Read Revelation 1
Focus on verse 1-2
When something becomes clear to us that we had not understood up to that point, we sometimes describe it as “quite a revelation!” This last book of the Bible is the revelation that Jesus gave to John in order that John should write it down so that not only the seven churches in Asia would benefit, but that it would be valued on down through the ages as a message to all believers in churches world wide.
John begins this fascinating book with these words…
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. (v. 1-2)
The things John describes in this book are often surreal – I suspect he often had little idea of exactly what it was he was seeing. One of the difficulties of unraveling the mysteries of this book is that John was seeing things that were to take place many years in the future. As such he likely saw things that he had no words or context of experience by which to describe them. The reason some of his descriptions seem a little cryptic may be on account of this fact. If John was seeing helicopters, rockets and tanks in some of his visions, he had no context of understanding to know what these things of the future were, so he describes them as best as he is able from the context of what he does know. As a result he writes of huge beasts that breath fire and have deadly stingers.
There is no way for us to validate exactly what John saw, we can only use the information we have to attempt to make an educated guess regarding what he may have seen. A far as we know he may have seen machinery and technology that we have not yet seen to this day. The reason he describes it as horses and chariots and such is that he used the only descriptors he and his immediate readers would have had in their vocabulary to describe it.
The point of the book however is not that we get the details right as much as it is that we hear his warning to be ready for the end, because that one message is clear in this book… the end is coming and God, through John’s vision, is warning us to be prepared for it when it arrives.