. 

As fledgling eschatological communities spring into life, I believe the book of Revelation will be one of the key scriptures they turn to.  Its content will be revealed like never before, for such a time as this, and the readers will be blessed beyond belief.


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