The most complex book in the Bible is the book of Revelation. It has been said that there are as many interpretations of it as there are interpreters. This is true, as a trip to any Christian bookstore will have dozens of different books with dozens of different interpretations. What are we to believe about the message of Revelation?
The book begins with seven letters to seven different churches, and then moves to speak about a vision of a throne room. Our author, John is given from this throne room the amazing privilege of being taken on a long series of visions. The first vision, the vision that the rest of the book flows out of, is a vision of a lamb that is standing on a throne in heaven. Whatever we are to believe about the meaning of this book, we must first begin with this vision of the Lamb standing on the throne of heaven.
To find an answer this question, we must first ask what it would it have meant for the first readers of the book when they first read it. Reality to the first readers is that the Roman Empire ruled the world at this time. It was this government who persecuting the early Christians. They had rulers, who claimed to be gods and demanded that all their citizens worship them. Since they were the most powerful persons in the world, they were able to demand that people worship them or they would have them killed.
Revelation says something completely different. In this book Caesar isn’t the one sitting on the throne of heaven; the Lamb who was slain is sitting on the throne. What does this say to how reality is really oriented? What does this say to the way we should live our lives? Should we be more worried about what Caesar or this Lamb wants? Well who is standing on the throne of heaven?
What do we allow ourselves to be more influenced by the political power players of our day or the Lamb on the throne? Do we believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket simply because the wrong politician is in office or that the world will be made right because a Republican is president? Whose voice should be stronger influence for our lives, the voices on the news of the voice of the one who sits on the throne when he says “Behold, I am making all things new!” (read Rev 21.5).
Revelation is not necessarily making predictions about the future; it is talking about the way we live our lives. It is calling its readers to remember who is really on the throne in heaven. When we allow ourselves to pay too much attention to the beasts and the dragons and the chaos that seems to be filling the world, we forget that this Lamb is on the throne, and he says, “I’m making all things new!”
In our lives, as we see economic hard times, pandemics like the swine flu, corruption all around us, culture in a hurry to jettison any type of moral compass remember that we serve a God who is sitting on the throne and none of this is about to drive him off the throne (Actually, if you read Revelation, you’ll notice that God never moves, he remains stationary in his seat, he is in control without moving!). So don’t allow yourself to get mired down in hopelessness, remember it is the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ the Messiah, who is standing on the throne in heaven, and he is in control!
What do you think?