Tag Archives: Revelation 1

The Rabbit Hole & the Three Questions

The Rabbit Hole and the Three Questions (CaD Rev 1) Wayfarer

“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
Revelation 1:19 (NIV)

There are three great questions I always ask myself during times of confusion or decision:

Where am I at?
Where have I been?
Where am I going?

Those are the three questions I ask myself every time I finish a book on this chapter-a-day journey and need to decide where the trek should take me next. So, after finishing the book of Jude yesterday I went to the index of posts by book and realized that there’s only one book of the Great Story, written after Jesus’ death and resurrection that, isn’t currently in the index by book: Revelation. The last time I trekked through was in April of 2014. So, that’s where I’m going.

Known more formally as The Revelation of John, this is the last book in the Great Story. Both tradition and the text state that the visions described in the book were seen and experienced by John on the Isle of Patmos while he was exiled there (90-95 A.D). Revelation is well-known for its description of the end times, the climactic final battle between God and Satan, and its description of the eternal city of God.

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with Revelation. I love the mystery and the metaphor. It’s fascinating and I find important spiritual truths within. My hate is rooted in the rabbit hole that it becomes for people who fall in and become endlessly obsessed. Along my spiritual journey, my approach to Revelation eventually paralleled C.S. Lewis’ famous caution regarding the demonic. It’s a mistake to avoid or ignore it, but it’s also a mistake to take it too seriously. So, here we go.

In the opening chapter, John writes that he was worshiping on a Sunday and saw the glorified Christ. Jesus tells John to write “what you’ve seen, what is now, and what will take place later.” It’s Jesus’ riff on the three questions I always ask myself.

There are numerous schools of thought when it comes to interpreting Revelation. Some believe that Revelation points to historic events that have already taken place. Others believe that it’s primarily about what will take place in the future end times. A more modern movement of thought interprets the whole thing as political satire.

“Where have I been?”

Looking back at the life of Jesus and the ancient prophecies about Him, one thing becomes clear to me: Very smart people over a long period of time were completely wrong about how they interpreted the prophecies. So, from where I’m at, I tend to approach the prophetic with a huge dose of humility regarding what it might mean for “Where are we going?” in the future, and a heart that’s simply open to what in means for me “Where am I at?‘ in the context of today.

So, in the quiet this morning, I embark on this chapter-a-day trek through Revelation with humility and an open heart. I think I’ll take Jesus up on reading and meditating on John’s visions with the three questions in mind. I’m also determined not to fall down the rabbit hole.

Here we go!

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Remote Yet Relevant

Map with seven churches
Map of the seven churches addressed in the Book of Revelation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Revelation 1:3 (NIV)

I will confess to a certain amount of apprehension wading into the Book of Revelation on our chapter-a-day journey. I have read the book many times. I have studied it in depth and have taught classes on it on multiple occasions. Prophetic writing has a unique style and substance and it’s easy for inexperienced readers and spiritual seekers to get lost in the symbols, metaphors, and word pictures. Thus, my apprehension.

I will also confess to a certain amount of excitement, as well. It is a fascinating book. It even professes a blessing on everyone who reads it. Thus, my excitement. Here we go!

First, a little context and background. The book was written by John, Jesus’ disciple, who also wrote the Gospel of John and the three letters of that name. At the time of the writing he was an older man exiled to the Greek island of Patmos where it is believed the Roman Empire ran a penal colony. John had been sent there because of being an outspoken teacher of Jesus. It was the time of the Roman Empire. The number of people choosing to believe and follow Jesus were swelling rapidly. Rome saw this as a political and economic threat and so the persecution of Christians was beginning to grow. The Romans were demanding that everyone worship the Roman Emperor as God or face the death penalty.

The message of Revelation was addressed to seven churches in the region of Asia Minor who were facing this growing persecution. For many followers of Jesus around the world today, there is a strong identification with the seven churches. Persecution is a present reality for most followers of Jesus around the world. Just last night I saw a headline about North Korea condemning 33 Christians to death because of their faith and desire to share it.

Today I am reminded that while the Book of Revelation may seem strange and remote, its the context and overarching message are extremely relevant 2000 years later.

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