ISSUES OF FAITH: Pay attention for the Revelation

I’VE NOTICED THAT there are often two responses to the book of Revelation in the Bible.

People either avoid it or are consumed by it.

Some people avoid it due to its unusual and vivid imagery, complexities and obscurities.

John 3:16 is preferred for its simplicity. No obscurities there, yet it speaks volumes.

And some people are consumed by Revelation — needing to interpret the meaning of every detail.

A red dragon with seven heads, 10 horns and seven diadems? 666?

I confess to you that I do not know the meaning of every detail in Revelation, and I have done my research.

But I’m old enough to be comfortable with some mystery.

I also confess that I’m a little cautious of people who have interpreted every detail.

I once read that you can learn a lot from dissecting a frog, but you can be certain the frog will die from the dissection.

I don’t want to kill Revelation by dissection, nor do I want to avoid it.

It’s the glorious ending to God’s never-ending story.

Long ago Revelation 1:3 caught my attention: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (ESV).

So last Sunday, we did it at Joyce Bible Church. Two other men and I took turns reading aloud all 22 chapters of Revelation, and the congregation listened.

For a long time — it took an hour and 15 minutes.

I didn’t tell the congregation ahead of time, fearing people might find an excuse to not come that Sunday.

My insecurities proved unfounded and God’s word proved true — again.

The readers were blessed and so were the hearers.

One of the basic rules of hermeneutics is to put yourself in the mind of the people who originally heard the message.

It is inconceivable that the original hearers of Revelation heard it in segments.

After reading 10 or 15 minutes, no one said, “That’s all for today, folks. Come back next week and I’ll read a little bit more.”

No way. Uh-uh.

Yes, it was a long time for people to watch and listen.

Twice as long as normal.

Some researchers have said that the average adult attention span today is approximately 15-20 minutes.

In today’s “tweeting” culture, maybe attention spans are shrinking. But our attention spans don’t seem to have trouble watching a 90-minute movie or a 3-hour football game.

God chose not to tweet us.

Scripture isn’t interrupted by commercials, praise God.

We benefit from spending ample time and careful attention to God’s word prior to our application of it.

Again, at the beginning of Revelation, Jesus says, “… blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”

And at the end of Revelation, Jesus says, “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7).

Be blessed.

Read aloud, hear and keep. Time is short.

“Amen. Come Lord Jesus” (22:20).


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Greg Reynolds is pastor of Joyce Bible Church. His email is [email protected]

More in Life

A GROWING CONCERN: Going ‘farm to table’ in your own backyard

IT’S NO APRIL Fool’s joke, that now is a perfect time to… Continue reading

BACK WHEN: John and Mary Cowan: A lighthouse family

LIGHTHOUSES HAVE LONG served as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Reach out and get to know God

WHAT IS THERE to say, really? We are all pretty much confined… Continue reading

Online church services set for holiday

Online church services on the Peninsula for Palm Sunday: PORT ANGELES •… Continue reading

Library to host Yoga Storytime online

The North Olympic Library System will host Yoga Storytime at… Continue reading

Keep your car clean to reduce risk from coronavirus

By Ryan ZumMallen of Edmunds via The Associated Press The spread of… Continue reading

‘Plant Defensive Communication’ lecture over livestream

Pam Larsen will present “Plant Defensive Communication” at noon… Continue reading

Winners announced for 2020 Tidepools publication

The staff of Tidepools 2020, Peninsula College’s art, music and literary magazine,… Continue reading

A breath of Freshwater Bay air

John Hagan of Port Angeles sits with his daughter,… Continue reading

Most Read