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The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Weekly Devotional for 2007


Week 17
April 22, 2007 -- April 28, 2007
Page 1

In the midst of the throne and all around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a human face, and the fourth living creature was like an eagle in flight. Each of the four living creatures had six wings, and the wings were full of eyes, all around and even underneath. Rev 4:6b-8a.

In this passage we run into a group of four "living things," the first of many strange and unusual creatures in the Book of Revelation. These four living creatures are full of eyes and have six wings each. Each of them reminds one of a completely different creature. Among other strange beasts in Revelation are a slain lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, a talking vulture, locusts that have human faces and scorpion stingers, and a seven-headed, ten-horned dragon. While these creatures are all interesting, you won't run into any of them in the forest or in a zoo --  unless you've been drinking!

This reminds me of one of the most popular cartoon movies of all time, known as Lion King.  Lion King appears on the surface to be an animal story, but it's not actually about animals. The animals in the story represent people and how they relate to each other. Lion King is, in fact, an African apocalypse. The cartoon portrays a perfect world, where everything is in balance and harmony. That world is then destroyed by the forces of evil and eventually restored by the heroic actions of a son. Revelation is a lot like that.

Writers of books and cartoons have often used animals to illustrate how people and groups of people behave. We find it easier to recognize ourselves and our behaviors if the insight comes through a story about animals.  If a writer tries to make sensitive points more directly, we tend to resist or reject them because we feel under attack.

That's what makes the Book of Revelation so powerful. Although it reads like an animal story, its not really about animals. It is more like a cartoon drama about the interactions among groups of people, both good and evil. It is about the relationship between God and the human race, and how the course of human history is going to turn out.

Why then do people find the Book of Revelation so tough to understand? It's because the drama of Revelation was not created in the 1990s, it was written in the 90s to a group of seven churches in the Roman Province of Asia. When it was written, God was speaking their language and encouraging them in their situation. But in His message to them God was creating an animated drama that would continue to inspire His people for nearly 2000 years.

Lord, thank You for reaching out to the human race in forms that we have learned to enjoy. Help us to see the deeper meaning behind Your words.

 
Jon Paulien

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