Why have I written a book about the last book of the Bible, Revelation? I have had a lifelong interest in the book of Revelation. This interest is despite all the bad press this last book of the Bible receives. Many T.V. programmes portray weird religious characters quoting death and destruction upon people and spouting snippets of Revelation. Many Christians are frightened to read the book or feel that they cannot understand it. This bias saddens me because the book of Revelation is firstly about Jesus and there is nothing weird or horrible about Him. It is a book of great hope and shows the extreme kindness and patience of God. It is only when every avenue of mercy has repeatedly been rejected that God judges. He judges to put right every wrong that people suffer.
My interest in the book of Revelation began when I was nine years old. One night I had a dream, and I dreamt I was in hell. Now before you stop reading, shocked that a nine-year-old would have such a thought, understand that it was not a scary dream. The dream lacked any of the medieval ideas that religious people have used to attempt to scare and control others. God is not in the business of terrorising young children. He showed me three things about hell. It was a real place, it was dark, and it was a prison. I did not see any people there though I knew there were very many occupants.
Shortly after I had this dream, I read the book of Revelation for myself. Please understand that this was remarkable because I was typical of many boys, a slow learner when it came to reading. I was still struggling to read my first Enid Blyton book. I read this supposedly hard book and in an old English version of the Bible. I didn’t understand a lot of the imagery, but the book had a significant impact on my life for good.
A few months after this my Sunday School teacher asked the class if there was any part of the Bible we would like to be taught. Immediately I replied, “The book of Revelation, please!” He must have been a good teacher because he agreed to tackle the book with a class of nine-year-old boys and in hindsight, after forty plus years of teaching, he did an excellent job of presenting the story of Revelation.
Revelation taught me the fear of the Lord. Now, this is something good, life-bringing and wholesome. It is not like other fears – there is no trauma or damage in this kind of fear. It is like the kind of fear that keeps people from putting their hand into a blazing fire. The Bible describes this kind of fear as clean (Psalm 19:9). It also explains this fear as the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).
Two years after I had the dream about hell I had another dream about being caught up to heaven. I was in the backyard of my house, and I was praying. I was asking Jesus to forgive me my sins and to be my saviour. I knew He could do this because He died for me when He was crucified at Calvary and resurrected after three days. As I was praying suddenly, I was in the air going higher and higher, and I knew that I was going up into heaven. Alas at that point I woke up – rats!
From then on Revelation has been my favourite book of the Bible and I have made a lifelong study of it. My conclusions I have written in my book “Understanding Revelation: A Guide to the End-Times” I would recommend the book of Revelation to everybody because it will fill you with hope for the future and help you to live with perseverance in the present.