So, I’m not going to finish a careful examination of Revelation.
I read through it in one sitting tonight. I am experiencing some troubling times and thought perhaps the theme of trials & tribulation followed by rebirth would be comforting to me. The truth is, it was not. Try as I might to keep focused on this legitimate messages, I could not look past what I think is the real theme of the book: payback.
It is easy to see how a book about the Romans getting theirs would be enjoyed by an oppressed people. Perhaps the reason I found so little inspiration in the book is because I am a citizen of the modern Rome. I think it is more than that.
Sometimes I do feel like I’m living in a world where 1/3 of the seas are turning sour as a result of man’s sins. Sometimes I think there may be powerful people deceiving the masses and causing them suffering. But I don’t want the Armies of Heaven to come down and devour the flesh of my enemies. Frankly, despite John the Revelator’s testimony that it was Jesus speaking to him about these things, it doesn’t sound very much like Jesus.
The triumph at the end of the book did not bring me sufficient hopefulness to undo my uneasiness with John’s revelling in the death of his foes. If there are others out there who are moved by the work, I’d be very interested to hear their experience. For me, I’m afraid I’ve moved into the camp that questions its inclusion in the canon. (Although, maybe the cultural spin-offs justify it: grapes of wrath[14:19], lake of fire [20:14], sea of glass [4:6], pale rider [6:8], the alpha and omega [1:8], etc.) Unfortunately, that probably means I’ll be doomed to be tormented, wishing for death, but that is only supposed to last five months.