Revelation - a Book for Today!

My Bible study group is neck-deep in the book of Revelation. Funny, in the weeks leading up to the beginning of this study, the apprehension in the group was palpable. Only a few of us had ever read Revelation before, and one lady said she had stayed away from it her whole life out of fear. But on the very first day we read, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Rev 1:3, NIV) Of course we want to collect all of God’s blessings we can, so we plunged in with more enthusiasm.

I studied Revelation back in my late teen years in high school youth group. One of my absolute favorite novels ever was a fictitious account of the Rapture and Tribulation called Civilization’s Last Hurrah by Gary Cohen. (It’s out of print now, but I still have a very old copy.) It came out in 1974, long before Left Behind was even a twinkle in Jenkins’ or LaHaye’s eyes. For many years I was fascinated by the discussion of end-time prophecies, and especially in trying to spot literal translations in the world around me. Then, after a few years, my focus switched to strengthening my day-by-day personal walk with the Lord, and it had been a long time since I’d given any serious thought to the last book in the Bible.

This time around, I’ve been surprised at how much of Revelation is applicable to me right now, every day. I don’t remember realizing that when I studied it before; I was too busy watching the world for cataclysmic earthquakes and someone telling us to put a mark on our hand or forehead. But now, in every chapter I come across something that makes me stop and rethink an aspect of my daily walk with God.

Today, for instance, I read in chapter 15: “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb.” The song that follows is one of praise and worship to the glorious King of all ages.

That verse stopped me in my tracks. These people were holding harps given them by God. God gives us instruments with which to sing His praises! I immediately started taking stock of the instruments God has given me—a voice with which to speak and to sing, the ability and opportunities to write, a heart with which to love… the list goes on and on. Do I use these gifts, these harps, to proclaim the majesty of the King of all ages?

That blessing John wrote about at the beginning of Revelation comes to me every day, as I find gems like that one and take them to heart. They spark moments of introspection and prayer, and make me more determined than ever to serve God with my whole heart every single day. As John said, the time is near. And that means the time to play my harp for Him is now.