I just have to say this: our Revelation Bible study has been incredible. People who have never read the Bible, people who thought that Revelation shouldn’t even be in the Bible, and everybody else in between has been captivated by this book. Revelation is a weird book (granted), but no amount of oddity can prevent the Holy Spirit from working.
Last night we juxtaposed two images from Revelation: heavenly worship with destruction and death. I’ll give you the short run-down.
Throughout Revelation, we hear that the Lord God was and is and is to come. In other words, there is no time that God isn’t present. We took this idea, and enlarged it to encompass the entire book.
So when chapter 6 speaks of the infamous four horsemen of the apocalypse, we see that these are not future omens, but rather descriptions of the human condition. Violence, economic hardship, and death (brought by the horsemen) have happened, are happening, and will happen. As humans we know these all too well.
Along the same lines, the images of heavenly worship in chapters 4 and 7 have happened, are happening, and will again happen. There are moments in our lives where we found ourselves caught up in the heavenly worship, when our entire being is oriented towards the Creator.
In other words, we live at an intersection. In our human life we see the four horsemen of the apocalypse but we also participate in the heavenly worship. Yesterday, the participants in our study reflected on the times in their lives when they have been trampled by the four horsemen; when illness strikes, September 11, or when the stock market crashed. But we also reflected on the glimpses of heavenly worship: sharing a meal with loved ones, praying around the bed of a dying friend, or listening to sacred music.
Revelation is not some strange set of visions that speak of a horrific future, but rather a description of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.