Revelation is a head-scratching read. Every time I study it, I feel two very distinct things. First, I wonder if I drank an Icee too fast. BRAIN FREEZE. Second, I get excited that our King wins the final war and evil is crushed under His feet forever. But even with the second, I experience the first. Why? Well, it’s a lot of allegory, symbolism and imagery that points to the way things will end here on this planet. “Eschatology” is the fancy word for all this, which is “the study of ‘end things’, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world and the nature of the Kingdom of God.” While it is fun to think about, the more you get into it, you realize that this is no simple thing. Reenter brain freeze.
Some of you may be familiar with the different large words that represent the schools of thought on how it will all shake down in the end, i.e. dispensationalism, historic premillennialism, amillennialism, post-millennialism. But if you want a refresher, or if it is new to you, Blue Letter Bible has a good resource to make some sense of it all. Read it/bookmark it here. While this can be a divisive topic (especially when pigeon-holing people in opposing views), there is unity on the most important things:
- God is sovereign.
- Jesus will return.
- Sin and death will be dealt its final blow.
- We will reign forever with our Bridegroom and King.
When I was intensely studying eschatology, a wise friend reminded me of something I REALLLLLLY needed to keep in check: in the Bible, whenever the future is discussed, it is meant to inspire us to worship and obedience now. In other words, when God gives us a glimpse of things to come, we ought to live with more fervor and urgency with the time we have left. I hope this study in Revelation will cause you to consider this as well.
Today’s reading gives us a glimpse of the second coming of Jesus, something we anxiously long for as Christ-followers (Romans 8). The picture given here is one of awe, praise, and power. People will bow down in gratitude and worship the Lord. The precursor to this (first section of the chapter) is a reminder of God’s power even in the midst of hardship and persecution. And in the scheme of this chapter, the latter really hangs on the former.
How can we apply this to our lives? Live with hope, push through trials, and be a herald for His Kingdom! Maranatha.
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor