True Confession #1: I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night or the night before or at any time I can really remember! That means I cannot claim to be an expert about anything.
I get brokenness.
I get brokenness as the result of my own stupidity.
I get brokenness from my accumulated pain, heartache, and grief.
In that sense at least, there was never any reason for me to sleep at a Holiday Inn Express. Because, as it turns out, I own brokenness (I’m not so jaded or self-impressed to think I’m the only shareholder in this conglomerate). In fact, we both know there are as many different ways to be broken as there are broken people.
We’ll come back to brokenness momentarily, but in the meantime here’s True Confession #2: I have absolutely no idea why I signed on to write an article or post on The Book of Revelation.
I’m not the go-to-guy for advanced understanding of biblical languages. I’m not an expert on all the prevailing historical detail. So, for me to just pop out an insightful, accurate, and informative article on the Book of Revelation? The true question has to be what was I thinking?
Revelation is one of those books that has spawned innumerable interpretations. From the solidly biblical to the fantastical are-you kidding-me? From serious discussions of timelines and who was the Roman Emperor when it all took place to the meaning of locusts.
Yes, you read me correctly. Locusts. As in early predictions of Apache Attack Helicopters.
And all of that before you get to the interpretations of a great red dragon stalking a pregnant woman, souls under the altar, and angels pouring out Bowls of Wrath.
It would be remiss of me to forget the implanted microchip that we’ll all have as the Mark of the Beast.
Knowing this commitment and deadline was approaching along with the very sneaky suspicion that I had little to offer, I kept defaulting to the silly. And goofy. We must not forget goofy.
What is that you might ask? Somewhere back in the dim recesses of time, I learned a song at Sardis Lake Christian Camp ripped right out of Revelation.
Revelation 21:8 to be exact and the song lyrics went like this:
Liars go to hell
Liars go to hell
Burn, burn, burn
Burn, burn, burn…
Being the stellar theologian that I am, I’m sure the whole purpose of this particular verse immortalized in song was to excoriate all liars.
Burn, burn, burn!
But frankly, that’s quite depressing. In my brokenness, I’ve told more than my share of lies. I have allowed myself to live deceptively. Accordingly, self-deception has been a double-edged sword: it has been both the mark of my brokenness and a source of it. And while we laugh or snicker at the goofiness of that little ditty, there is an element of pain and sorrow securely attached.
As I work my way through this, as I wrestle with who I am, where I’ve been, Revelation confronts me with a balm for my soul, but not just my own.
Broken people (no matter the reason why) need hope and this last exclamation point to the canon of scripture is serious hope! When you get past the apocalyptic language, when you move beyond the imagery, Revelation is a story of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation. It’s the story of heaven coming down. It is the broken being remade anew in the presence of Immanuel, God with us!
And maybe, just maybe, the reason I latched on to this particular topic with this particular issue is simpler than I have been want to understand. I own in some respects a realized hope even now. But I long for that day when hope is revealed in its entirety.
Who doesn’t need hope?
“He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20 CSB17)
Yours with hope for a blessed future indeed!
Les Ferguson, Jr.