This week we will be looking deeper at Revelation 7: 7-19. Today we will be looking at the world behind the text of this passage.
Revelation is one of the most interesting, misunderstood, and hard to understand books in all the Bible. Revelation is a type of literature called apocalyptic. We see this type of literature several times throughout the Bible (parts of Daniel, different parts of the Gospels). Apocalyptic literature has a couple of key points.
First, it’s written in code. That means it’s typically hard for folks that are not part of the “group” to understand. And often it’s hard for those who are part of the “group” to understand. Who is this group? We’ll get there in a second. That’s why Revelation is hard to understand. It is written in a code that is hard to understand, especially for those of us living today. For the original audience, it made much more sense.
And that is the second key point about apocalyptic literature, it is written to a group that is normally under great oppression. In this book, it is written to Christians who are being persecuted by Rome. It is hard out there for them. Christians are being killed and martyred for their faith. They are being fed to lions, set ablaze so much. All by the most powerful empire in the world. This book, in its code, tells the Christians, guess what? It’s going to be ok. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. It’s going to be ok. God wills. Rome is not eternal. God is. He sees the hurt and suffering of His people and He will come to their defense. Don’t give up.
Revelation is a book of great hope. God is going to win. He is going to save His people. All will be right. Don’t give up, don’t give in. God has us. It will be ok.
Books like this are about hope to the beaten up. I think they can have much to say to us, today, as well.
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