In my slow reading of scripture I’m currently in the Revelation with all of its striking, often symbollic images. The Revelation (commonly called Revelations) ends what is called the corpus of scripture and closes the canon, the completion of the inscripturated or written word of God. And so in a sense it is the end of the story, the climax and closing of the Book, the Bible.
For those who think the New Testament is a radical turn from the Old Testament, they had better think again. The Revelation is filled with allusions to the Hebrew Bible. God’s judgment and wrath comes always before his salvation, one can even say as part of his saving work. God must judge the evil in the world, giving time and opportunity for repentance, but in the end letting people have their way. I believe God’s wrath in scripture is shorthand for judgment. But God does get angry at evil. However God’s anger is not like ours in that it is entirely righteous, without sin. It’s always in keeping with his love. Whereas our anger all too often is not, and as James says does not bring about God’s righteousness.
I have to admit, the Revelation is a head scratcher in some ways to me along with other parts of scripture. But I don’t have to get every part. I simply accept by faith what I can’t understand and keep prayerfully studying so as to better understand.
In the end all is well and good. All the good this old creation points to is completely fulfilled in the new creation in and through Jesus. The world system judged and the new world in the new Jerusalem from heaven brought in. Our Lord making all things new.
And we’re to live in the light of that coming judgment and salvation. Knowing our works (from faith, hope and love) do matter, an emphasis in this book. And that there is a good ending no matter what we face now.