I am only moments into my Study Leave, and already I’m becoming immersed in the text and the ethos of the book.
In an attempt to link the academic study of this enigmatic text with its ultimate spiritual purpose of shaping who we are, I’m using Tom Wright’s Revelation for Everyone together with the Common English Bible (not the translation I normally use) and the Greek text of NA28 for morning personal devotions. But in the background I have also put together a playlist of songs that take up themes of the book and express them in music and song. Oh, and a mug of coffee to sharpen the mind.
The immediate impact on me of this juxtaposition is the realisation that three major themes of the book stand together: worship, witness and winning. We cannot do other than bow down before the one who speaks with a loud voice and whose eyes are flaming fire, because he was, is and is coming. The dramatic and impressionistic descriptions of Revelation are to provoke worship, and they do.
The ‘John’ who has these visions is already bearing witness of Jesus (not sure if this is an objective or subjective genitive, but no matter) and inspiring steadfastness in testifying, despite present and predicted suffering at the hands of the Evil Empire, is another part of John’s purpose. If you worship and witness for Jesus, you are most likely to suffer for your faith, perhaps even die.
But in the end, the Evil Empire will not win. Instead, it is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who will win. Longsuffering faith will be vindicated, justice will be dispensed and those who have suffered for their testimony will be honoured, every tear being wiped from every eye. Amid threats and persecution, John brings to us a word of hope, the hope of the victory of the Slain Lamb.
My immediate response to this book is, ‘This is for me in my time,’ and my prayer is that I will be able to covey to others that it is also for them in their time.
In God Alone
I Hear Angels
We All Bow Down
Jenkins: God Shall Wipe Away All Tears