Since the opening of the book suggests that we are blessed by reading the book out loud and explicitly says that those who hear the book are blessed, I read the book to my household in one sitting. They went about their lives and paid little head as the seven trumpets sounded and seven bowls of God’s wrath were poured out. I thought the four horses of the apocalypse might have turned a head, but the tables needed dusting and house guests were to arrive within the hour. There were more important things to do.
I am being somewhat facetious, but I think it illustrates something. We often think, when we are focused, how can an apocalypse occur and no-one notice. If it wasn’t for film makers we wouldn’t have known much about the plights of Vietnam and Cambodia in the twentieth century. Band Aid once made us care at Christmas about the starving in Africa. Even now, though, 26,000 children per day die of preventable causes according to a 2008 we have our apocalypse. However, while the chaotic, destructive forces of war ravage countries we don’t care about, economic pressures destabilize continents, and people still die of AIDS. We have compassion fatigue, we are busy and distracted, each person cares about their own kingdom.
As we look at the ground in front of us it is ignorant of how our neglect and our determined defiance helps to move into place a series of circumstances which will end at Armageddon. Apocalyptic literature (Daniel, Zechariah, Revelation) pulls back our heads so that we see the hand of God at work in the vast scope of history.
After reading the Book of Revelation in one sitting I was busy – I had an appointment to have a massage to lessen my pain.