The Book of Revelation

Sunday 18 November 2007

I remember the first time I dared to read it. I had been a Christian for about a year. It sent fear shudders down my spine. I didn't know how to reconcile the God I was beginning to follow, so wonderfully demonstrated in this Jesus guy who gave me glimpses of presence here and there, with this God of Vengeance who at some point in the future was gonna do horrible things to the entire world.

Every time I read Revelation - I have read it heaps of times now - it got a little bit easier. And then, a couple of years ago, after I had come to conclusions about the whole "eternal hell as human invention" trip, through reading, praying, pondering, and what I believed were God-given insights (but in the end who knows? Coulda been God, coulda been Satan, coulda been last night's tacos. That's the thing with going on guidance from God; it's a deep inner knowing but it's different to an outward mental kind of knowing, and it's not provable, a terribly frustrating idea until you come to a place of knowing you don't need to prove your own journey to anyone else because no one else can really understand your journey).

Anyway I have digressed again (blame it on the weather; man, it's too sticky to do much, and definitely too sticky to think, but here I am anyway). So I started thinking about the whole Revelation and Armageddon thing, and how having that sticking out ahead of your future was just major mental illness land, and how on earth could we live as kingdom people knowing that God was gonna do all that stuff? There was just something that didn't sit right with me; one of those inner itches that again could be God, your digestion, or Satan, but somehow you start learning to trust that you think it's God and so that's what you have to go with or else it's just not gonna leave you alone unless you medicate it somehow.

So I started reading a bit about the ideas that some people had that the book of Revelation was written to the people at the time about things which "must soon come to pass" - namely, the destruction of Herod's temple, and the sacking of Jerusalem in 70AD. I tend to take the view these days that all of those things that we take as future - Armageddon, the antichrist, the Tribulation - have already occurred.

Of course I couldn't say for sure, obviously. Who can? But the problem I have with those who take a future viewpoint is that they seem to be almost hell-bent on making the politics of today fit their views. If Jesus can't return until all the Armageddon stuff happens - then hey, let's hope Armageddon is gonna happen soon, so that we can get that nasty business out of the way and all the evil people out of the way and then Jesus can come back.

Problem is, what if they're wrong? What if trying to fit world politics into your view of this book is terribly wrong? What then?

The thought really scares me.

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