I’ve had a while to prepare for an upcoming local presentation of the study of Revelation from Ascension Press. And, my method is to read and study in a quiet place – which I have (for better or for worse).
In addition to the study guide from ascension press, I re-read Dr. Scott Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper” which is mostly about the Mass, but with its tie-ins to the book of Revelation and with some really deep thoughts of spirituality from Hahn that are “right on the money.” (essential reading, if you can)
Revelation is a scary book – monsters, beasts, plagues ( sin, in visual form), the wrath of God, final judgment. What ties this together is how scary sin is. And, that’s how the book starts out, really, with a threat to the seven churches of Asia Minor that their “lampstand” – Jesus Christ – could be taken away from them. WHAT could be scarier than that? – to lose our salvation?
Jeff Cavens of Ascension press works through the symbolism in Revelation – very well – (and I haven’t even seen the videos for this course yet).
Is my name written in the book of life? (very scary thought)
All of my deeds are going to be revealed? (very, very scary thought)
What Cavens hasn’t emphasized at least in the study book portion, is how this letter was written primarily to Jewish Christians in Asia Minor. they should very quickly understand the significance in the opening chapters of losing their “lampstand.” What is that shorthand for? The menorah (“lampstand”) in the wilderness and Jerusalem temples was a physical reminder of God speaking to Israel through Moses at the burning bush. And, so to lose the lampstand refers to God withdrawing from their presence. – very, very Old Testament scary, and now, New Testament scary too. (I may have nightmares tonight - the horror of sin.)
Reformer Martin Luther is said to have almost eliminated this book from his German translation of the Bible, because of all the wild symbolism. Too bad he could’t have talked with Cavens and Hahn.
The non-scary parts of Revelation are the marriage feast of the Lamb – Christ and His Church. Eternal bliss. No pain. No tears. Things of old are forgotten. Hallelujah.