Often, when people read Revelation they either love it or hate it. They love it because of its extravagant and deeply affecting symbolism, its encouragement to persevere in times of trial, and its promise of a time when death itself will have come to an end. Or, they hate it because its shocking depictions of judgment seem to presume a God who is violent and vindictive toward humans and the earth. Many others, including many Christians, choose not to read Revelation at all. They fear and avoid it because its scenes of cosmic destruction and divine judgment provoke anxiety. In addition, the book's reputation as the haven of doomsday preachers and nutcases discourages confidence that any truth or beauty may be discovered in it.
Even so, countless theologians, artists, poets, and composers have been inspired by Revelation, and millions today base their politics on it. For these reasons alone the work deserves our careful attention.
But more than that, Revelation deserves our attention because its central message, shining through all the trauma and drama, is one of hope. Yes, the imagery of Revelation is bizarre, even shocking, and the timing and sequence of events are confusing. Yet, the underlying message is surprisingly transparent, hopeful, and well worth exploring.
Consider session one of this two-session study a primer on the who, what, where, when, and why of Revelation. In session two, we'll delve more deeply into the heart of Revelation's message and consider a new way of looking at heaven and earth--now and at the end of days.
Perhaps no words about Revelation could ever convey the sense of raw energy and power often felt when reading this amazing document for oneself. If you have found, as many have, that the book is too challenging, then this study will most certainly help.