Our scripture today comes near the end of Revelation. A lot has happened so far. Written to seven churches in what is now Turkey, this letter is an apocalyptic vision of great proportions. There are been beasts and armies, horsemen and plagues. And the whole question is who will win this struggle. Will it be God or Rome? Babylon or the Lamb that was slain?
Biblical scholars have increasingly studied the New Testament as resistance literature—looking at the texts as documents written by a marginal messianic Jewish sect to undermine and subvert the power of the Roman Empire. As we know, Empire isn’t just about political allegiance. It’s about the way you think, what you do, the way you are in the world. And Rome was a powerful empire; it did not tolerate subversion.
- Revelation 21:10
- Revelation 21:22 - 22:5