Friday, November 18, 2011

Understanding the Book of Revelation

You  may want to share the following story with your class at the end of lesson 44 to get them in the right frame of mind for reading the assignment in Revelation.

When our older children were little, we took them to a 3-D movie.  For one of them, who was only four or five years old, it was the first
3-D movie she'd seen.  This was in the early days of 3-D and the movies were made 3-dimensional by playing two views of the scene on the screen at once which were slightly offset from each other and in slightly different colors.  You had to wear little cardboard glasses that had one blue lens and one red lens, so each eye would be watching a different "movie" and as the images were sent to your brain it created the special 3-D effect. (Click here for a link to a picture of 3-D glasses and an explanation of how they work.)

Well, our little daughter was upset about having to wear the funny glasses and refused.  She had never had to wear glasses to see a movie before, and she didn't see why she should have to for this one.  Beside, the glasses felt awkward to her.  Of course, as the movie began to play, she was even more upset because she couldn't see the movie!  Without the uncomfortable glasses, everything on the screen was just a blur.

The Book of Revelation is like an epic 3-D movie.  We have to approach it with an entirely different perspective than we do, say, the Book of Mormon, and if we refuse to do that, it's all just a blur of nonsensical words.

The irony of the Book of Revelation is that John had a wonderful vision--three-dimensional, multi-facted, sensory-laden, and emotionally-charged--all the stuff of the subconscious mind or the right brain or the artistic side, but the only "technology" available to him to convey his vision to us was the written word--the stuff of the conscious mind or the left brain or the logical thought process.  Somehow we have to transfer the language back into the mode in which John received the revelation.  If we just try to understand the words, it is a silly, disjointed story at worst, or a list of symbols and their interpretations at best.  BUT, if we can transfer the words back into the images, and call upon the spirit of personal revelation available to those who fervently study the scriptures, we can experience the emotions, the grandeur, the spiritual fire that this vision gave to John, and which still carries him in his work on the earth today.  To catch the vision of the Book of Revelation, we have to step out of our "spiritual couch-potato" comfort zone and put on our 3-D glasses. 

Keep that in mind as you study Revelation 1-3 and 12 this coming week.


Wes Smith said...

What a marvelous way to introduce the Book of Revelation! I'm using it in my class, except that I'm swapping the description of brain function left for right.

Nancy Wyatt Jensen said...

Thanks for the correction; I fixed it.

Naomi said...

This is brilliant - totally makes sense of it.