Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Soon"


One of the most disheartening things about the evangelical church these days is how quickly people will divide up & fight over matters of eschatology. The denominational context in which I serve the Lord Jesus vocationally (the Presbyterian Church in America) self-consciously does not divide over matters of eschatology. You'll find all sorts of eschatological views in the PCA, and I think that's very healthy.

But in some recent reading, I was struck by how the book of Revelation -- a book upon which six billion interpretive schemes have been laid -- is bookended with simple declarations that the prophecies within the book refer (mostly) to things on the near horizon for that generation.

Revelation 1.1: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John...

Revelation 22.6: And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place...

Those words -- in the first & last chapters -- bracket the whole. And there are other such words in the body of the book itself. Interesting. Especially when you connect it with certain statements that Jesus made (see, for example Matthew 23.36 & 24.34) about what "that generation" will witness.

In 70 A.D. the Lord God sovereignly reorganized the whole world around the death & resurrection of Jesus. Jerusalem was destroyed & the 1,000-year age of the Temple (930 BC - 70 AD) was ended.

That's pretty significant.  It seems that much of what Revelation speaks to is the 70 A.D. event.  But, of course, that's just a picture of what the final appearance of the Lord Jesus will be like.  Then the world will indeed be reorganized completely, in a way we can hardly imagine now.  "No longer will there be anything accursed..."  (Revelation 22.3).

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