A commercial a few years ago by the GMC truck division showed a truck sitting on a ramp mounted on the side of a bridge over a very deep gorge. All at once, someone pulls a lever and the ramp tilts and the truck rolls off the ramp. The truck is attached to a bungee cord and as it falls, the first thought one might have is, “Will the bungee cord snap?” Of course the truck stretches the cord to its limit and bounces back into the air (see commercial below).
This seemed like a bunch of foolishness to me. I saw the commercial many times and still wondered what the purpose of the commercial was, until, one day as I watched, I also paid attention to the commentator. Before, the only purpose I could imagine the commercial to be about was to show that the bungee cord was capable of holding the weight of the truck and the physical properties of gravity as the truck reached the limits of the cord. As I listened to the commentator, I realized that they were illustrating the strength of the truck’s frame and towing capacities as the forces of gravity worked against the truck.
When we study the Bible, especially prophecy, and in particular the book of Revelation, we see pictures described and wonder, “What is the book really about?” and, “What do these symbols and pictures mean?” Though the pictures are real, the message is given by the author, who is Jesus. That message is one of encouragement, hope, and victory for the Christian. Therefore, instead of focusing all of our attention on the pictures in Revelation, we need to focus on the message presented to avoid the confusion of misunderstanding and misapplying the pictures. It is like seeing the commercial and not understanding the meaning at all.
The key to understanding the book is presented in the first three chapters of Revelation. The one who overcomes by faith and faithfulness, no matter what, will inherit eternal life with God the Father and Christ the Savior. What a picture! What a promise! What a God!!
All scripture quotations are from the New American Standard.