Is it juvenile for me to want the Revelation made into a movie? I
know that any film in which these images were depicted as they appear on
the page would spectacularly miss the point, but when I read passages
about demon-horses cloaked in flame and slathering brimstone while their
serpent-tails lash and their enemies stagger…I crave popcorn.
Sadly, even if we had such a film I probably still wouldn’t find it
sufficient. I’d want a film that showed the images, but gave the meaning
also. That’s a tall order. John’s Revelation ignites my imagination,
but it also fixes my thoughts. Films can’t do both—they’re boring and
true, or excitedly false.
Yet John’s exciting images are designed to teach us a fundamental
truth: life’s tragedies ought to lead us to repentance, but they don’t.
Having suffered greatly at the hands of the demonic horsemen, the
inhabitants of the earth still choose to worship demons. Demons are
loosed from the abyss in 9.1-12, and demons kill 1/3 of the population
in 9.15, and the people refuse to abandon their demons in 9.20-21. The
instrument of suffering becomes the vehicle for idolatry.
For some people, the only way to cope with evil is to accommodate it.
Some lives are ruined by bitterness, and yet bitterness has become
dear. Some lives are ruined by wanton sexuality, and yet sexual conquest
conquers every rational consideration for a better life with better
relationships. I have a friend who complains about everything. I’ve got a
love/hate relationship with him. I love him, but I can’t stand to be
around him because he never stops complaining. As a result, he’s alone
most of the time, can’t keep a job, and can’t hold onto a girlfriend. He
complains about all of this, which perpetuates the cycle. His
malcontent has ruined everything, but he refuses to acknowledge his own
complicity in his isolation. He complains that I ask him to stop
complaining! My friend falls into the same category as the
demon-worshippers: neither he or they seem capable of understanding that
they are killing themselves, to one degree or another, by the very
thing they love.
When will we learn that judgment is purposed for repentance? That misery ought to lead us to our knees?
That we ought to change?
How bad do things have to get before we realize we made them this way?