Dunno if it is allowed to put a whole book of the Bible under the heading "difficult scriptures",
I find Revelations really hard and a big part of my issues
with it probably is coming from a Christadelphian background
when people spent loads of time trying to predict the second
coming and interpret "the signs of the times". During Communism
the signal for the end of the world was going to come out
of Russia, now it is going to come out of Iran. I have to
be very careful not to get cynical about it all.
The thing with Revelations is that there is loads of picture language in there, half of which we do not understand because we are not reading it with the mindset of first century Jews. Stuff that would have been so obvious to them misses the point on us
There is also stuff in there that is history, that is current, that is for the future, and that is eternal. How do you know which bit of history you are on? Or even if you are outside of history altogether?
Some things I do get. I understand that heaven will be awesome, and perfect, and full of worship. I also understand that it is a glorious mystery to us. I also understand that there is a real spiritual battle to be fought, but Jesus has "read the end of the book" for us, so we know we win in the end.
I was talking to someone on the way home earlier this week about being creative and how humans can never be truly original because we can only use the materials God has given us- we have never yet made anything from nothing. Likewise even in stories like CS Lewis Perelandra, authors can never describe anything without using terms we already understand like colours or references from what God has created e.g. "a strange new plant taller than a man but not as tall as a tree"
What's this got to do with Revelations? Well, I think part of why it is so incomprehensible is that the writer was trying to describe stuff that has never been seen on earth, so he ran out of words to describe it and we run out of references to understand it by.
Anyway, last night someone was talking to a visitor who had decided to get a taste of the Bible by reading the last and the first books, and were then quite confused by Revelations. The advise given was to read the gospels first and get to know Jesus then, "rather than worrying about what is going to happen, you will be ready when it does happen". That's sound advice.
One day I will probably be ready to read Revelations (and understand it!) but for now I think I will concentrate on knowing Jesus better. After all John who wrote Revelations was not a theologian or an expert on religious imagery, he was the one who loved Jesus dearly and lay on His breast. Maybe the understanding of the mysteries comes from intimacy with Jesus and being truly in the presence of the Holy Spirit?