What book of the Bible would someone who loves to read fantasy really enjoy?
The best answer would be every book of the Bible.
But there’s one book with plague, pestilence, and battles. Oh, and did I mention a dragon?
To be honest, I haven’t dug too deep in Revelation. I’ve read through it a few times, but maybe because I felt it was too deep or symbolic, I moved on. In my studies, I tend to be a practical person. When I studied teaching, I barely endured the classes on theories of language acquisition. However, in the classes that taught ways to teach, I excelled.
So it might be due to my personality that I gravitate to Romans, Ephesians, and James, where the theme is how to live as Christian and what that means. I love history, so I devour Genesis, Joshua, and I and II Kings. Of course, I have a bit of a romantic bug in me, too, so books like Esther and Ruth catch my attention.
It’s a little uncomfortably real.
And yet, it’s a book in the Bible, which means God wanted it there. And if He wanted it there, it deserves to be studied. Despite all the trials and horrid events, God’s love reigns supreme.
And there’s a dragon in there. That makes me think that Revelation is one of the best books of the Bible for someone who loves to read fantasy.
As any great fantasy, it starts with an awakening of what or who the enemy is doing.
Think of The Lord of the Rings. When the books begin, Bilbo has the ring, but even Gandalf is a little perplexed about the origin of it. Everyone from elves, humans, and hobbits are basically just living their life. They have no idea what the enemy is plotting.
Revelation begins almost the same way. In Chapters 2-3, seven churches in Asia Minor receive messages. These messages stand as warnings for us today.
“Everyone may think you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up! You have only a little strength left, and it is almost gone. So try to become stronger. I have found that you are not completely obeying God.” Revelation 3:1-2
“I know what you have done; I know that you are neither cold nor hot.” Revelation 3:15
Just as a fantasy often shows the awakening to the evil plans of the enemy, it often shows the reader what there is to fight for. Often this may be the last look at home as the heroes depart on their quest. In Revelation, we start with a glimpse of the throne in Heaven and the greatest of God. Much as our heroes take their memories of home through battles and hardship, perhaps we’re given a glimpse of what awaits us and who God is through our trials.
Like Frodo and Bilbo entering Rivendell the first time, fantasy novels often introduce us to new people and their homes.
In the same way, Revelation shows us the heavens and the spiritual world around us. As the book progresses, the spiritual world mixes with the physical. We get a quick look at the throne room of God with the “sea of glass” and the throne surrounded with angels singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
As the book progresses, we see many different beings. Angels with six wings, angels with multiple faces of man, ox, lion and eagle, angels with mysterious whirring wheels. We see the spiritual beings battling each other in the final and most epic war between good and evil. While we’ve lived with these beings, this is the first that we truly get to see them.
Just like fantasy novels, there are battles fought and lost before the epic battle at the end begins.
As Revelation continues, we see battles and events rolling out in succession. The four horsemen of the apocalypse sound much like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Nazgul riders. However,we must always remember Revelation will happen.
Revelation spells out famine, war, locust, water turning to blood, asteroids hitting the earth, the dragon, and death.
As Song of Songs is the book in the Bible about romantic love, Revelation is the book about war. However, this war is spiritual in nature. It’s between the satanic powers and the people of God.
Our enemy, Satan, “knows his time is short” (Revelation 12:12). The battle has already been won on the cross, and we, through God’s power, have authority and power over the evil forces. Much like the villains in fantasy novels, he’s desperately trying to win.
However, in novels, often the evil ones have the upper hand. They may have all the military forces, they may be seated on the throne, they may control all. It’s quite hopeless to think that the small, weak troops of our hero could ever prevail.
We may feel this about our world and the ultimate war for the world. Our perspective is too often on what we see instead of on Christ and his power. In our battles, especially the final ones, we must never lose sight that Satan is merely a prince of this world and he lost all power when Jesus died on the cross.
Revelation is a war book. But it’s also our victory book as long as we trust in God the King and follow His word.
Like all good fantasies, the good guys win and end up where they loved the most – home.
All the best fantasy novels end up with the heroes at home. The Pevensie children return home. Frodo finds his way back to Bag End.
Not only will we win, we will find ourselves in eternity where there will be no more pain, sickness, or death. Although we’ve never been there, we will be home.
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:4
The whole point about reading Revelation isn’t that it’s filled with “the icky stuff” of dragons, monsters, and battles. The point about reading Revelation is seeing how the absolute sovereignty of God shows how He has ultimate power over this world and the spiritual world.
Now if you wait to delve into Revelation, like any good quest, there are two roads you can take.
The first road is a wandering path where you read a chapter or two here and there. There’s no guide, no companions to share the joys and trials with. You may find treasure along the way, but it probably will be few and far between.
The second road is what any self-respecting hero would take. You find a guide, one who has walked the path before. This guide can explain the history, introduce you to beings who will help you through the prevails, and warn you of the dangers that lurk ahead. You find companions, those who will walk this journey with you. And of course, you find your map.
This Bible study, The End of the Beginning: A Bible Study on the Book of Revelation written by Virginia Ann Work, will be your guide.
Revelation is a huge book, and this guide is up to the challenge.
The Leader’s Edition has all the answers to the questions so that you can double check your answers or consult if you get stuck. Like our guide in fantasy novels, this book will take you through while making the path a bit easier.
If you’ve never read through Revelation or if it’s been a long time, I challenge you to take the greatest quest through this last book of the Bible.
I know this fantasy reader is going to take up the challenge.
Want to join me?