Revelation—Final (for now)

JESUS THE STORYTELLER

Matthew 13: 10-13

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

And so we come to end of our study of Revelation.

Will the end times unfold exactly as described in Revelation literally? Maybe. Maybe not.

Are we living in the end times? Will we be the last generation? Maybe. Maybe not. Generations before us believed they were, but they were wrong. And we could be just as wrong.

I can’t say that I have answers to all my questions, but I have come to a better understanding of the Book of Revelation through my study. You may wonder why the featured Bible verse is about parables. I’m going to tell you that right now.

Jesus loved telling stories. The four gospels are filled with Jesus’ stories. They’re called parables.

A parable is something “cast alongside” something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were “cast alongside” in order to illustrate a truth. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

Jesus explained to his disciples that his use of parables had a two-fold purpose: to reveal the truth to those who wanted to know it and to conceal the truth from those who were indifferent.

Could the same not be said for the book of Revelation?

Remember it was turbulent times for Christian believers at the time John received his vision. They were being persecuted and killed for believing Jesus was the Messiah.

Telling the story through symbolism would hide the truth from those who were at the very least indifferent or even worse enemies of those brave early Christians. First century Christians would have understood the symbolism of the vision that we struggle so much with.

What if we looked at John’s vision in Revelation as a heavenly story with an earthly message? Would that help us to focus on the big picture as opposed to trying to make Revelation fit into the box we want? Would that help us to understand that the details are not as important as the message?

In the Bible, prophecy is a message from God. Sometimes about the future. But more commonly addressing current events. So as we read this book, we should take into consideration the message is to the early Christians as well as to future generations. When we use Revelation as a map to the end times, we miss the point of the book.

So what exactly is the message? Then and now, I believe the message remains the same.

Be faithful in the face of opposition to the gospel. Christians have always faced and always will face opposition from others. There has always been and always will be conflict between good versus evil.  And yes, I agree that it’s much worse now than at any time in my lifetime.

Do not compromise with the culture. We are called to be different than the culture of this world. We are called to follow the commandments God gave us and Jesus told us what the greatest commandment is.

Love God and love others. Live of a life of love. Love God. Love others. Love your enemies.

Revelation is NOT a call to arms. God doesn’t need or want us to fight his battles for him. He wants us to bring others to him by showing his love to the world.

God is in control. Never forget who sits on the throne. God is in control. It may not look or feel like it from our earthly perspective. Even in these uncertain times that we live in, God is still in control. We do not have to worry or be anxious over the details. All we need do is trust God.

In the end, God wins! And that means we win as well.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

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