The Book Revelation – A different focus

So I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day about the book of Revelation and End Time Theology, also known as Eschatology.   I mostly listened in this conversation and I could tell this person knew the book of Revelation and many other scriptures.  Also, this person scoured the news, paid attention to the globally shifting political climates and it was apparent they had a clearly marked out understanding of the scriptures and world events.

Near the end of our fascinating conversation, I asked a question, “What is the book of Revelation about?”  The answer came quickly and forcefully; “End times man, the end times!”  We finished the conversation and went our ways.  If one were to do a quick search on the web, you would also find that a huge number of people have the same focus as my conversation partner.

There is a subtlety, in my opinion, that was and is being missed.  The Book of Revelation is not about “end times” but rather about the Revelation of Christ at the end of time.  If I make the book about end times, I will eventually make it about me, trouble, satan… and God will simply be a character in the story.  This, by the way was the entire tone of the presentation from this person.  If I understand the book to be about the Revelation of Christ at the end of time, my focus never drifts from Christ being central.

Now, for those who are already a bit frustrated with these posts; let me say as I did the last post.  I am not asking you to agree with me.  I am actually not declaring this person’s information wrong, but rather I am saying it is the process and focus that disturbs me.

There was such a fixation on “who” the bad guys were that the focus on who the KING is was lost.  That is off-center to me.  There was such a focus on how bad life would get in the end that what was lost is the repeated theme and truth that the LAMB is worthy.  Worthy of my attention, sacrifice and even my life if that is where I end up.  There was such a focus on the calamity that befalls humanity, that there was almost a delight in knowing it was coming and that people would finally “get theirs”.

The Gospel is not that a beast comes out of the sea but rather that a Savior came out of the realm of eternity. This Savior entered time and space in the form of a baby person, He grew and when the time was right He gave His life as a sacrifice for the prize of His creation.  The Gospel is that this Savior rose from the grave, a fact of human history, and that because of His sinless life, death and resurrection, by faith I can be forever forgiven because the Savior satisfied forever the demands of a Holy and Prefect God.

The Revelation of Christ is about this Savior.  The message is not, “Watch out, there is a horned beast!” but rather, “Look up, there is the Savior!”  The message is not that we will suffer but rather that because of the Savior, all suffering will be worthwhile.  The message is not who is the antichrist (a word not mentioned in Revelation) but rather look at the real Christ.

Then, with this as the central focus, discern the book of Revelation.  I do not suggest we be unaware of the book.  I do not suggest we bury our heads in the sand.  I do not suggest we forget the call for understanding and wisdom given in the book.  I do suggest that if we view the book as primarily being about “end times” then we will lack the wisdom to understand it and we will preach end times and not the Gospel.

Personally, I read the book of revelation and am intrigued as I see what appears to be an unfolding of events that set the stage for MY KING.  I read it and prepare myself to pledge in a very real way, my allegiance to that king.   I read it and I am blessed.  Not because I have a handle on the “End Times” but because I am confident that when my KING and SAVIOR are revealed at the end of time, what needs to happen, will happen and eventually, forever I will be in the presence of Jesus.  (Some people call that heaven.)  Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on April 4, 2011.

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