The Heart of Revelation: Understanding the 10 Essential Themes of the Bible’s Final Book by J. Scott Duvall is a wonderfully written book that doesn’t attempt to unlock any “codes” or predict the day of the Lord’s return, nor do a verse-by-verse exposition. Instead, the book brings the reader into ten key concepts of the Bible’s final book.
Throughout The Heart of Revelation, the reader encounters the connection between the key concepts of the book of Revelation, the promised events of the end times, and our lives today. The author does a great job of keeping grounded in Scripture, providing hope for the future, and encouragement for the day-to-day.
Here are some passages I snagged from the book:
The bottom line is that worship means telling God how much we love him and how we recognize him as the true center of all reality. When we fail to worship, we become distracted, frightened, restless, selfish people susceptible to the powers of this world. In worship, everything is made right and whole again. We are put in our proper place as beloved creatures, no longer attempting to occupy the center. When we worship, we find that we are who we were made to be, and our restlessness stops as we come to find our rest in God alone. (p 48)
Revelation also speaks of wicked empires that oppose God and his people. The great center of pagan power in Revelation is called “Babylon the Great” or “the great prostitute.” In the first century, no doubt, the Roman Empire was in view, but there have been anti-Christian empires in almost every age. In chapters 17-19, John writes in detail about the character and actions of Babylon…God condemns this great prostitute for four specific sins: (1) she glorifies herself and rejects God through arrogant self-sufficiency and idolatry; (2) she promotes sexual immorality; (3) she indulges in excess luxury and materialism to the neglect of human need; and (4) she abuses and murders those who follow Jesus Christ. Any society or aspect of a society, be it religious or not, that reproduces these traits could rightly be called part of Babylon. (p 87)
Deception and accusation [Rev. 12:9-10] are both based in lies…Consequently, we need to know God’s truth, which is communicated to us through his Word. Taking refuge in God’s truth includes knowing God’s story in the Bible, knowing how to interpret and apply sections of the Bible, being part of a community where God’s Word is honored and taught well, and consistently memorizing and meditating on and praying the Scriptures. (p 89)
Life is like scuba diving in that we need a way to determine what is real and true when we can’t trust our feelings or intuition. The Bible is our reality book, an amazing gift from God to help know what is true and real, to help us avoid the devil’s deceptive schemes…
I’m convinced that one of the chief ways Satan tries to deceive Christians today is through distractions. We simply lose sight of what is important and what we’re supposed to be doing. We get disoriented and sidetracked and find ourselves drifting and spending our life on stupid stuff that doesn’t matter. We’re overstimulated by social media and distracted to death. When we give in to these little distractions over time, they can lead to big tragedies in our lives. We become deceived and led astray. This is how Satan works. Although it’s important to say no to distractions, perhaps we need to focus more on saying yes to the few things we know God wants us to do. Distractions melt away when we pursue the Lord and his calling on our lives with a sense of urgency.
Revelation 12:11…tells us how Christians conquer the devil…We focus on saying yes to Jesus and what he has done for us. This becomes our consuming passion in life. We will not be deceived when we fix our eyes on Jesus. (pp 90-91)
This world is broken and cannot be fixed apart from Christ’s final intervention. We want the kingdom to come in all its fullness. We long for things to be the way they’re supposed to be. In the final sentence of Revelation, Jesus promises to return: “He ho testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’” And so our constant prayer remains, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).
Revelation isn’t just about the future; it’s also about how we live in the present (p 178).
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers http://www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.