Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Views of Revelation

July 20, 2010

This is part of a response to someone who mentioned various views of the book of Revelation...

What is said about Revelation written to the early church(es) is incredibly true, but the internal writing of the text also includes a large bulk for future fulfillment. Some preterists symbolize the future aspects of Revelation, and that's seems a little excusable at times with apocalyptic literature written with heavy symbolism. We could almost do that with Revelation *except* that a lot of the events spoken of in unfulfilled "future" terms are corroborated in the gospels and epistles, often not couched in symbolic language.

That Revelation spoke to the early church(es) is undeniable and really, a lot of readings of Revelation ought to begin at that point, asking what it meant to the first audience, to the first church generation.

However in doing that we don't have to worry about finding how each part was fulfilled in the past. The early church grounded itself on the gospel of God's grace in Jesus Christ. Because of that they didn't have to know what each part meant or what each symbol in Revelation represented. They knew that their salvation was not dependant upon knowledge of each part of Revelation. Their assurance of salvation was not dependant on having an end-times "road map" or explanation of what Revelation meant which they could use to show other Christians that they were prophetically priviliged (so to speak) or more "right" than other Christians were who didn't understand all the book.

Because they rested in Christ and didn't need to understand every part of the prophetic book, God was able to bring them rest and assurance through the book. What was meant to encourage, encouraged. What was meant to warn, warned. And what was not understood was not fretted about because they rested in Christ's righteousness and knowledge instead of in their own.

This stands in incredible contrast to groups who have tried to construct a detailed explanation of what the symbolisms mean, who think they know what the "issue" will all be about in the end, etc. They believed that their understanding/explanation of the end-time events would give them rest and assurance that they'd make it through the end, but it's done the exact opposite. Instead they are worried about if they will be spotless or not, if their perfection or sanctification will be complete or not. They are worried about if they will be one of the elect who turns out not to be elect, etc. By trying to find rest through their knowledge and trying to find which ways they could please God and prove themselves to be "the" church at the end, they unintentionally slipped into the curse of Isaiah 28. God offered them rest in Christ, but they looked instead for "rule upon rule, do and do and do, a little here a little there", etc.

Anyhow, basically I don't think we need to care about each of the major views or the theories about who authored them. I was raised in a church that had it's own explanation -- which was mightily incorrect. When God led me out of that church to Himself, He gave me rest in Himself, in the gospel alone. When I read Revelation now, I start with the gospel and leave with the gospel, not because that's what I'm trying to see or find, but because God is there with me and I can't see anything else with Him there. His love and His Spirit are blinding and overwhelming!

That's a long way of saying that I don't sort through mens' views anymore. =) And moreover, as I wrote earlier, my rest is not in my understanding of each part of Revelation or having an explanation for the events mentioned in it. Start to finish, we know it is about Jesus Christ. He is the Alpha and Omega of Revelation. If anyone's explanation does not point to the gospel of God's grace, then it is off, because Revelation is the testimony of Jesus, not using Jesus' name to testify about other things one needs to know in order to ascend the steps to Christ or stairway to heaven, etc. The testimony of Jesus is the testimony God has given about His Son, that by believing in His name we have eternal life even now.

Reconsecrating Eschatology... it's all about You, Jesus!

We have a Savior who has gone before us and dropped our anchor in the Most Holy Place where we now enter freely by His blood. He sat down at the right hand of God when He had finished the work of atonement for our sins. Believing on Him, we are seated in heavenly places in Him. My life is hidden in Christ with God. When Christ appears, not only will He appear, but I will appear with Him.

Having said all that, I love the book of Revelation and prayerfully talking/sharing about it. I love worshiping God with its words, and I love hearing Him speak through it. But I can't step out of His presence for very long to debate theories people came up with, and I can't step out of His presence long to try and calculate which commands or bits of knowledge need to be known in order to be following Jesus correctly or not, etc. It's like leaving the Most Holy Place and drawing maps outside the curtain about how to go back in.

Just go in! Ask Him! He'll answer! You don't need to calculate! You don't need a chain of prooftexts! You don't need to guess about things! You don't need to check what someone else has written! You just need GOD! We can't hear what the Spirit says to the churches unless we receive His free gift of the Holy Spirit as our inheritance in the New Covenant. There is only One Spirit who gives many gifts. If we are looking to the "spirit of prophecy" in someone else to have final say or confirmation on what things mean, we're shortcutting ourselves out of our inheritance in the New Covenant. We're missing out on what He promised to give us... not only in understanding, but in *rest* above all! Because reading Revelation any other way leaves us in unrest.

But reading it resting in His Son as our righteousness and salvation, knowing we are saved in Him by His work instead of by ours, we can read Revelation with enough confidence that we don't have to know what each part means, and we don't have to display our insecurity by trying to prove to ourselves or anyone else that we are His true people. The Lord knows who are His, and when we trust Him for our salvation we look to Him alone for affirmation and confirmation that we are His, not to our works, not to our obedience, not to institutions, not to churches, but to Him. And we leave that with Him, and so find rest in Him.



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