Refurbishing Your Imagination
I like how Richard Bauckham couches the thrust of Revelation in terms of its intended impact on the imagination and the way Christians are to see beyond the facades that fill our world. The final pages of the New Testament not only invite us to look beyond the temporal to the eternal but call us to look through the edifices of power and greatness projected by our culture to see the realities that lie behind them.
“Revelation’s readers in the great cities of the province of Asia were constantly confronted with powerful images of the Roman vision of the world. Civic and religious architecture, iconography, statues, rituals, and festivals, even the visual wonder of the cleverly engineered “miracles” (cf. Rev. 13:13-14) in the temples–all provide powerful visual impressions of Roman imperial power and of the splendor of pagan religion. In this context, Revelation provides a set of Christian prophetic counter-images which impress on its readers a different vision of the world: how it looks from the heaven to which Josh is caught up in chapter 4. The visual power of the book effects a kind of urging of the Christian imagination, refurbishing it with alternative visions of how the world is and will be.“
(The Theology of the Book of Revelation, 17)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ gives us new eyes to see the world, but we are constantly tempted to let our imaginations be furbished by what is seen instead of what is unseen.