Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Revelation: A Story Of Hope
So, the book of Revelation...
Revelation is one of the most confusing, and therefore most misinterpreted and misused, books in the Bible. Other than Leviticus, Revelation might be the least read book among people I've talked to. As one of the teens in my last congregation put it, "I don't know what it means and it scares me." I understand the sentiment, but it also makes me sad. Revelation is a great book, and let me explain why.
Imagine you're sitting at a sports event and you've bet your entire life savings on Team A. By all outward appearances, it looks as if Team B is going to win. If they do, your life is over. I would imagine you might be in a state of panic. Now imagine, watching that game on TV a week later knowing that Team A won after all. No panic. No emotional melt down. Yes, you still find yourself caught up in the excitement of the game, but you know who wins, so now you can just enjoy the game.
That's the book of Revelation in a nutshell. God wins. His people win. In spite of the fact that all outward appearances suggest otherwise (so, for the first century Christians, that Rome would clean up), the opposite happens in the end. Revelation is a book of hope, not destruction. It is a book that ends by heaven coming down to earth, not earth being wiped out. It is a book that ends with God among his creation, not people getting left behind.
So what does all that mean? It means we can all relax a bit. Yes, get caught up in the game, after all, we're still in the middle of it. Shout and cheer or cry out when the opposing team scores a point, but know that we win. Our lives are not a waste. Play hard. Play to win, but don't give up if it looks like we wont. We know the end of the story. We win.
Granted, there are a whole lot of confusing details I'm not going into. Granted, there are a whole plethora of ridiculous interpretations regarding those confusing details that I'm also not going into. There's a reason for that. With the book of Revelation, it's easy to miss the forest for the trees. The trees are pretty and interesting to look at, but if we miss the forest, we missed the point.
The forest: we win!