How would you describe bagpipes to a person who had never seen such a thing? Here is one explanation from a couple of centuries ago.
‘The white man wore a woman’s skirt made of funny colors. He grew whiskers out of his belt and carried a black swan with lots of legs and ribbons on it. He held the swan upside down, put the swan’s head in his mouth and bit hard. He also pinched its neck and squeezed its body until it screeched. (Unknown)
Note that the explanation is based on what the person knew from his own life. When we read Revelation that’s what we are hearing; John’s explanation based on the things he knew.
We too interpret everything around us the same way. We don’t understand other cultures so we interpret their dress, habits and languages through our own experience.
No wonder we get all mixed up…that’s what happens when you try to make a swan into a bagpipe. We need the Spirit to help us.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. (Colossians 1:9, NIV)
Prayer – Thank you, God, for giving us the Holy Spirit, who translates for us. Amen.