Over the last year I have been reading the New Testament a little bit at a time, almost everyday. I started reading Acts in preparation for our youth camp last summer. I read a chapter a day in the month leading up to camp, and once I finished, I realized I didn’t have to stop there. I went on to Isaiah, then moved on to the gospels, skipped over Acts, then started reading Paul’s letters in order of appearance in the New Testament.
Flash forward to today. We are a few days away from leaving for youth camp, and I am about to finish up the book of Revelation.
I’ve read bits and pieces of this book in the past and heard some great sermons on it, but never really got in there myself. This has got to be one of the craziest books ever written, Bible or otherwise. This puts Beat writers to shame; those guys that used to do mass amounts of mind altering drugs and then write for like 20 days straight, remember them? And then everyone would praise their work as so original and so inspired. Hippies rejoice! I spent time in college idolizing their writing style, without the mind altering drugs.
There is so much insane stuff going on here. I’m not even going to try to interpret it. I just want to share a small piece of it with those who haven’t taken the time to read it themselves. Every chapter has something almost unworldly in it. Today, I was in chapter 19 and there was some beautiful and horrible images.
Revelation 19:11-15 (NLT)
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself.13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.14 The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses.15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress.
Now, this is the NLT version which is dumbed down for people like me. I read NLT because it makes more sense to me than other translations. Even in the simplest language, the images this passage provokes are pretty amazing.
You want to know what the guy on the white horse does? Yeah, you totally do.
Revelation 19:20-21 (NLT)
20 And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
21 Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.
All I hope is that I am not living on the Earth when all this goes down. I want to be watching from a safe distance, reveling at the amazing things God can do. Imagine a world without sin. Imagine a place where you are free from the selfish desire of your flesh. Can you picture it? Now multiply it by a million and you might have some vague concept of what heaven will be like.
What images in the Bible inspire you?