The book of Revelation gets a bad rap. Actually, it gets the worst rap. Most people avoid it because they are scared of beasts and dragons. There is so much confusion regarding the meaning of the vision that most think it better to just leave it be. On the other extreme, the book of Revelation is frequently misinterpreted, especially by those seeking to predict the end of the world. Even well meaning Christians can get obsessed with trying to identify elements in Revelation in current world events. Are the fire breathing locusts really apache helicopters? For some, interpretive restraint is simply impossible.
God has given us the book of Revelation as part of his inerrant word. He wants us to benefit from it. While most of Revelation deals with the future, the point of this revelation is to impact our present. For this reason, we need to reclaim Revelation from apocalyptic enthusiasts and from relegation to the back room of our spiritual lives.
There is so much in Revelation that is immediately relevant and applicable in our lives. In Revelation the Spirit of God stokes the fire of faith in our hearts as we live in the midst of a corrupt, sinful world. In Revelation God speaks to issues of worship, persecution, judgment of sin, integrity, sexual purity, politics, economics, witness to the world around us, how to be a Christian in the world of business, how to relate to secular society and culture, and more.
Revelation is not meant to give us a timeline of future events. To read it for this purpose is to miss the point. We will learn some very important truths about the future in Revelation, but none of those are meant to give us a play by play map so that we can predict the end of the world.
So let’s take Revelation back. Let’s seriously look at this neglected and abused part of God’s word. Let’s take time to consider how God wants us to change now in light of what is coming.