You can read Revelation.
You can understand Revelation.
Consider the graphic for the preaching series above. It serves as a basic guide for reading and understanding the book.
John sees visions and symbols in heaven which explain reality on earth. Written to Christians between the time of Christ’s ascension and his second coming, Revelation is meant to give Christians clarity and courage regarding their place in God’s comprehensive plan of redemption — both on Earth and in Heaven. Can you recall a scene in a movie when the character's true, ugly self is revealed by looking into a magical mirror? That is how Revelation works. It is a vision in heaven which reveals what God is really doing and what will really happen on the earth.
A popular misconception about Revelation is that it is too difficult to understand. But understanding the nature of Revelation can help us. John does not write primarily to give us all the details of the times and places of current or future events. Rather, he writes to give us a grand vision of the coming, conquering king. Remember, even if we are not given all the details, this book is meant to reveal not conceal. Let the book tell you what it wants to tell you — no less and no more. If details don't seem discernable keep reading and look for what it is John is clearly trying to convey.
Tribulation, judgment, and war are on the horizon. John sees a great storm coming. Revelation, while hopeful for the saints, is filled with judgment. And the struggle between God and evil marks the whole book. Remember that John writes to those in the tribulation as “a partner in the tribulation” (1:9). Revelation is about our struggle. Revelation is showing us the war for the world -- and we are in it!
At the center of all history is the lamb who is king, Jesus Christ. Jesus alone, the slain lamb, is worthy to take the scroll from God’s hand and open it (5:6-7). Jesus is also the returning, conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:16). As you read consider how, at the center of all history and the Christian victory, is the slain lamb, the King of Heaven. No matter what part of Revelation you are in consider how it connects to Jesus and the church. It really is all about him!
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written,
King of kings and Lord of lords. (ESV)
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