A Less Desirable Alternative.
As rumbles of conspiracy theories fly around conversations these days and the themes around the end of the world as we know it has surfaced once again, this pandemic continues to become a less desirable alternative to how life looked a year and a half ago. The chaos that surrounds us can leave us all feeling pretty spaced out, right? (sorry, that was a terribly bad pun) However, it’s in times like this I find the book of Revelation becomes a fresh commission to ingest into my spiritual life, a call to arms to know God has the victory, and a reminder to me that no matter what happens Satan’s time is limited.
This apocalyptic book has been so misinterpreted over the years because of all the bells and whistles of what could look like a Jason Statham blockbuster movie script. As its larger-than-life imagery fuels our creative imaginations, it can lead us to the point where we’re just waiting for God to pull the plug on production and roll out the end credits. A less desirable alternative of being “left behind” makes the reader believe that Revelation is all doom and gloom. However, if we take a step back and view John’s visions as a fresh revelation of God’s sovereignty, we’ll see that this book shouldn’t be treated like the monster under the bed.
Every writer knows that all good stories go full circle and a good narrative ends where it began. Just like the hero’s journey, the story of rescue and redemption started in the Garden of Eden and ended in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was betrayed and arrested. If we take a look at Peter’s story, he went back to fishing when Jesus was crucified which was exactly where he was when Jesus asked Him to “come, follow Me.” Revelation circles back and it reminds us that God, who created the world, is going to make all things new and He’s going to do it by rescuing, restoring and rebuilding.
If we are to step toward the future God has for us as a Church confidently, we must learn to not set the past on fire and burn bridges along with it. As Erwin McManus warns, “do not confuse setting your past on fire with burning bridges you may need to cross one day.” Burning the bridge of the Old Testament will stop us from crossing into the book of Revelation safely as this book is steeped in Exodus, Daniel, and Ezekiel language that could be missed if we choose to focus on the spectacle.
The goal of Revelation isn’t to create fear and negativity in people but to bring the promise and good news of salvation. It’s about choosing sides, a call to an adventure, a greater sense of God’s presence and order in the swirling chaos that surrounds this world. But isn’t Revelation chaotic? I’ll admit, the list of fantasy characters sound more like something from a Harry Potter novel rather than a biblical book.
Satan would like nothing more than to see you live out a less desirable alternative than what God has for you. He knows he has been defeated by Jesus dying on the cross and he does not like that fact one little bit. As believers we cannot underestimate the lengths he’ll go to in his ability to derail our faith.
However, the book of Revelation is like Dorothy’s dog, Toto, in The Wizard Of Oz, when the dog pulls back the curtain to reveal a conman who’s pretending and spectacle of being an all-powerful Wizard to make people fear him becomes a farce. Revelation is God pulling back the curtain on a conman called, Satan, whose trickery doesn’t work on the people who overcome his tests and trials. If anything, the testing just makes believers more determined to progress in their spiritual walk that will help take us all to the next level in our faith.
Even in our postmodern age, Revelation continues to look and smell like a “fringy, apocalyptic weirdo” as Timothy Beal puts it, that seems displaced and exiled just like its author, John, somehow never quite fitting into our average Sunday morning encouragement sermon. Nevertheless, if we chose to live a life that is a less desirable alternative than the one Jesus died for, then we as believers are not living in the fullness of our salvation.
God is the beginning and He is the end. The Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He IS the greatest story ever told and He goes full circle. He is, “the Originator, Jesus is the Revealer, and the Spirit is the Completer of the divine program” as Stanley Grenz says. The Trinity continues to respond to people even though we are rebellious, even though we continue to mess up, even though we fall short all the time.
So, why not give Revelation a go in your Bible devotional and let it change the way you think. We don’t need to live a life that is a less desirable alternative than Jesus died for. God lifts our faces from our current circumstances so we look upwards and onwards to the most beautiful verse in the Bible, Revelation 22:4…
‘They shall see His face’
And that is totally worth waiting for!
Do you find the book of Revelation scary or fascinating? Have you learned something new about the book of Revelation in this post? How does reading about how the enemy’s time is short-lived help in your spiritual life during these turbulent times? I would love to hear your thoughts!