10 Reasons Why You Should Study the Revelation

If the last book of the Bible is an intimidating peak, unclimbed and unchallenged, The Heart of Revelation is a succession of ten handholds to expedite your ascent.  If John’s apocalyptic words are a map, J. Scott Duvall has provided bearings, a sense of direction, an aerial view of the terrain.  His ten essential themes are really ten arguments for a student of Scripture (every Christian, right?) to be tackling a study of the Bible’s final book:

  1.  The Revelation proves that God is the true center of the universe — in other words, it’s not all about you!  God is revealed as faithful and in control.  He has a plan for the future and has made very specific promises pertaining to community.  Best of all, He wins in the end.
  2. The Revelation will ensure that your worship (because we all worship something) is directed toward its only worthy Object.  Eugene Peterson defines worship as “an act of attention to the living God who rules, speaks and reveals, creates and redeems, orders and blesses.”  God alone can bear the weight of your worship, and this is the only reasonable response to His flawless character, mighty acts, and victory over evil.
  3. God has a lot to say about His people, and He has expressed much of it through John in the Revelation.  Since he made us, He “gets” us:  the fact that we all struggle, that we need His protection.  God has a multicultural mission in mind that looks beyond the present and sees the brightest of futures.
  4. The role of God the Holy Spirt is made manifest in the Revelation.  He is continuing God’s work on Earth and is the source of prophetic messages about Jesus.   He “both comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”  It is interesting that Duvall attributes the “seal of God” to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer rather than a literal mark on the forehead.
  5. The Revelation reveals “the various strategies and tactics” of the enemies of God.  These include accusation, deception, temptation, and persecution.  With persecution of Christians today more intense even than in the early centuries of the church, there are also more Christian martyrs in our era, making it abundantly clear that God and His people are at war against evil.
  6. Revelation names John the beloved disciple and Antipas as Jesus’ two faithful witnesses, defining our mission as God’s people to be “faithful witnesses to Jesus and His kingdom.”  Though the nations are described as vulnerable to deception and darkness, God loves all cultures and calls us to love as He does.  A faithful witness obeys Gods commands and perseveres in mission, “following the Lamb wherever He goes.”
  7. John’s Revelation is a book about Jesus — who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.  It is “theological icing on the cake” of the Jesus story provided in the four gospels.  He is exalted as fully God, as the Shepherd Messiah, The Slaughtered Lamb, the Firstborn from the Dead, and The Roaring Lamb.
  8. In our judge-not age, the Revelation is key study material for establishing God’s right to judge, for He is unique in His ability to distinguish between good and evil.  In the process of destroying evil, God, at this time, is allowing it to run its course.  The Revelation shatters our sensitivity and sentimentality because it teaches that the wicked will ultimately be judged.  This issue transcends doctrine and becomes very personal if we permit ourselves to consider the fate of unbelieving family and friends.
  9. In the Revelation, John was privileged to see The New Creation — “a New Heaven and a New Earth” — and he straightens out a lot of the faulty thinking about “going to” heaven, who will be there, what it will be like, and even what we will be doing there.  Key to the New Creation will be the unmitigated presence of God.   Like C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, the book of Revelation makes the heart long for heaven.
  10. Finally, the book of Revelation trains Christians to expect and to endure through suffering.  Perseverance through persecution, resisting the temptation to compromise, is the key to enduring to the end.  The Apostle John, with the heart of a pastor, comforts his readers with the knowledge that even if our perseverance results in death, God still holds us to Himself.  The clear message of this letter is:  “Say No to evil.  Say Yes to Jesus.  It will be worth it.”

Considering these ten major themes of the Revelation has opened my eyes to the big picture message of the book which startles, alarms, comforts, and poses important questions — and then allows the Word of God to speak for itself.

//

This book was provided by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

I am a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. I have been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and our four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, two teens still remain at home, and along with an incorrigible St. Bernard, we laugh, make messes, clean them up, and then start all over again. I love hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop me in my tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. I lament biblical illiteracy and advocate for the prudent use of "little minutes." I blog at Living Our Days because "the way I live my days will be, after all, the way I live my life." You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

22 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why You Should Study the Revelation”

  1. Ah, this is like a virtual hug. I will definitely want to read this book.

    About five years ago, dissatisfied with manmade doctrine and interpretation I decided to read Revelation with an empty mind and hungry spirit. I just wanted to know the truth. Before I began I asked that should my eyes be opened to things that are not accepted as mainstream, as I feared I might, would I have to tell anyone. The answer was no with a caveat. I spent the next several months reading with specificity and asking for understanding. Long-held embedded dogma was routed out.

    Ultimately I wrote a 33 page treatise on what I believe were answers to my questions. The caveat was, I could write it but I could only allow God to decide who reads it. I know this is weird but I think it is because He wants us to come one on One for some answers and only He can know who is ready. I asked, I received, and anyone who chooses to do so can do the same. This book sounds like a good beginning. 🙂

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    1. I love how your mind works! I loved the broad brush strokes of these 10 themes, and as I was reading I was also remembering Eugene Peterson’s book on the Revelation: Reversed Thunder, which also took things in chunks. I want to go back and re-read it, or at least review the parts I underlined and copied into my journal. So much to learn . . . so little time!

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      1. Yes, broad brush and, I might add, BIG picture. Two things I suggest – first, keep in mind that God is not bound by time, which is a human invention, clocks and calendars, and, second, set aside a block of time to read all twenty two chapters in one gulp. Then wait a few days and do this again. I found that after about four times the linear thing, the human timeline, falls away. It’s a cyclorama.

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  2. What a great list of reasons to study Revelation, Michele!
    I found your post today on FaithnFriends.
    Hope you have a restful weekend!
    Blessings~
    Melanie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What stuck out for me was this verse: the book of Revelation makes the heart long for heaven. I long for heaven but on God’s perfect timing. He loves His Bride, the church, and has a perfect plan for all Christians. Thanks for sharing with us on Literacy Musing Mondays. Also thank you so much for your kind comments this week on my posts. 😉

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  4. This has always been a difficult book for me to wade through, and I’ve seldom heard good teaching on it til recent days. Thanks for the overview, Michele. Eye has not seen nor ear has heard what lies ahead. For the believer, it’s too glorious, too lofty for us to see as of now.

    But He is coming … and Lord, may it be quickly.

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    1. Me, too, and I really appreciate writers who emphasize major themes instead of trying to draw dotted lines between every single image and its symbolism. It’s reassuring to be reminded that God has a big picture plan for His creation.

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  5. Thanks for sharing about this book, Michele. It’s easy to get intimidated by the book of Revelation, but there are some great truths in there that we miss out on if we avoid it! Your reviews are always so informative.

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  6. I’m a Revelation addict, and I sure look forward to the final portion! Been waiting and waiting AND when I’m in Heaven in the not-distant future re: my brain and body issues I hope I will be able to help any possible way as the world needs to be readjusted spiritually. Thanks for sharing this.

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  7. I will admit that Revelation is one book of the Bible that I am not very familiar with and in fact it makes me a little nervous to dive into all it has to tell us. I learned about Revelation when completing Beth Moore’s study of Children of the Day. Reading your ten themes, sounds less scary to me and gives me hope that digging into Revelation will be okay.

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