The last time I was at the theatre I saw, ‘Pressure,’ a play about the Scots weather-man who persuaded Ike to wait 24 hours to launch D-Day, thus ensuring its success. It was funny, poignant and dramatic, revealing ‘behind the scenes’ events of the greatest sea-borne invasion the world has ever known. But it could have been a disaster because of the weather. A day’s delay gave them an open door for a few hours, and through that door they entered continental Europe to bring deliverance. The events on which the play was based had taken place seventy years before, and doubtless the dialogue was an imaginative reconstruction of conversations that might have taken place, stitching the whole narrative together.
When we take our seats to wait for a play to begin, the stage curtains are closed. As they are drawn back, we are invited into a different world from the one in which we are living; we are being given a new interpretation of reality to consider. ‘Apocalypse’ is the word that was used to convey this sense of revelation – it is the unveiling of something previously hidden to us.
Reading the Book of Revelation is a bit like going to the theatre. John the Seer is drawing back the curtains on the great story of the world and its destiny. He is opening a door for us to enter into the story, and give us a new perspective on the reality around us – sometimes a very strange way of seeing it, but a way that takes us to the heart of what it means.
As we open the pages of his book, the curtains are drawing back. He invites us to step out of our reality and into his so that we might, at the end, have a deeper understanding of the reality in which we are living, and where it is heading.