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The book of Revelation

January 2014 | by John Thornbury

Everyone, it seems, is fascinated with the last book of the Bible. The writer John obviously

knows what he is writing is important, for he says that those who read, hear and keep the

things written by him will be blessed (Revelation 1:3).


I am glad that he did not say those who ‘understand’ everything written in it, for this

would leave me out. But I can read, hear and keep!


So far, there is no consensus as to the more mysterious parts, particularly chapters 6-18.

Many seem to think Revelation is a jigsaw puzzle and, when all the pieces are put together,

one will then know step by step what the future holds. I think this view is wrong. But here

are three blessings from this book.


It inspires adoration to Jesus Christ


It begins in the very first chapter with a portrayal of the exalted Christ, who has triumphed

over sin and is speaking to the seven churches. He is seen girded with a golden band, with

hair as white as snow, eyes like a flame of fire, voice like a sound of many waters, and a sharp

sword out of his mouth.


It is no wonder that John, when he got this vision, fell as dead at the feet of the sovereign

Saviour. Jesus is pictured as the lamb ‘in the midst of the throne’ (7:17), reigning with his Father.


It promotes, awe, wonder and even fear


In chapter 6 are four horses, symbolic of power, war, famine and death. In chapter 8 trumpets

are accompanied with terrifying phenomena: trees burned up, sea becoming blood, men dying

from bitter waters, and the sun and stars darkened.


In chapter 9 locusts arise from the pit to torment men. Then there is the beast of chapter

13, mystical Babylon of chapters 17 and 18, and the aweful bowls of judgement poured by

God’s wrath on the earth (chapter 16).


Try as you may to fit this into past or future events, you will get stuck. But instead, read

and tremble, for God will have his day of vengeance on those who reject him.


It gives hope to the believer


Revelation was written at a time when believers were suffering terrible persecution. But, as

the apocalypse of John unfolds, God who sits on the throne and the Lamb at his right hand

triumph gloriously.


In chapter 19 Jesus comes on a white horse and sends the antichrist and false prophet into

the lake of fire. In chapter 20 he puts down Satan for 1000 years and sits in judgement on a

white throne.


In the final chapter, heaven is graphically described as the final home of the redeemed.

Thus believers are encouraged to know that their sufferings will end and they will reign with

Christ for ever.

John F. Thornbury



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