What is the book of Revelation really about?

I am gearing up for a new “assault” on the book of Revelation in a few months. I plan to preach a lengthy series of sermons that I hope can evolve into a book. This time, more than when I have worked with Revelation in the past, I will focus in our present-day context as we read Revelation. I actually do believe Revelation speaks to our world in profoundly urgent and relevant ways—though not at all in the ways writers like Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye think.

So I have gone back to look at some of the earlier writing I did on Revelation. I found this series of four sermons from 1996 particularly interesting. This series came near the end of my two-year stint as co-pastor with my wife Kathleen at Salem Mennonite Church in Freeman, SD. Several people had been encouraging me to do something on Revelation before we left. So I tried to boil down in four sermons what I thought was most important about Revelation.

When I return to Revelation this fall, my take on what the book is really about will probably be a bit different, at least in emphasis, than it was 15 years ago. But in rereading those old sermons, I feel pretty good. Which is why I am posting them here. I show how one might read Revelation as a source of ethical and spiritual encouragement.

I was interested to discover that in the midst of my series, I had to find a way to relate Revelation to baptism, as we baptized three teenagers the Sunday of my third sermon. I don’t know how many baptism sermons draw directly on Revelation, but I am pretty happy with how I linked baptism with the critique of Babylon in Revelation 18.

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