Inkblot Interpretations

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Revelation 1:3

For the entirety of 2019, I made it my aim to seriously study and, if possible, understand the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. I mean, I studiously and scrupulously studied the Book of Revelation, verse by verse, in great depth and breadth. My intent was to actually understand the book, on the perhaps dubious assumption that it actually can be understood. More than just understand it, I hoped to make it understandable to others. If possible, I even wanted to make a comprehensive slideshow commentary of the book, so as to explain it to a class of eager, on the edge-of-their-seat students. 

For me to even say that I was so intent on grasping the Book of Revelation may worry you, or at very least, may trigger your inner yellow “caution-caution-caution, this guy is likely wacky” strobe light. That I do realize. And candidly, I don’t blame you — at least, not much. If someone else were to approach me and announce that they were intent on very seriously studying and deciphering the meaning of the Apocalypse, I would be inclined to have the same reaction. Who, in their right mind, would even want to do such a thing? 

Don’t you realize that people will perceive you as eccentric at best, and crazy at worst?   

But, regardless the probable suspicion and stigma, I did do it. I set out to seriously study the Book of Revelation. I did it very quietly and inconspicuously, at first. And I tried to do it in the most respectable manner possible. Besides reading, re-reading, re-re-reading, and listening to audio recordings of the Book of Revelation itself, I also borrowed and bought books about it. I read lots of books — old books, obscure books, wacky books, new books, distinguished books, highly respectable books, and how-did-this-ever-get-published books. I made a point of gathering them all, and reading most of them. And I’d be happy to show them to you, should you swing by and express any interest.    

But if that doesn’t impress you much, I would have to nod and agree. A big collection of books does not guarantee that the collector has come to correct conclusions. You would be right about that. If you have the means, it is relatively easy to collect books. It can be impressive. But it doesn’t mean you’ve done any better than all the other would-be, wanna-be expositors of the Book of Revelation. True enough.

But in reading books about the Book of Revelation, what I’ve discovered is that there are a number of scholars who have actually have made some genuine progress in understanding it. They really have. I know that what I just said is merely an assertion. The assertion itself is not convincing. But I will assert it, nonetheless. There are some scholars who really have made headway in making sense of the Apocalypse. If you were to take the time to listen to them, you would come to same conclusion, I’m willing to bet. But you need to be willing to listen. 

What I find, though, is that most people are not willing to listen. They just give you a half smile and walk away. I don’t blame them — at least, not much.