“Finding Joy in the Book of Revelation” by Stephen Hutchins

“Finding Joy in the Book of Revelation” by Stephen Hutchins

I just finished going through the Book of Revelation in my quiet time.  I’m always blessed when I do this, which is about every 12-18 months.  This time was no different.  This wasn’t always the case, though.  I used to avoid it and only venture onto its pages to look up a verse, follow along with a sermon, or when studying some particular point regarding prophesy.  Otherwise, I was more than content to focus, at least devotionally, on the other 65 books.  I suppose you’re probably wondering how I arrived at this condition.  I’m not sure of the exact moment, but if I had to pick one, it may have begun close to one summer day in 1980.

I was working at a Christian summer camp in NY.  I got up early one morning to catch a boat off the island I was living on and then proceeded onto US Rte. 9 south and began hitchhiking toward Potterville, which is 10 miles away.  On a whim, I had made an appointment with Professor Tom Davis (a fav professor of mine at the Bible school I had attended there) to talk to him about the angst I was feeling about the differing eschatological teachings of the school and those of my pastor back home (affectionally known as Pastor Dave).  I think what I was looking for was someone to tell me that the differences weren’t really all that important.  I thought I had my man in Prof. Davis, but it wasn’t to be.  There was no middle ground to be celebrated.  In fact, he said I should consider finding another church to be a part of when I returned home.  He didn’t know Pastor Dave to be the serious follower of Jesus and peerless expositor of His word that I had come to know.

Thus began years of frustration.  I won’t bother you with a discussion of pre-millennialism vs. a-millennialism or dispensationalism vs. covenant theology, but for years I immersed myself in these subjects, the byproduct of which was the robbery of the joy of interacting with some of the richest parts of God’s Word.  Revelation bore the brunt of my disassociation since it was the easiest to wall off.

What changed?

Several years ago I became reacquainted with the promise contained in the opening verses in Revelation:

1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it;”

So there it was.  A promise from God that I would be blessed or happy to read this Book.  Happiness is not the emotion that immediately came to mind in my previous thoughts on the Book.  I decided to approach it devotionally without any theological agendas.  I haven’t been disappointed.  I see something new and of value every time I go through it.  I commend it to you.  Be blessed.

As for the minutiae of  Jesus’ second advent, keep your focus on the main point, which is that He is coming.  And perhaps soon (even as we understand that word) “for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed…” (Rom.13:11).