Summary: If we think coronavirus might be God's judgement or a part of 'End Times' then we need to know what God's judgement and 'End Times' look like. We now turn to Revelation. This Reflection provides an introduction.
Today we start on Revelation. However, before diving in I’d like to do a quick introduction.
When we start to talk about Revelation we quickly find that there are a lot of different views. The main views are ‘preterist’, ‘historicist’, ‘idealist’ and ‘futurist’.
Preterists believe that most of Revelation describes the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Many preterists think that the last chapters of Revelation then switch from Jerusalem to describe Christ’s second coming. However, some consider that the entire book of Revelation relates to the fall of Jerusalem and Revelation lies entirely in the past.
Historicists see Revelation as a kind of book of history, written before it happened. Historicists might find references to Napoleon, the First World War, Hitler and so on in Revelation.
Idealists think that Revelation symbolically presents the struggle of God against Satan all through the ages, but the events it describes should not be tied to specific historic events.
Futurists think that Revelation, from chapter four onwards, relates to the future. However, at some point in time humankind will presumably reach that future, so I suppose that futurists will then have to think of a new name for themselves!
I take the futurist view and it is the only view which I will present as we start to look at Revelation. I don’t think it’s right for me to attempt to present other views.
Why do I take this view? I could give quite a few reasons. But there’s a passage in Daniel which puts it beautifully. It’s the second half of Daniel 7. Earlier, we looked at the first half of the chapter. Daniel described various kingdoms that would arise. But we didn’t look at the second half. It’s amazing! Here are some excerpts from verses 13-14 and 27-28:
13 … behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom …
his dominion is an everlasting dominion …
The ‘one like a son of man’ whose ‘dominion is an everlasting dominion’ can only be Jesus! The consummation of the Bible story is Jesus receiving his kingdom. It’s where the Bible must end. We must get to that point at the end of Revelation or the Bible will not be complete.
In the following verses Daniel describes a final kingdom which emerges out of the ten. Then he says:
26 But the court shall sit in judgement,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him’ [the footnote says, ‘or them’]
28 Here is the end of the matter.
Now we are at ‘the end of the matter’. The saints receive the kingdom or kingdoms. Note that this follows on from the discussion of the other kingdoms. That is what the saints receive. The meek inherit the earth.
How does it come about? Verse 26 tells us: ‘But the court shall sit in judgement.’ That’s step one. Then, ‘his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end.’ That’s step two. That is exactly what Revelation tells us. In chapter 4, which we will look at in the next Reflection, the court is convened. And in the following chapters of Revelation we see God taking the kingdom away from those who held it.
Can we say that ‘his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end’ has been true over the past 2000 years? It doesn’t seem that way to me! If Daniel’s prophecy, and most of Revelation, have not yet happened, then they are still in the future. Hence, I’m a futurist.
Have a good day!