Dear 365 Readers –
The end is near! How fantastic that we are scheduled to start reading the book of Revelation on Christmas Day. Revelation is a book of HOPE, a strong word of encouragement for its original recipients and for us today. Revelation is a reminder that, no matter how things look, God is in charge of history and good will ultimately triumph!
The apostle John wrote Revelation approximately 60 years after Jesus left the earth. Many questions troubled the church – Was Jesus coming back? Where had He gone? To do what? Why didn’t He return immediately? After the fall of Jerusalem Christians were scattered throughout the Roman empire and many were persecuted and distressed. Revelation gives them (and us) hope.
The symbolism in Revelation is complex, so much so that people today can rarely agree what it all means. Readers tend to fall into two categories: Some people think that many of the predictions in Revelation have not yet been fulfilled, and will be fulfilled sometime in the future. (The Left Behind series interprets Revelation in this way.) Others explain Revelation in terms of the first century, concluding that many events prophesied have already taken place during the time of the Roman empire. In either case, the end of the story is the same – Jesus Christ will return triumphant over all the evil in the universe! For this reason we have hope.
Merry Christmas to you all! As we approach the new year I’ll send out our reading plan for 2017.