“Jesus Christ is to the Revelation what a burning candle is to the dark of the night.” –Judith Hoch Wray
In most books you have a Preface to the book which gives you the direction in which the author plans to go with the topic they have chosen. As I was getting ready for our Reveal sermon series I felt a preface is needed so that way can not be scared about the last book in our Bibles that so many people run away from.
First, read the book as is. If you can read it all in one setting that would be ideal because you can see the ebb and flow that this letter of the Bible offers. If you can’t do that then, I have created a reading plan for you here: In this reading plan you have plenty of days to catch up if you get behind. For Friday’s reading I gave you the sermon text to look over before we meet. Also try to read it before diving in to any book about Revelation. Pay attention to what God is saying to you. (I will admit there is some crazy stuff but even in that God still speaks.)
Second, After you have read it look at your Study Bible notes. But don’t just leave it to the notes dive a little deeper. Here are three books I recommend when it comes to look at Revelation.
- What does Revelation Reveal? by Warren Carter
- Revelation for Everyone by N.T. Wright
- Chalice Introduction to the New Testament. Editor Dennis E. Smith.
The Chalice book has more sources that are also good as well. But these are three that I have used outside of just what my study notes have said.
Third: The Genre of Revelation is sort of like a clarinet trio. It has a mix of apocalyptic and prophecy playing the melody and chorus with the letter writing genre playing the bass part. The words apocalyptic and prophecy tend to run people away. Warren Carter in his book What does Revelation Reveal? (pg. 11-12) did a great job of defining these genres.
Apocalypse: this form of literature makes a revelation or disclosure about the world. and of God’s will and purpose for a particular situation.
Prophecy: Prophecy is a forth-telling of the divine will, a theological and pastoral interpretation or analysis of the present.
Letter: The significance of using a letter form is that it allows specific address to particular circumstances in the present. -(Carter pg. 11-12)
So we hold these genre definitions all in tension as we read this letter.
To close, please don’t run away from the book of Revelation. I once vowed never to preach from it. I did so because the letter had been and still is used so many times in negative ways that make this a less desirable and irrelevant read. However after going through it once in a preaching lectionary cycle I came to a better appreciation for this letter. Chapter 1 verse eight God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” The letter of Revelation makes the circle complete that God was in the beginning in Genesis and is in the End with Revelation. From beginning to end God is with us that is the light leading us to be the light God created us to be.
See you Sunday.