Apocalypse Part 2
© 04.15.2014 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the April 17 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
The Revelation is not really a book about the end but a book of beginnings. True, it chronicles the conclusion of the old covenant age, but it also tells us that God's Grand Adventure has only just begun. The cosmic drama began in Eden, stirred Abraham and the patriarchs, gained an added dimension in the Davidic dynasty, endured the long exile of subjugation and finally found resolution in the coming of Jesus the Christ. Yet the story did not end there. The cross is the hinge upon which history turns and the tale of creation's reconciliation to the Father continues. The story has taken on a new dimension in light of Jesus death and resurrection. Now the cosmic drama is driven forward in Christ though the efforts of his dead and risen people. We who have been crucified in Christ no longer live but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). We do the work of reconciliation as we go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Some may label a positive eschatology as "crack-pot theology" but that isn't a legitimate argument against it. In order to intelligently disagree with an eschatology of victory, one must offer a biblical alternative. You can‘t beat something with nothing, and when popular eschatology is examined in the light of Scripture, it becomes clear it is nothing more than illusion. The biblical truth is, The Revelation concerns the end of the old covenant age and the transfer of covenant privilege and blessing, first to Jesus, and in turn to all those who place faith in him. Furthermore, as the final section of The Revelation makes clear, the destiny of the Church on earth is victory, not defeat.
When we accept the fact that God has called us to be agents of reconciliation, bringing all of creation under the authority of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) it changes the focus and direction of our lives. When we understand that the primary means of giving praise to God is in bringing our arena of activity under the authority of Jesus we can‘t help but feel ashamed of the state of modern Christianity. According to the Bible we are not called to simply hang on to the end, living in a merely spiritual kingdom of God while creation goes to hell in a hand-basket all around us. Instead, we are called to proclaim the crown rights of the Christ over every area of life.
A proper understanding of the Bible, including The Revelation, opens our eyes to the grand adventure God has placed before us. Every believer has been given a role in this cosmic drama and every one of us can make a difference in this life and in eternity. We are on the winning side. There is nothing that can stop the advance of Christ's kingdom. The Revelation concludes with this promise; the covenant has continuity and the blessings of the covenant will be experienced by a thousand generations of those who love the Lord and keep his Commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9, 1 Chronicles 16:15, Psalms 105:8). These blessings are experienced as each Christian laborers in their God given sphere of influence. Mechanics, doctors, construction workers, scientists, teachers, policemen, homemakers, business owners, artists, musicians, attorneys, machinists and so on. All are called to do their work as unto the Lord. All are called to imitate the Lord in their particular vocation. Each is required to take hold of what God has given them, evaluate it, restructure it, improve upon it and share it. This is so because "the world was designed for man; and God's actions in building up the world are prototypes of human actions continuing to build up and glorify the world, transforming the raw materials of Eden and Havilah into the perfected beauty of new Jerusalem, from glory to glory. Man's work of recreation follows the pattern of God's original work of creation" (James Jordan, Through New Eyes). In this way the kingdom of God is realized on earth. In this way we participate in the long and glorious story of God's Grand Adventure. And this can only happen when followers of Jesus Christ maintain an attitude of victory. In short, the message of The Revelation is that the defeatist mindset of dispensationalism in its many variations must be set aside in favor of a biblical theology of victory.