The last book of the Bible is most intriguing. And most easily mis-understood. So how should we read it?
The disciple John, now old and in exile on the island of Patmos, is given a series of visions. And what visions they were! Beasts and bowls, scrolls and seals , trumpets and angels, heavenly song and earthly war. While certainly thrilling, this is not easy reading. A certain kind of literary dexterity is needed. Perhaps most important is a deep acquaintance with the whole long story of God which precedes this book.
The reality is that most of the Revelation is a retelling of what has already been said in Scripture. The future is a projection of the past, but only if we can see truly what has already happened. Memory matters, and so does imagination.
This, we come to find out, is a history told in another form. And history, in God’s hands, is the whole long story from past to present to future: this is God’s story, and God will bring it to a proper conclusion.