4 Things to Know if Revelation Scares You

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4 Things to Know if Revelation Scares You

If you were to take a poll of a large, randomized group of Christians and ask them to pick the scariest book of the Bible, odds are most will say Revelation. The images in Revelation are often very confusing, and sometimes downright scary. It is one of the most misunderstood books, and frequently one of the most under-preached books in the New Testament. This is a shame, because Revelation is a Christ-centered, amazing book of the Bible that ought to fill God’s people with hope, not fear.

Here are 4 things that you should know if Revelation scares you.

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1. Revelation Is Understandable

One reason why Revelation is found to be so scary and disturbing is that it can be very difficult to understand. It is especially confusing for the twenty-first century western Christian. Why is that so? Because Revelation was not written for us. It was written for first-century Christians in the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3, Christians living around modern day Turkey.

The images, references, and idioms used in Revelation are relevant for people in a culture from thousands of years ago, halfway around the world. It is not supposed to be easy to understand for Christians in western culture today. 

However, that does not mean it is impossible to understand. Upon studying the context and images of Revelation in light of the Old Testament, the book makes a lot of sense. By participating in a close study of the text, Revelation becomes much less scary, and much more intriguing. 

If you find yourself afraid of the content of Revelation, pursue knowledge. There are countless articles, books, podcasts, and sermons that do a great job of breaking down the text in Revelation so that it can be understood as the original audience would have understood it. Give thanks to centuries’ worth of scholars who have labored over the text so that Christians like you and I can understand and appreciate it!

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2. Revelation Was Written to Give Hope to Suffering Christians

One reason why Revelation is found to be so scary and disturbing is that it can be very difficult to understand. It is especially confusing for the twenty-first century western Christian. Why is that so? Because Revelation was not written for us. It was written for first-century Christians in the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3, Christians living around modern day Turkey.

The images, references, and idioms used in Revelation are relevant for people in a culture from thousands of years ago, halfway around the world. It is not supposed to be easy to understand for Christians in western culture today. 

However, that does not mean it is impossible to understand. Upon studying the context and images of Revelation in light of the Old Testament, the book makes a lot of sense. By participating in a close study of the text, Revelation becomes much less scary, and much more intriguing. 

If you find yourself afraid of the content of Revelation, pursue knowledge. There are countless articles, books, podcasts, and sermons that do a great job of breaking down the text in Revelation so that it can be understood as the original audience would have understood it. Give thanks to centuries’ worth of scholars who have labored over the text so that Christians like you and I can understand and appreciate it!

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3. The Primary Theme of Revelation Is Worship

Most people think of Revelation and think of the strange images and the descriptions of great battles between the Lord’s army and that of the enemy. While these are certainly memorable parts of Revelation, the underlying theme is worship and praise of Jesus Christ. 

Worship is mentioned twenty-one times throughout the book. Upon an intentional reading of Revelation, one can notice how scenes of worship and praise of Christ/the Lamb interweave throughout the entire book, as well as bookending the book. 

This is another way the book serves as a message of hope for Christians. It is also a reminder of the trustworthiness and praiseworthiness of our Lord and Savior. While it can be easy to overlook these scenes of worship and focus on the crazy pictures that John depicts, it is important to not neglect the recurring theme of praise. Jesus is worthy to be praised, and Revelation should be a catalyst for such praise, not a catalyst for fear of the end times.

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4. Christ Will Be Victorious

One of the scariest parts of Revelation is the talk of the end times. The end of the world is a very common fear, and Revelation does not provide sufficient comfort for many Christians. However, while it is easy to fear the unknown aspects of the end times, it is tragic if such fear distracts us from what we do know about the end times. 

What do we know about the end times for sure? Revelation is strikingly clear: Jesus will be triumphant. Jesus will win. He will be victorious in the end! While there is debate in regard to the details of the end times, no Christian debates that when the end times come, Jesus will defeat the enemy once and for all. 

It is heartbreaking that so many read Revelation and do not come away beaming with hope of Jesus’ ultimate victory. Note how John ends the book. He is the one who received all of these crazy visions, yet there is no fear detected in his tone. He is not afraid of what he saw. He is drawn in. He wants the end to come sooner so that he can be with Jesus. 

John ends Revelation with the resounding cry, “Come, Lord Jesus!” John is full of hope. Do not miss this point. If anyone has a right to be afraid of what is described in Revelation, it is John. He is the one that saw it all, and he is the one who wrote it all down. Yet he is not afraid. He is eager and excited for Jesus' return, as we should be.

Revelation can cause fear for many Christians, especially new or young Christians. However, this does not have to be the case. Upon understanding Revelation’s purpose, themes, context, and content, it is clear that Revelation is meant to give hope to Christians for the Second Coming of Christ. As you anticipate Jesus’ return, fear not. Have hope, and focus on worshipping Him. Join John in his closing call, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Amen, come soon Jesus.

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headshot of author Lucas HagenLucas Hagen is a freelance writer, recently graduated from Taylor University with majors in Biblical Literature and Youth Ministries. When he is not writing for Crosswalk, you can find him reading great books, playing guitar, competing in professional disc golf tournaments, and spending quality time with his lovely wife, Natalie, and their fluffy cat, Woodward. You can read more of his writing at habitsofholiness.com.