Revelation is not about the antichrist, but about the living Christ. It is not about a rapture out of this world but about faithful discipleship in this world. That is, like every other New Testament book, Revelation is about Jesus Christ- “A revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1)- and about following him in obedience and love.
-Michael Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly
The book of Revelation is either obsessed over in great detail searching for clues and hints about the end of the world, or avoided because of its frightening images and uncertainty. What has happened to the book of Revelation is that many modern readers and interpreters (think Left Behind series) have ignored how Revelation has been understood in Christianity for centuries. Most of the way that people understand and think of Revelation today would be completely foreign to Christian interpretations of the first 1800 years of the Church.
Why should we look at Revelation today? In the first century Christians were in the minority; this led to many being persecuted for their beliefs and some of them were martyred for their faith. Common questions that the first century Christians wrestled with were, ‘If Christ is King, why are we dying, why are we being ruthlessly persecuted, why does it seem like Rome is getting stronger and stronger even when she is full of corruption and evil?’ And this letter provides a peek behind the curtain to see how God is at work, has been at work, and will be working to bring restoration to this world. As John provides this glimpse he also calls the Christians to faithful witness in the midst of it all.
While thankfully, we are not physically martyred in America today, being a Christian is often a minority position and is frequently attacked by others. And we too wonder at times, ‘If Christ is king, then why is there still so much violence and strife locally and abroad, why is racism and bigotry still winning the day?’
Michael Gorman believes that Revelation answers these questions. He writes, “Revelation is (primarily) good news about Christ, the Lamb of God- who shares God’s throne and who is the key to the past, present, and future- and therefore also about uncompromising faithfulness leading to undying hope, even in the midst of unrelenting evil and oppressive empire.”
So whether you are someone who has obsessed over Revelation, or someone who is really confused by it all, or if you are not a Christian but interested in what Christianity teaches about good, evil, hope, salvation, and judgement, please join us starting May 22nd and through most of the summer as we explore this fascinating book.