Revelation: The Way It Happened
Samuel and Matthew are father and son, two Jews who escaped Jerusalem during the war of 66-70 CE, when the Romans overran Judea, and who sought refuge in one of the seven churches in Asia. Now, on Matthew’s thirteenth birthday, Samuel shows his son a silver coin, one that displays a Roman figure holding seven stars in his right hand. But to Matthew’s surprise, the coin is not a birthday gift; it is used as a cautionary. “Battle lines are being drawn,” Samuel tells Matthew. “Our Lord, not this Roman pretender, holds the seven stars safe within his hand.” Confused, Matthew looks to his father for explanation, and thus begins their discussion of the letters written by the apostle John to seven churches in Asia-the stories found in Revelation.
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What was John thinking when he penned the book of Revelation? Two millennia later, this famous apocalypse is still being revered literally by some Christians and discarded as the ravings of a madman by others. Author Lee Harmon strikes a perfect balance as he maneuvers in story form through the first-century drama John was really writing about. This is a serious look at the earliest Christians, presented in an entertaining way.
Harmon leads us, verse by verse, through the events of Revelation, adroitly explaining the relevance of these scriptures while seamlessly weaving in a father-and-son discussion of John the Apostle’s frightful letter. Meet Samuel and thirteen-year-old Matthew, two Jews living in Ephesus fifty years after the death of Christ, and share in their astonishment and horror as the prophecies of John’s colorful vision are played out around them in the Roman Empire. Bare your teeth at the original beast of Revelation, his double the antichrist, and John’s nemesis, the false prophet. Relive the gruesome Jerusalem war of 70 AD, the fire-and-brimstone tragedy of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the expectation of horrible massacre looming on the horizon and, finally, the Christian dream of escaping all this to live with God in a new Eden-like Jerusalem after it floats down from heaven and settles atop the war-torn rubble of mount Zion. Harmon excels at capturing the essence of that time, even as he addresses our modern-day perceptions and misconceptions of this ancient tome.
Delve into this fascinating and intriguing book and–as the author promises–you will never read the Bible in the same way again. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder what on earth you’ve been thinking to believe the current-day interpretation of John’s masterpiece.