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The Book of Revelation (For Dummies)

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Acommon cartoon theme involves a person wearing a sandwich sign or carrying a poster that proclaims, “Repent! The end is near!” What’s implied is that some sudden, violent event is just around the corner and that people need to brace themselves for whatever’s coming. And usually, the end that’s near involves something nasty, if not totally devastating.

The idea of a dramatic and destructive end to the earth has been around for ages. It’s the stuff of some really great sci-fi movies, and a lot of the elements that go into these stories come right out of the Bible. In fact, terms such as repent and Antichrist and Armageddon are direct references to messages, characters, and events that make up the book of Revelation. When you examine these themes and images in the context of religion, faith, and biblical history, things get even more interesting.

But the book of Revelation is no easy read. Some people, after slogging through Revelation, seem to suffer from what we call PTRRD: Post-Traumatic Revelation Reading Disorder. Maybe you’ve had this experience. You start reading with a rush of enthusiasm, and all goes well through the first three chapters and their letters to the seven churches. Then things start to get hairy: visions from heaven, creatures with eyes covering their bodies, plagues, horses of different colors, angels everywhere. Seven seals are opened, seven trumpets are sounded, seven bowls are poured out, and things get really confusing. Throw in grapes of wrath, red dragons, giant hail, and something called the rapture, and, well, you get the idea. Lost becomes more than just the name of a television series — it’s the perfect descriptor of your mental state.

Our intent is to help you avoid PTRRD. We act as your tour guides to help you navigate the amazing book of Revelation. Even if you can’t figure out every single detail, clues that open up large chunks of the text abound. We promise you’ll come away with a better understanding of what Revelation is about, as well as a ton of cool information that you can sprinkle into conversations and impress your friends!

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