Skip to content
Do we truly understand what the Book of Revelation is All About?

Do we truly understand what the Book of Revelation is All About?

In recent years, interest in the Book of Revelation has been more carnal than spiritual, and I believe great harm has been done by those who have preached on it most, which is a pity. It has long been used as a way to excite people, focusing almost entirely upon interpreting signs and predicting future events.

The Book of Revelation was very popular in the 1960s, especially among the Jesus People, as we used to call them. You do not hear so much about them now. I remember attending a rock festival where the Rolling Stones were performing in Hollywood, Florida. Our church cooperated with other churches in giving out New Testaments. I noticed that those who accepted these, more often than not, were reading the Book of Revelation (though not for the right reasons, I suspect). It was a time when people were experimenting with LSD and experiencing all kinds of drug-induced visions and dreams, and they would try to identify with the book. This is further reason for saying that interest in Revelation has often been more carnal than spiritual, and this has contributed to a natural reaction among many preachers and writers not to deal with the book at all.

As for my own ministry, I confess there has been a swinging of the pendulum. When I was a teenager, even before I felt the call to preach, I was greatly influenced by a pastor whom I loved, whose memory I still cherish. He often preached from the Book of Revelation and had a huge chart predicting end-time events displayed on the walls of our church. He used this chart as a basis for his sermons on Revelation. These made a great impression on me, and I began to read one or two books that he recommended that supported his point of view. After I felt the call to preach and became a minister, I preached for almost the whole time on eschatology and prophecy and, not surprisingly perhaps, my sermons reflected the viewpoint of my former pastor. Later, I became a student at Trevecca College in Nashville, Tennessee, where I took a course on the New Testament. The professor took us through one book of the New Testament at a time, until finally, toward the end of term, he reached the Book of Revelation. “Now, students,” he said, “we will deal with this book, but I want you to know, I don’t understand it.” Then he added, “Incidentally, is there anybody here who does?” Spotting my raised hand, he exclaimed, “Ah, Mr. Kendall! How would you like to teach the Book of Revelation next Tuesday?”

“Sure,” I replied, and I did so. I expected that afterward he would come up and congratulate me saying, “That was tremendous!” Instead, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, I’ve heard that before.” This resulted in a swing of the pendulum, and for years I did not preach on Revelation at all.

I am convinced that the devil does not want us to understand Revelation because one of the most significant things about it is that it was the first direct word from Jesus to His church for more than sixty years. Think about this for a moment. Jesus died on the cross and ascended into heaven around AD 29 and the church began. (Its early history is described in the Book of Acts.) Then around AD 50, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the first of the Gospels, recalling the events and teaching of our Lord, emerged, as did the writings of the apostle Paul, which dealt mostly with doctrine. However, after that time Jesus did not speak directly to the church. Perhaps some believers wondered if Jesus had forgotten them. Christianity began to lose momentum to the extent that around AD 90 saw an increase in apostasy.

It was around this time that John was banished to the remote, uninhabited island of Patmos for preaching the Word of God. While he was there, something happened to him. He says, “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10). From that point on Jesus Himself speaks directly through John’s vision. What Jesus says shows that He had not forgotten His church; on the contrary, He knew everything about it.

Likewise, Jesus knows everything there is to know about His church today. He knows what has happened in our lives; the things we dread, our concerns and anxieties. Sometimes He is silent for what might seem an eternity, but then, He suddenly appears.

To read more from R.T. Kendall’s 'A Vision of Jesus', visit

Previous article Four Steps to Align with God’s Heart
Next article God Chose Us Even When We Didn’t Deserve It