Words as Pictures – preliminary thoughts on Revelation

The book of Revelation is made up of words.  Yet it is a very pictorial book.  I have begun some preliminary reading of the text and of some academic works about Revelation.   Yet I can find no better way to describe Revelation than the projected sermon title” Scenes from the Victory.

However, the pictures are in our minds as we read the text.  I find that actual art based on the text to be a little odd.  The images are symbolic (wings covered with eyes, swords coming out of the mouth of the Lord, etc) and so are hard to represent.  It seems that the  pictures work best in our imaginations.

An artist depiction of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, displayed in Rom Chapel at Bethany EFC, Madison, WI.

We have a painting of the New Jerusalem that someone had made based on the description in Revelation 21 – this is quite fun to observe because the artist included a variety of buildings, from pagoda to something like the UN building.

It all suggests to me that imagination is important in reading or hearing the book read – there is a blessing added to the public reading of this book:

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”  Revelation 1:3 (ESV)

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