I remember going to youth group at church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. The older I grew, the more advanced the subject matter would be. As my friends and I made it to Jr. and Sr. High, our youth leaders would ask us from time to time what we would like to study. I would always ask if we could study the book of Revelation, and the response back was always the same. We never did, and my suggestion was never given any serious consideration. I always saw Revelation as a book shrouded in mystery, and in it were locked secrets about Christ’s return, the end of the world, global conflict, and the like. I thought that sounded really awe-some, and I wanted someone to unlock it for me.
Today, the shoe is on the other foot for me. I teach a high school Sunday School class, and recently I asked my class what they might want to study after we finished studying the book of Ephesians. After a couple of different suggestions, several of them suggested that we look at Revelation. I immediately bristled at the suggestion. Frankly, I knew very little about the last book in the New Testament. I did not have the first idea how I would ever teach it to others in a Bible study setting. I did see an opportunity to face the challenge head on and at least teach these bright young ones that there is absolutely nothing to fear in studying God’s word. But first, I had to believe and live by those words myself.
To prepare myself to teach the book, I turned to a source I frequently look to for simple clarity and insight into the scriptures. Years ago, Pastor Chuck Swindoll did a complete survey of the Bible giving a synopsis of each book. I knew Chuck would be able to help me at least get started on the big picture of the book of Revelation. Upon listening to his tapes, I then started to see several fallacies in the way I have always thought of the book. As a youth, I would ask if we could study the book for several reasons. First, it was so mysterious, and mystery invites intrigue and the desire for discovery. Plus, I felt about it just like a child does when his mom tells him not to look in a certain closet in the house because she has hidden something there for him. All you can think about is getting into the closet. Being told not to look make you ever more curious.
Mostly though, I wanted to explore the mysteries of the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ. That I where is was off from the beginning and from a young age at that. I wanted to be able to do what Christ himself said was not possible. I wanted to know how and when the world would end. My motives were all wrong and against God’s will. I had to get myself straight on this before I could go any further. I asked for God’s forgiveness and then for clarity and understanding on how He would like me to proceed in learning from this book. I also wanted direction on how and if I should present it to the young people in my Bible study. God graciously gave me the answer and the direction to proceed, and I have learned so much from the book of Revelation.
Revelation is part of the masterwork of God’s Bible, and it is joined with all of the other books sharing the same threads. A God of love created the universe and man in His own image. Man fell into sin which separated man from God. God sent His son Jesus Christ to die for man’s sins and conquer sin and death. Jesus Christ will return again to earth and put away Satan (sin) forever. I believe these words can sum up the book of Revelation in a very broad sense, and they could sum up the other books of the Bible as well. There is nothing mysterious to these common threads sewn throughout God’s word. Revelation just happens to be written using much symbolism with prophecy mixed in that it is hard for the average guy like me to understand. Are there some secrets and mysteries tucked away in the verses of the book? I have no doubt there are! God is so wondrous how he communicates to us what he needs to over time. For me now, I leave the prophecy and secrecy to those who might better understand it in the contexts of history or church symbolism. What I do see in Revelation now is the need for all to seek the Savior Jesus Christ and for the believer to be ready when He returns to claim His Kingdom on Earth.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 17 No 1
- Faith, Fellowship and Fun
- The Key
- A Challenge
- Be Careful…
- Words to Live By
- Suffering: Its Secret
- Editor’s Note
- A Look at a Book
- Bible Study: With Bended Knee and a Broken Heart
- To Put It All Simple Yet Radically
- Questions & Answers
- Zerubbabel Focus: Zerubbabel Press–Republishing Norman’s Books
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- An Awesome God
- To Think About…
- Tape Talk
- British Autumn Conference
- Sunday School
- Don’t Learn the Hard Way
- Illuminating Body, Soul & Spirit
- Could I Be Pharaoh?