© Rosemary Bardsley 2015

Revelation 8 to 11 is the third parallel section of Revelation. It presents yet another perspective on the age between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. While the second section focused dominantly on what is going on in ‘heaven’ and only minimally on ‘earth’, this section focuses largely on what is going on on the earth for the entire duration of the ‘church age’. It is not a comfortable section. By its visions it portrays the realities of the lives of both the godless and the redeemed far too accurately for comfort. But even so, it begins with the power of the prayers of God’s people and ends with the eternal Kingdom of God and of his Christ.

You have been engrossed by the footage streaming onto the second huge screen and its multiple subscreens. Your heart is filled with joy and glory and praise. You feel as if you are already ‘in heaven’. You feel as though all is right … all that is evil has been removed. God and the Lamb are receiving the honour that is their due. And you see yourself there in that countless multitude, with your robe washed white in the blood of the Lamb, and the palm branch of joy in your hand. And you are listening to the elder describing your eternal blessedness. There had seemed to be nothing at all happening on the adjacent screen, at least there was no sound, just a solemn silence. But suddenly a terrible commotion has begun to distract you, and from the third huge screen bright flashes are penetrating your vision. It seems, indeed, that this screen is vibrating with the intensity and clamour of its images and those on its sub-screens. You are disturbed, annoyed. You do not want to be diverted from the second screen. You do not want to look at this third chaotic, cacophonous screen that is demanding your attention. Actually, you are afraid to look.

But you cannot not look.

And when you look, although much of what you see is difficult to cope with, there is, through it all, something of a grand assurance, something of a relief. Quite unexpected. Indeed, quite surprising.