© Rosemary Bardsley 2015

Revelation 12 to 14 is the fourth of the seven parallel sections covering the period of human time between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. The first three sections of Revelation focused primarily on the struggle of the Church on earth. The last four sections, while still detailing the experience of the Church, give us insight into the cosmic battle that wages between Christ and his enemies. This fourth section gives us more detail about the identity of these enemies.

Again, you think you have seen it all. The reign of Christ has begun. The enemies and all that is evil have been disposed of. You can literally feel the vibrations of tumultuous praise shaking the earth, reverberating from the surround sound system. You are about to join in the celebration and add your own small but joyful ‘Hallelujah!’ to the voices of the angels, and the praise of the elders, and the deep, rumbling joy of the liberated universe.

But again there is something intruding, and you are not quite sure where it is coming from. Finally you realize that there is a fourth huge screen, not beside the other three, but above you, on the ceiling. And you find yourself wondering if someone has invented ‘surround vision’, you feel like you are in an Imax theatre, or that you have put on 3D glasses. So real, so threatening, so enveloping, are the images. You are overwhelmed, you are horrified, as you watch in the silence and creatures more terrifying than anything you have ever seen or imagined move across the screen. You wish that you could turn it off, but there is no remote. You wish that you could close your eyes, but you dare not.

And then you are glad that you didn’t. For again the huge screen is accompanied by multiple sub-screens, and there you hear a loud voice announcing the triumph of God, and there you hear the overwhelmingly powerful but beautiful song of the redeemed, and there again you see the day of God’s wrath.