An Apparent Dead End

Revelation can become a mere distraction. Charles Spurgeon wrote about prophecy buffs:

“He is great upon the ten toes of the beast, the four faces of the cherubim, the mystical meaning of badgers’ skins, and the typical bearings of the staves of the ark, and the windows of Solomon’s temple: but the sins of business men, the temptations of the times, and the needs of the age, he scarcely ever touches upon. Such preaching reminds me of a lion engaged in mouse-hunting, or a man-of-war cruising after a lost water-butt.”*

That’s a fair comment if study of symbols becomes an end in itself, but they were intended to convey crucial information. Surely the symbolic passages have more authority than our own anecdotes when trying to communicate abstract truth? There is nothing in Revelation that isn’t also elsewhere in the New Testament. It was not intended to be an isolated book, and the better it is understood, the more powerfully it can be incorporated into our teaching and preaching.

*Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 76.

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