Campfire Scripture: Uncommon scriptures, simple truth… For pondering over a warm campfire.
Author, Date and Context:
John was the author of Revelation. Revelation is a legendary book. It’s the last and youngest book in all of scripture. John wrote this book late in life, probably by the time he was the last living apostle of Jesus Christ, in the last decade of the first century (94 – 96 A.D.). The early church fathers all agreed that John was the author. Right from the second century, which was not long after the book was written, unanimous testimony affirmed John’s authorship.
The book was written to both warn and encourage the seven major churches in Asia Minor. Warning them not to stray, but to stay true to the Word of God; encouraging them to stand firm against all manner of painful and terrifying persecution they were soon to face.
The above passage is describing the dramatic victory over sin and death of believers in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who shed his blood to take away the sin of the world..
What I Reckon:
The book of Revelation caricatures the devil as a dragon, which is just pure wish-fulfillment for me. A true story involving the great and terrible dragon being slain by the God of angel armies.
One point that is lost on many Christians today is that we don’t always have to learn from the Word of God. Not every passage has to have a take home message. Sometimes it’s just a narrative, it gives us inspiration and fills us with vigour.
Sometimes the Bible can just be read for the sheer enjoyment. I don’t even mean ironically, like ‘oh yes I love reading the Psalms and the law, it’s such a joy to abide in it’, I mean really just enjoy the stories. Suspend your inquisitive mind occasionally and just read it like a novel.
The book of Revelation makes for some great reading-for-pleasure material. Portions of the book are messages of warning and teaching to the seven churches in Asia Minor, but large portions are just the story of the great and dramatic conclusion of the earth at the end times. Or in this case the regaling of the dramatic war of the angels in heaven sometime towards the beginning, before the fall of man.
The recipients of Revelation would have received this exciting book to be read for its enjoyment. That’s basically the point of Revelation really.
Enjoy the power of God and take heart in these words. Enjoy the fact that despite whatever horrendous persecution you might face, the God of creation has a plan in it all, and it includes your being given eternal life!
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).