Have you ever avoided the book of Revelation? Me. Too. It is not my favorite book of the Bible. I fully admit, I don’t understand it. And the way I figure it, it’s prophesying the future and we don’t know what the future holds and we’re not supposed to try to figure it out so why would I bother? Okay, so clearly I developed a habit over the past two decades of simply avoiding it and … justifying it. But, with a series of studies that started with Peter, then finding our identity in Christ, followed by Hebrews, focusing on the “better things” found in Jesus Christ, then the book of John and, finally, abiding in Christ, God prompted me and others in my small group to suggest a study of Revelation next. Our focus on the tension between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man made Revelation, in which we will find the ultimate resolution of that tension, the perfect follow up. Even though I’d never had a desire in the past to read it, I really did just a few weeks ago.
So, our trusty small group leader, always one to find the most intriguing/deep/provocative commentaries chose “Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination, by Eugene Peterson.
I read about one sentence of the book and decided UGH, this was a huge mistake! Eugene Petersen’s take on the Revelation is just as difficult to read as the actual book! Thankfully, however, I trudged through the introduction and chapter 1 and found a few nuggets that were very interesting. And I have been amazed the more that I read and that we discuss as a group that he does indeed have a valuable perspective to share. Peterson argues that where many contend that Revelation is not “practical” because it’s not about how to live day to day, it is the most practical book in the Bible. Because we are called not to be “better” Christians, not because we are to focus on “not sinning” or even evangelizing, but that we are to love God, to live life in worship of Him. Peterson explains that Revelation is a gift from God, an opportunity to “experience” Him. One member of our group said it was the movie we can enjoy whereas the rest of the Bible is a documentary. Where we make the mistake to try to “figure it out” or explain it like we do the rest of the book, Peterson emphasizes experiencing God through it instead.
I am getting excited to see what God will do in our group through this study.
“Blessed is the one who reads 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