The Book of Revelation in 5 easy minutes

I was listening to Revelation this week and thought I’d update this.  I added the last bullet and tweaked a few things.

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Revelation is one of the most challenging books in the Bible because of all the symbolism and imagery. There are divergent views within orthodox Christianity on how to interpret it, and what makes it more challenging is that there are some seriously smart, highly respected people in nearly every camp.

I don’t get too worked up about people in the orthodox camps, though I reject the pre-tribulation rapture of the Left Behind series.  Sadly, too many people read several thousand pages of that series yet haven’t read all the Bible or even all of Revelation.

I know enough about Bible prophecy that the prophecies will always be right, but some of them aren’t that simple to understand. But there are several important points from Revelation that are very clear:

  • God wins in the end, and 2nd place isn’t even close. If it were a movie, you’d ask for your money back because the fight scene was too short.
    • Revelation 20:7-10 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
  • Jesus has some strong messages for the church – see chapters 2 and 3.  Read those and ask if Jesus was being loving (Hint: He was, but not in the watered-down way people think of).  Which church do you think we are most like in the U.S. today?  I think it is Laodicea.
  • Jesus is coming back, and He is full of righteous anger. Justice will be served.
  • Heaven will be awesome (I try to only use the word awesome to describe God and Heaven, so I mean that in the most powerful sense).
  • There is a Heaven and there is a Hell. Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.
  • Satan isn’t in charge of Hell and won’t want to be there.  He and his demons will be sent there to be punished.
  • There is no 2nd chance to repent after death (also see Hebrews 9:27). When God’s final judgment is coming about the non-believers still don’t repent. They just curse God all the more. Those advancing the “2nd chance” argument ignore that often times rebels will willingly take the punishment rather than relinquish their pride (people who have raised children may be nodding their heads at that!).  Note these passages from chapter 16:
    • 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

2 thoughts on “The Book of Revelation in 5 easy minutes”

  1. I’d only add that Revelation says nearly as much (or possibly more) about the Church right now in the world as the end of the World (heaven, hell and all of that). A major theme is perseverance, especially in the face of a hostile world. Look at how each of the letters to the seven churches end “To the one who endures/perseveres…” Don’t focus so much on the wonder and majesty of the not yet that we neglect the here and now (which will be transformed, it’s a new Jerusalem as well).

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  2. I have had a lot of questions from my High School Sunday School students over the years about this. I have read 5 or 6 commentaries and watched a video series on the subject. I think the best comment I read is that we should assume that any Christian with the help of the Holy Spirit should be able to understand what he needs from the book.
    I think the most important thing to remember is that when the world thinks God is impotent and we are living in a post-Christian world, that should only add to our faith because He told us it would be that way.
    I personally also think it is likely we may misunderstand end times prophecies as much as the Jews misunderstood the prophecies of the messiah.

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