About twenty years ago, I was going to the bank to make a deposit. I looked up in the sky and in the middle of the sky there was a red cloud that was shaped like a horse’s head. It was stunning…all alone in the middle of the sky and it just stayed there. I parked the car and pulled over to look at it. I didn’t have a camera with me so I couldn’t take a picture of it. After a few minutes, I went into the bank and made my deposit. The cloud was still there when I came out and I watched it again. It had not dissipated or changed at all. It was striking and I will never forget it.
I continued on my errands, went home and cooked dinner for my family. Later that night, a friend of mine called. She was going to a university about 70 miles away on the other side of the mountains. I told her what I had seen and she said she had also seen the same cloud. I thought that was pretty remarkable. I have looked at clouds since I was a child. You can see a shape in them but sooner or later the shape will change and dissipate. Nothing of the sort happened that day with the red horse’s head.
It made me think about the book of Revelation. I had never heard of the book of Revelation before I was a senior in high school. I was in an upper-level English class and we were reading a poem by William Butler Yeats entitled, “The Second Coming.” We discussed the poem and people mentioned the book of Revelation and the Antichrist. I had never heard of those terms because I was Biblically illiterate. I wanted to check them out so I went upstairs to the school library and took a Bible off the shelf. I turned to the book of Revelation and words just started jumping off the page at me. I read about the city on seven hills and immediately knew it was Rome. To say the book caught my attention was an understatement.
Since that time I have read the book of Revelation many times. I have read several books and commentaries about it. Some people believe it is allegorical and that it describes the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. or the persecution of the Christians in the first centuries by the Roman emperors. Others, like me, take it literally and look for the future signs of its fulfillment.
For those of you who have not actually read the book of Revelation, it is the last book in the Bible written by the Apostle John while he was in exile on the Isle of Patmos. It describes the visions he saw while on Patmos. It is filled with lots of symbolism describing God’s final judgments on the earth and the restoration of all things. There are three sets of judgments that come on the earth and the first set opens with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse being unleashed. The first horse is white and carries a figure that many believe to be the Antichrist who will go forth to rule and reign on the earth. The second horse is red and its rider brings war to the earth. The third horse is black and its rider brings famine to the earth. The last horse is pale (chlorus in the Greek) and it brings death upon the earth. Certainly a frightening scenario from any standpoint of view.
The scholars that take the Book of Revelation literally fall into several camps. Some believe that all of the judgments will happen within a seven year period that will culminate in a final battle being fought on the plains of Megiddo in Israel. Most people refer to this battle as the Battle of Armageddon. (Har Megiddo in the Hebrew -meaning the Mountain of Megiddo) Others believe the judgments will take place over a more prolonged period of time and look back to say World War I as possibly the beginning of the fulfillment of these prophesies.
Because the book is so symbolic, no one knows for sure exactly how it will unfold. Most all of the symbols in the book are found in the Old Testament. The book of Daniel especially has many symbols that are directly related to the book of Revelation.
I, for one, don’t know for sure when all of these events will take place. There are, however, some very interesting things in the book. For example, in Chapter 8, the third trumpet judgment describes a great burning star falling to earth and polluting the waters. It states that many men will die because of the water pollution. The name of the star is Wormwood. Wormwood in the Russian and Ukrainian Bibles is translated Chernobyl. I find that interesting, to say the least.
For those of you who haven’t read the book, I would highly recommend it. You will be reading it with fresh eyes and who knows how it will speak to you. There are lots of commentaries and viewpoints about the book of Revelation. I think it is important to read many of the different viewpoints so a person can make an informed decision about what they believe and how they choose to interpret it.