I’m reading the book of Revelation right now.  Interesting, to say the least.

My practice of NASB, then The Message, then commentary has been helpful in understanding the book.  For instance, the angels mentioned in chapters 2 and 3 are not angels, but the leaders of the church at the time.

One other interesting thing I have found is that whenever it happens, bad times are a-coming.  Revelation chapter 8 is a list of rough times on the people of Earth.

1) Hail and fire mixed with blood, hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees, and all the green grass.

2) A huge mountain, on fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the fish died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

3) A great star, blazing like a torch, fell on a third of the rivers. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters

4) A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day and a third of the night was dark.

This is bad, right?  All the grass gone, four hours of the day dark, and people dying from bitter water.  And that’s not counting dead fish.  But wait, as they say.  There’s more.  This is the good stuff (comparatively).  In case you didn’t think that falling mountains and bitter water were strange enough, along comes an eagle.  He’s talking.

“Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

And he’s right.  It’s going to get worse.  From chapter 9:

5) Another star falls, and is given a key to unlock the gates of Hell.  Smoke comes out and darkens the sun, and then the locusts come.  They have poison tails that don’t kill you, but will make you wish you were dead, which you won’t be able to make happen.  Good news, though: the locusts won’t touch Christians, just unbelievers.  (That’s good news for Christians, anyway.)

6)  Four angels and two hundred million horse-mounted troops kill a third of mankind.

7)  The Kingdom of God comes to earth (among hailstorms, earthquakes, lightning, and thunder).  This is decidedly not good for those who do not follow Christ.

Wow.  Sounds – well, interesting.  Do I believe all this stuff?  You bet I do.  I don’t know if it’s literal or symbolic, or when it’s going to happen, or how it’s going to happen.  But I believe it.

I hope you do, too.  Being a Christian isn’t easy.  Not being a Christian is harder.  Trust me.  Or read the book.  It’s good.