Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oh Yeah

Revelation 16.1-9

Lex Talionis is a fancy way of saying ‘an eye for an eye’, or ‘what goes around comes around.’ There’s loads of that here in 16.1-9. For example, those who took the mark of the beast are now inflicted with painful sores—what began as a mark of fealty to the dragon has now become the proof that such fealty brings only death. It would be the cultural equivalent of everyone who loves Nike or Apple suddenly becoming inflicted with skin cancer in the shape of a swoosh or a bitten-macintosh. Then there’s the sea of coagulated blood. That’s another kind of comeuppance. All those who spilled the blood of the prophets are now required to swim in a sea of rot. It’s almost like the angels are saying. ‘You want blood? Here’s plenty. Go ahead and choke on it.’

NT Wright refers to judgment of this sort as ‘evil collapsing under its own weight.’ I love that phrase. It’s so fitting. On a geo-political scale we remember the fall of Communism, the end of the Third Reich, and the dissolution of Apartheid as regimes that collapsed under their own weight.

Communism failed to deliver even a modicum of the equality it promised, providing instead an even greater disparity between the government and the people. Fascism proved so obscenely inhumane that even those in political support of streamlined governmental systems could no longer ignore the moral implications of finding ‘final solutions’ for socioeconomic problems. It was the church in South Africa that spoke up loudest, albeit latest, against the evils of Apartheid, finally removing the barriers of self-righteous justification for a beastly division of people based upon pigment and gentility.

But it’s not just geo-political evil that collapses under its own weight. Interpersonal evil, sexual sin, dishonest business practices and a host of other sins ultimately carry within the sin itself the seeds of destruction. I counseled a friend who was involved in an extra-marital affair to stop (though I admit, I said it a little more harshly). I told him that that kind of behavior would cost him his marriage, his family, his community standing, and possibly his friendship with me. He didn’t take my advice, and he lost more than I’d foreseen at great personal cost. The only thing he didn’t lose was my friendship, and that was pale comfort given the scale of his calamity.

Judgment is less about God’s punishment and more about the natural consequences of deviation from God’s design for human flourishing.

What goes around comes around.

You’ll get yours and, if you’re not careful, you just might choke on it.

Of course the point of John’s vision—and of our writing here—is to help contextualize judgment as a call for repentance. Every judgment is designed with an escape route; every sentence passed from the throne of God is avoidable. The question is: will we ever take God’s judgments seriously before we have to?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Heard, Not Read

Revelation 15.1-8

It has often been said that The Revelation was meant to be heard and not read. Obviously someone was going to have to read it to each congregation, but the point remains that the vast majority of God’s people were destined to hear it read aloud rather than poring over it by themselves in a small room. Over and over and over again we see bits and pieces of worship and song scattered throughout John’s Revelation. It’s a public book. It’s a shared experience. It’s a musical. An opera. It’s a liturgy. A theatrical production full of images, lights, and sounds.

Perhaps one of the many things we’re supposed to understand as a result is that God desires our worship. By allowing us to hear the worship in heaven, we become acclimatized to the requirement of worship on earth. We’re meant to yearn for the heavenly experience of God’s praise. We’re called out of our silence and into song by the chorus of the angels.

But we don’t often feel like singing. Sometimes singing feels pointless, or stupid, or even inappropriate. It’s hard to sing about God’s goodness when life stinks. It feels forced to sing about God’s kingship when dictators and despots rule the earth. But that’s precisely the point! We’re meant to sing God’s praise in defiance of what we can see and taste and quantify. We’re meant to evoke heaven amid the pale reflection on earth. As Eugene Peterson says, 

“worship provides the context for the paradoxical simultaneities of believing in justice while experiencing injustice.”

Our original plan on June 24 was to read the entire book of Revelation out loud, accompanied by music. We have scripted it out so that the Revelation takes about two hours to experience. For a variety of reasons, had to cancel the event. However, simply the process of writing that script and conceptualizing that experience has been deeply faith-affirming for me. I can hear it in my head. I can close my eyes and imagine what it would be like.

And I guess that’s the point.

We’re not supposed to read Revelation, but to live it. We’re supposed to long for deliverance like the oppressed, yearn for justice like the martyrs, and sing like the saints in heaven echoing Moses on the banks of the Red Sea: Just and True are your works, O King of the Nations.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wow...sadly, I have lived like this

Vine of the Earth

Revelation 14.14-20

I find this passage one of the most confusing in the entire book. The harvest language, though initially a little gruesome, actually makes more sense once you realize that harvest time was a joyful occasion for agrarian societies.

But the winepress was almost always the language of bloody, violent, judgment in the First Testament. And I feel uncomfortable with the thought that Christ might here be employing the methodology of the Beast in order to bring about his Kingdom Come.

A couple of textual notes—courtesy of Darryl Johnson, George Caird, FF Bruce, and NT Wright—have helped me find my way through, albeit slowly :) 
For starters, in the First Testament “the vine of the earth” referred to Israel. But Jesus expropriated the term first for himself (“I am the True Vine…”) and then for his followers (“…and you are the branches.”). When John records the angel gathering the fruit from the vine of the earth, he’s referring to the blood of Christ—which cleanses sin—and the blood of the martyrs—who followed Jesus and died as a result.

“Outside the city” is also an important phrase, given that it was an early Christian means of referencing the cross (see Hebrews 13.12-13, for example, “therefore Jesus…suffered outside the city gate…”). Salvation came from “outside the city” via the cross. The winepress of God’s anger outside the city gate, then, is the cross. That is where God’s wrath was fully expressed against the contamination of sin (see Romans 3.21-26).

The “blood that flows up to the horses bridle for about 200 miles” becomes clearer when we understand that 200 miles was originally rendered 1600 stadia. 1600 refers to two things simultaneously. First, its the traditional length of Palestine in the ancient world, meaning there’s “blood enough” for those who rejected Christ. Second, 1600 is 40×40, where 4 = the number of creation and 10 = the number of the multitudes, meaning there’s “blood enough” for all creation.

And whose blood is it? The blood of God’s enemies?

No—it’s the blood of Jesus, the vine of the earth, and of his followers who were killed in his name. God spilled his own blood to save the world. This passage is less about God blowing up his enemies and dancing on their graves, than about the final reconciliation between Creator and Creation at His own expense.

Sound familiar?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Christian Cogs in the Imperial Beast Machine

Revelation 14.6-13

Earlier, in his address to the seven churches, John makes it clear that it’s possible to be a Christian and still serve the beast. Jezebel, the Nicolatians, and Balaam (though these were likely all nicknames) were all leaders within first century Christianity that advocated for a Christianity of compromise, a soft-gospel that permitted simultaneous allegiance to the Roman Imperial Cult and Jesus Christ. They wanted it both ways, and The Revelation warned them sharply against their milquetoast missiology.

Remember that the entire book of Revelation was written to those 7 churches—it’s a book for Christians, written by a leader within the Christian church, urging them to distinguish themselves from the corrupt systems of this world and to remain steadfast and faithful to Christ even if it should cost them their lives. These verses in chapter fourteen promise the downfall of Babylon (or Rome, as the contemporary counterpart) and the judgment of those aligned against God.

I realize that judgment is not a popular idea within our modern evangelical religion. We’d prefer God didn’t judge anybody. But he does. He must. If for no other reason, God must judge those who reject him to demonstrate his loyalty to the ones who remained faithful. God cannot tolerate wickedness and corruption and sin in his new creation, and those contaminants must be burned off before new creation can arrive. Where once it was the corrupt officials of the Imperial Beast Machine feeding Christians to lions and laughing as their children died, at The End it will be the martyred saints who look upon those same evil men as they face the consequences of their bloodthirst.

Does that sound unjust?

It shouldn’t.

Granted, it’s difficult for us to understand how the saints could just stand there and watch someone else suffer, yet we see this idea in film and television regularly. A villain commits a heinous crime—the rape of a small child, the exploitation of the peasant class—and the hero embarks on a self-sacrificial journey to rescue the downtrodden. At the end of the film, there is inevitably a showdown between the hero and the villain–with the villain finally succumbing to the same evil he inflicted upon the defenseless. In these films, the villain often dies laughing, or spewing vulgarity, or insisting that he was glad to have done it. His evil is not quenched even in death or at the moment of his defeat.

That’s the picture we have at the end, the picture of judgment: Hitler burning in Hell, laughing at Jews.

Would you let him into heaven?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Recommended Reading: The Theology of the Book of Revelation

A highly recognized and respected source on Revelation, The Theology of the Book of Revelation by Richard Bauckham is not an easy read. It’s a book written by a scholar for scholars. But it’s also the Revelation commentary cited over and over again by other authors and speakers. Bauckham has done his homework, and he knows what he’s talking about. 

If you’re really looking to dig deeper into this Revelation stuff, and you’re up for a little challenge, it will be well worth your time to grab a copy of Bauckham’s commentary and dive in. He makes a strong case for the value of studying Revelation in modern context, saying, “Revelation has an unexpected theological relevance today: it can help to inspire the renewal of the doctrine of God which is perhaps the most urgent contemporary theological need.” 

Purchase a copy here.

Political Issues with Left Behind

We've discussed the hermeneutical and theological issues found in the Left Behind novel series. Today, I'd like to briefly address the political issues found in the novels. 

Michael J. Gorman talks about these issues in his book, Reading Revelation Responsibly, which I've been recommending for the last couple days. 

Politically, the books don't line up with biblical teaching. They are militaristic and unabashedly pro-America. They see war in the Middle East as a good thing, something dictated by God, and they place the readers into a crusader mentality, warring for Jesus. 

Check out Gorman's book for more on all of these topics plus. 

For additional reading on Revelation, I (again) recommend N.T. Wright's Revelation for Everyone and our companion blogging project at

No One Knows the Tune

Revelation 14.1-5

This is my favorite line in the passage: “nobody can learn the song except for the 144,000…”
As before, the 144,000 are meant as a symbol—not a statistic—of God’s redeemed people. They are the firstfruits of for God and the Lamb, which is to say that they have been given pride-of-place in heaven because of their unwavering commitment to their King in opposition to the tyrannical forces of the dragon and its beastly counterparts.

But the part I think is cool is that bit about a song no one else can learn. God’s first resurrected followers can learn it, presumably for three reasons. First, they’ve suffered and died for the sake of Christ. Second, they’ve proven themselves faithful in the midst of that suffering. Finally, they’ve followed the Lamb in purity and in preparation.

Don’t get head-faked here by the reference to “celibacy.” It was a regular preparatory feature of both temple worship and just war that the participants had to abstain for a predetermined time beforehand. This is less about sex and more about consecration. It’s about readiness. It’s about absolute passion, commitment, and focus on following the Lamb.

Sometimes, in my travels and ministry with other leaders, I hear songwriters complain that it’s difficult to come up with new material.

Sometimes, in my work at The Winds, I hear church-folk complain that it’s difficult to think of something to pray.

Sometimes, in my own life, I find it hard to worship on my own.

But in those moments—and in many others just like them—we are reminded what it takes to offer up something new to God. It takes sacrifice. It takes faithfulness. It takes consecration. The songs don’t come from TV or the prayers from comfort, distraction, and ease. They burst forth from a life fertilized by struggle and fecund with faith.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Theological Issues with Left Behind

Yesterday, I briefly discussed the hermeneutical issues found in the popular Left Behind novels. Today, I'd like to bring up another set of issues Gorman addresses in his book, Reading Revelation Responsibly. 


Gorman finds some important theological issues with the series. In the books, LaHaye and Jenkins distort the gospel and make it all about being saved, so you aren’t left behind when Jesus comes again. It’s salvation based primarily on fear, and it falls short. 

It also leaves out any ethic of how to live between the first and second comings of Jesus. There is no reason to love one's neighbor or any of the other teachings of Jesus on how to live now; rather an imbalanced focus on living only in waiting for the second coming. 

For more on interpreting the book of Revelation, also check out N.T. Wright’s book Revelation for Everyone and our companion blogging project at

Outstanding Debts

Revelation 13.11-18

Suppose I owe you $700USD, but when it comes time to pay up I only give you $600. That would be frustrating. If I gave you $600pesos that would be ridiculous! There is a vast difference between $700USD and $600pesos. No one in their right mind would overlook such shortchange.

But that’s exactly what we’re tempted to do in this piece of the Bible. John goes on at length describing the second beast that supports the first through abuse of power, money, and propaganda. To cap it all off, John tells us who this beast is—identified by his number 666. Most scholars agree that’s a reference to Nero. Nero had died several years earlier, but there was a legend floating around that he had been resurrected (hence the reference to the ‘fatal wound that had been healed’). This was John’s way of saying that the current emperor, Domition, was going to be like ‘Nero all over again.’
But that identification doesn’t exhaust the full meaning of the number 666.

The whole reason John gave us the number was to point out the parody. This second beast looks like a lamb—but it’s not. It’s a fraud. The Lamb is 777—triple perfection, triple-consummation. But the beast is 666—triple failure, triple disappointment. The number 666 is less about identifying the individual name associated with the second beast, and more about identifying the characteristics of those who oppose God, parody the Lamb, and persecute the church.

NT Wright stands in a long line of biblical scholars who identify this second beast as the local Roman elites—either political or, mainly, religious—who promote the worship of the Emperor so as to improve their own position of power within the Empire. These are the sycophants and suck-ups, the toadies and lackeys, the wanna-be’s who curry favor, selling favors. Empires need this kind of support in order to thrive. All tyrannical regimes run on an engine of bullsh*t and greed, and those who follow the path of the second beast are fuel for the flames of Rome.

But their time of glory will soon end. The grass fades and the flowers die, but the word of the Lord stands forever. There will come a time when the unholy trinity of dragon, sea-monster, and second-beast are judged and their followers scattered. Those with the mark of the beast will be judged and punished (14.11, 16.2). There will come a moment when evil is exposed at every level, and exhausted. It will be a time for outstanding debts to be collected, and $666 is way short of $777.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Response to Left Behind

I’ve had several people ask me about the popular Left Behind novels, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The series fictionalizes the book of Revelation into a fantastical end-times story, but it also brings up some serious questions of its validity and accuracy.  

I’d like to recommend a book I have found extremely helpful in deciphering this series: 

Reading Revelation Responsibly by Michael J. Gorman. 

Gorman addresses several hermeneutical (interpretative) issues with the series.

The series treats Revelation as a puzzle of future events. It claims to be a literal interpretation, but includes some events which are not found anywhere in Revelation, and it assumes we are living on the brink of rapture and tribulation, among other things. 

For more on interpreting the book of Revelation, check out N.T. Wright’s Revelation for Everyone and our companion blogging project at

Imperial Beast Machine

Revelation 13.1-10

Things are starting to get interesting!

After being cast down from heaven (12.9), the dragon calls up reinforcements from the sea. In the old stories, the sea was the primordial source of chaos and destruction. It was the abode of Leviathan, Rahab, and a host of watery adversaries. The sea-monster that emerges at the dragon’s beckoning, then, is nothing less than a manifestation of pure terror. It is a “beast” aligned with the dragon against the church.

So, to recap, we have the dragon and the sea monster on one side versus the slain-lamb and the martyrs on the other.

Sound promising?

Of course not. But that’s the point—to remind John’s readers (and ourselves) that despite all appearances, the monsters eventually lose.

First Century Christians would have understood this sea-monster to represent the Roman Empire. However, there is—once again—a surplus of meaning in this text. The sea-monster isn’t representative of Rome ONLY, but of ALL powers that cooperate with the dragon to oppose God and wage war against the church. The Roman Empire was a type of sea-monster, just as the Babylonian, Assyrian, and Grecian empires were types of monsters represented in Daniel 7 (to which John is clearly referring with his adjectives/images of the monster). Later sea-monsters have dominated world history and geo-political thought: the Third Reich, for one, and Apartheid for another. More will indefatigably appear until the end of time. People with power will always forget the origins and purpose of that power. They will forget God, remembering only their own ambitions and desires. The role of the church is to persist and bear witness in the midst of the Imperial Beast Machine, regardless of its present manifestation.

One final thought: the phrase “if anyone is killed with the word, with the sword they will be killed” is a clear reminder that the powers of the sea-monster and the force of the dragon are violent. The violence is theirs, which is to say it does not belong to either the Lamb or his people. Many Christian novelists and imagineers forget this. They mistakenly believe that the means by which the dragon is overcome involve force-of-arms. But this is never how the church is meant to conquer. We do not wage war as the world does. We do not battle against flesh and blood. These verses remind us to “be patience and have faith”, not to march into battle with guns a-blazing. We follow the Lamb—not just in principle, but in means also. To abandon the suffering-witness of the Lamb in favor of the military conquest of the beast doesn’t just mean we’ve compromised the method of our discipleship.

It means we’ve changed sides.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Revelation 12.7-18

Though NT Wright doesn’t translate it this way, nearly every other biblical scholar renders verses 10-12 as a song. The words are italicized and meant to be heard “from heaven” in encouragement to those on earth. Normally I wouldn’t make too big of an issue about whether or not something was spoken or sung. But while I was preparing to preach through the Revelation, I stumbled upon South African scholar Allan Boesak’s commentary on the book. It’s a fascinating read, given that he wrote it from prison having been incarcerated for protesting the apartheid government of South Africa in the late 1980′s.

Boesak’s most memorable line in the entire book comes in this chapter: “It drives the dragon crazy when you sing about his defeat while bleeding.”


Boesak rightly paints the picture of the dragon appearing outwardly victorious. He is killing Christians. He is persecuting the church. But martyrdom is not victory for the dragon, but for the lamb. God’s people conquer “through the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” Singing rubs the dragon’s failures in his nose.

Much of life involves us bleeding. In Boesak’s case, he’s “bleeding” in prison while a bestial regime systematically brutalized thousands of people. But Boesak never stopped speaking the truth, never stopped protesting, and never stopped singing. In the first century, Christians bled because of their unwillingness to worship Caesar or participate in the Imperial Cult. But they never stopped singing either. They understood that the last weapon of the enemy was death, and that the sting and threat of death had been removed forever for they had been guaranteed life eternal.

In your case, maybe you’re “bleeding” from a divorce, or unemployment, or loneliness, or a sense of failure. But don’t let the dragon win. He may hurt you. He may even kill you. But if you’re going to go down, at least go down swinging.

Go down singing!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Farewell to the Rapture by N.T. Wright

Here is more from N.T. Wright to complement all we've been doing with Revelation. 

Farewell to the Rapture


Revelation 12.1-6

Famed pastor and translator of The Message, Eugene Peterson, once remarked that “the gospel is more political than anyone imagines, but in ways that no one guesses.” And here Peterson is proven absolutely correct.

John’s vision in chapter 12 directly challenges the Roman Imperial Cult, and—by extension—the Roman government and their right to rule.


If you’re a history geek, you might recall that Apollo (god of reason and light) was the “father” of Caesar Augustus. Caesar was the ‘son of God’ by Apollo, just as Apollo was the ‘son of God’ by Zeus, chief of the Roman pantheon. Apollo was conceived by Zeus and his human mother Leto. As Leto was about to give birth, a serpentine monster named Python waited for the boy to be born so he could swallow him up. Python was the sinister monster of the deep, the archetypal source of chaos and evil. But Zeus came to the rescue of Leo and Apollo, snatching them up and carrying them to safety. When Apollo reached adulthood, he pursued Python and killed him, brining light and order and reason to the world.

John re-tells this story in Revelation chapter 12; however, in John’s version, the characters’ roles are reversed. Caesar/Rome are no longer represented by Apollo, but by Python instead. Jesus is the true light of the world, and all those who seek to squelch the light of the son of God are enemies of the world and servants of evil.

This kind of seditious language was actually quite common within the early church. They observed that the world around them was always making claims about the greatness of this or that, and they felt compelled to identify that their allegiance belonged to Christ and none other. There was no room for compromise. No room for capitulation.

You were either on the side of Christ, or you were a serpent-sponsored power of chaos and evil.

Would that we understood that the faith of our ancestors was precisely this provocative and powerful.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Finally--Some Good News!

Revelation 11.15-19

There’s a moment at the end of Return of the King, after Sauron’s tower falls and the ring is destroyed, when all his forces are reduced to ash and the sun shines through the dark clouds. It’s a moment of total victory arriving on the cusp of cataclysmic defeat. That’s the mood at the end of chapter 11. In 11.1-14, the two witnesses just about lost everything before being resurrected and bringing glory to God. In fact, it looked like they had lost everything, until everything was reversed. But then we find ourselves at the end of this chapter, which—incidentally—is also the end of part one in the Revelation.

The book tells the same story twice. Chapters 1-11 tell the story of God eradicating evil and healing the world, and so do chapters 12-22. The end of chapter 11 is really the end of the whole story—God reconciles the world to himself, the “kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord”, the forces of evil are utterly defeated, and heaven is opened up to the world. Where previously God was identified as “Who Is, Who Was, and Who Is to Come”, now God is only “Who Is and Who Was.” Why? Because the future has now arrived in the present. We don’t need to wait for God to come. He’s here! He has dragged the future into this moment and invaded earth with the kinetic reality of his presence. Heaven has colonized earth, and the two halves of God’s Creation have now been reunited into one whole.

That’s how the story ends. It ends like that in chapter 11, and then is told all over again in chapters 12-22 only to end like that once more (from a very different vantage point) in chapter 22. The apocalypse doesn’t show us that God destroys the earth. Nope. Instead, God “destroys the destroyers of the earth” (11.18) so that the earth itself can be healed and all humanity can be brought back into right relationship with their Creator.

Isn’t that good news?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Suffering-Witness of the Church

Revelation 11.1-14

I agree with Tom Wright that it’s best not to take these two witnesses as either allegorical or literal people. Chapter 11 is something like a parable, or a short story, designed to instruct us how to be the church. “Witness” is an interesting word choice, by the way, since its primary connotation is the courtroom. The witnesses are not on trial, since the appropriate word for that would be “defendant”, but are instead testifying on behalf of someone else.

Who? Jesus, of course.

Christ is “on trial” for claiming to replace the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of our God, for subverting the status quo, for claiming that he has been given all power and authority in heaven and on earth and under the earth. He is on trial because, to all outward appearances, he is deluded. Caesar is Lord in the 1st Century, by all accounts, not Christ. Evil has dominion over the world, according to the headlines of the age, not Heaven. So in his defense, Christ calls his witnesses, his temple, his people, to give evidence that he is Lord and has conquered.

What kind of evidence do they bring? Power. Power to work miracles. Power to testify in the midst of oppression. Power to change lives and bring glory to God. Power to overcome death. Power, in other words, that defies earthly limitations and neither cowers nor capitulates to evil.

This chapter contains of the contents of the scroll from chapters 5 and 10. God’s plan to heal the world and eradicate evil, then, revolves around his people taking up his example in witness, suffering, and resurrection. Where the plagues and the trumpets failed, the martyr-witness of the church will succeed. Christ conquered through his suffering witness and death, and means for us to do the same.

The two witnesses call to mind the ministry of Moses and Elijah, prototypical of the Law and the Prophets respectively. The Law is the revelation of God’s truth, and prophecy the application of that truth in our history. What the two witnesses represent, then, is the call to live “revealed truth.” But this is not a popular proclamation, and so the witnesses are killed in the street. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” said Tertullian in AD 225, and that altruism continues to hold. It is only after their resurrection that the onlookers give glory to God. Preaching without power, it seems, only gets you killed. But preach anyway, trusting God with the power. South African theologian Allan Boesak’s words ring true here, spoken first in opposition to Apartheid but equally true in the context of Revelation 11: “there are some things for which a man ought to die, and others for which he must die.”

What are we to make of this bewildering short story?

God’s plan to heal the world requires God’s people to do their part as his witnesses. That will cost us, dearly, just like it cost Christ. But God will reward us, infinitely, just as Christ was rewarded. And the net result of our faithful witness—even should it cost us our very lives—will be the turning of men’s hearts to God as they give him glory.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recommended Reading for Revelation: The Revelation of John by William Barclay

Barclay begins with an exceptionally clear introduction to help set the stage for understanding the book of Revelation before diving into verse-by-verse commentary. He not only gives us much-needed cultural context, but also explains the genre of apocalyptic literature and clarifies important historical details. Barclay takes perhaps the most difficult-to-understand book of the Bible and breaks it down into a book anyone can understand. 

“No one can shut his eyes to the difficulty of the Revelation. It is the most difficult book in the Bible; but it is infinitely worth studying,” Barclay says in the introduction. 

An excellent companion to the study of Revelation, Barclay’s commentary will help you to make sense of the confusing language and imagery in the last book of the Bible. 

Find a copy of the book here.