Summary: The resurrection of Jesus Christ empowers his followers to live lives of faith with boldness and confidence.
Revelation 8:1 – 9:21
Sermon Objective: The resurrection of Jesus Christ empowers his followers to live lives of faith with boldness and confidence.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)
“The Seven trumpets”
THE TEXT: REVELATION 8-9
I know it is a lengthy passage. But may I read all of chapters 8 and 9 again this morning?
Why? Because that was how it was meant to be read and heard. The Revelation is designed to stir the imagination and leave one with lasting impressions before it is designed to be studied in minutia … it is apocalyptic literature … it is colorful and emotive.
Imagine yourself in a small first century house-church in Sardis. You are listening to a reader read John’s letter to you. Most people, Christians included, could not read and none of them had a personal copy of the letter that they could follow along with. Keep your current situation in mind as you listen; specifically the peril you are in because of your faith and your cries to God for strength, wisdom, and help.
I suspect that you will notice, as I read to you, that:
1. The beginning and the end of the account frames the whole episode.
2. The largest portion of the trumpet’s events are not written about you – albeit they are written for you.
>> Read Rev. 8:1 - 9:21 <<
For some it is roller coasters. For others it is a horror movie. Others might get their fix by reading suspense thrillers. But there is something in the human psyche of many that loves to be scared! Neurologists tell us that it is the adrenalin rush and that the same neurotransmitters are engaged when one is riding a rickety wooden roller coaster or watching an intense plot unfold as are triggered when we laugh. It’s a hormonal storm.
Maybe that is why some like to read John’s Apocalypse like it is a suspense thriller. Never mind that the book says it is revealing (that’s what “apocalypse” means) truth; not hiding truth or trying to scare us. There is something about the foreignness of the imagery and the darkness of the book’s tone that immediately fashions it into something mysterious and suspenseful.
Maybe we can blame the way we read it on Edgar Allen Poe.
And it is precisely portions like chapters 8 and 9 that evoke these sensations and assumptions. And yet, John’s writing was not intended to fill its readers with fear. In fact, that is just the opposite of what it was designed to do. John’s apocalypse was designed to stir hope, boldness, and faithfulness. Whenever we flip it and make it a suspense thriller, however, it does just the opposite and then it strips the text of all its power to be a transforming spiritual force in our lives.
The readers and hearers of John’s apocalypse had enough real horror taking place in their lives … they didn’t need to read a Stephen King-styled book to get their endorphins fix. JOHN’S BOOK, AS STRANGE AS IT SEEMS TO SOME IN OUR DAY, WAS DESIGNED TO ELICIT PEACE, CONFIDENCE AND PRAISE.