Our final post introducing the book of Revelation will speak on three issues—who, what, and why. Who wrote it doesn't tend to impact how we interpret the book, but when it was written certainly does. Asking why it was written also helps us approach the book rightly.
Now that we've looked at some of the big picture aspects of Revelation we're ready to zoom in just a bit closer. If we were on Google maps, we would be going from the state view to the city view. We'll hold off on the street view until the sermons themselves! Our goal for this post is to give a brief description of the major sections of Revelation. As you'll see, there are seven sections that describe similar events in slightly different ways (and sometimes radically different ways).
In Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that Abraham Lincoln "has unequalled power to captivate the imagination and to inspire emotion." For me, King David is the Bible's Abraham Lincoln equivalent in his power to capture imaginations and inspire emotions.
Someone asked me for a list of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. I expected the search to be a fairly easy one in our digitized society, but it wasn't. Here is a good list of the Old Testament prophecy followed by a New Testament fulfillment. It comes from R.A. Torrey, who died in 1928. The sheer length of this list reminds us that Christ is thoroughly (though not completely) revealed in the Old Testament, and that he is precisely who Peter said that he was: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).
Michelle Alston wrote a testimony that wonderfully captures how God meets us in a variety of ways through the body of Christ. Sometimes that grace comes to us through a counselor, sometimes a patient friend, sometimes a friend who gives an afternoon to fix our car, and sometimes through singing hymns with our brothers and sisters in Christ. All of that is the body of Christ in action and the grace that comes from it!
Finding "the living Christ" in the New Testament presents no difficulty. Close your eyes and open it up and point, and you'll find Christ. But finding Jesus in the Old Testament holds a greater challenge.
When we take time to read and think through the Old Testament, we see that Jesus is the centerpiece of all Scripture as we discover mysteries, find the Lord, and even find ourselves.
It is unfortunate that so many of us wonder if reading the Old Testament is worth it, feeling like we need Ralphie's Christmas Story decoder pin and a lot of time and effort to make any sense of it. The truth is, when we've put in the time to read and think through it, we will discover mysteries, be transformed, find the Lord, and even find ourselves!