Book Excerpt: Revelation: The Way It Happened

“Our Lord holds the seven stars?” Matthew looked up questioningly.

“I will explain in due time, my son. Now, sit with me.”

“Yes, Father,” Matthew acquiesced, rightly perceiving this as not the time for attitude. He sat down, leaning against the rock wall, quite happy to delay his studies even if the interruption didn’t give him opportunity to play; even if he received no silver for his attention.

“You remember my telling you about Jesus of Nazareth, don’t you? The Son of God, they called him?”

“Of course I remember!” Matthew couldn’t help rolling his eyes as he recalled all the days he’d spent with his father’s Christian friends. “Some called him the Messiah, but others say he died a criminal’s death at the hand of the Romans.”

“Yes, the Romans crucified him on a cross. My heart has been heavy, Matthew, ever since we escaped the Holy City and fled here to the church of Ephesus. The fathers here have been kind to us these twelve years, but still I wonder. How could things have gone so wrong? If Jesus is the risen Messiah, why didn’t he fight for us during the war? How could he let our holy Temple be destroyed? How could God allow such destruction in Zion, and then how could his Son delay his return for so long afterward? Have we been forgotten? Or was Jesus not the Messiah after all? These thoughts have often troubled me.”

Unsure of how to address his father’s doubts, Matthew coughed into a fist, buying time. Fathers should have answers, not questions. This already felt like an uncomfortable initiation into the adult world. “Jesus told us the Temple would be destroyed,” he remembered. “Not one stone left upon another. What he said came true!”

Samuel smiled and placed an affectionate hand on the shoulder of his only surviving child. “You’ve been paying attention at the communion meals, haven’t you? I knew you were ready for this discussion. Matthew, do you remember John, the son of Zebedee?”

–Revelation: The Way It Happened, 2010, p. 9, by Lee Harmon

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