22nd September 2013

The Fulcrum of History 

“…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15 (NIV UK) 

I enjoy TV sports, but often my schedule doesn’t allow me to watch live. So I record and watch in the evening. To keep the results a surprise I make an effort to avoid the news headlines, but it doesn’t always work. Once I was in a restaurant which was showing the game I planned on watching later. I made sure to get a table out of range of the TV, but as we left I couldn’t help overhearing the commentator announcing the result. I watched the recording anyway. Although I knew the result, it was still quite engrossing, looking out for the events that would favour the eventual winner. 

The Bible reveals such an event—an event that turned history in our favour. And when I say “our” I don’t only mean Christians. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus has already won the war against sin and death for everyone. Though we haven’t yet seen the fulness of his victory, Jesus will one day return and then all will be revealed. 

We live in worrying times, and none of us can stay immune from the world’s problems. Financial worries, job insecurity, health concerns and difficult relationships afflict us all, but they cannot prevent the final outcome. 

It’s comforting to remember that the “end” is already settled. The book of Revelation was originally written to inspire and reassure first generation Christians suffering terrible persecution. They were encouraged to lift up their heads in hope because victory had already been brought by our Lord Jesus. Nothing can stop his return: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7). 

The book of Revelation has often has been considered a puzzle that, when solved, will predict exactly when Jesus will return. Understandable—when things get rough we naturally want to know how long the bad times will last. All the interpretations, however, whether scholarly or fanciful, have proven wrong. You see, the last book of the Bible is not a pre-recording of specific events leading up to Jesus’ return. Through the lens of apocalyptic style, Revelation tells us that Jesus will return, but not specifically how and certainly not when. It was written to encourage Christians facing hardship throughout the ages. So it’s as valid for that purpose today as it was 2,000 years ago.

And if Jesus has not returned, it will still be valid 2,000 years from now. God has already shown us the outcome of history, even though we don’t have an idea of how much time is left. The excitement of Christ’s return still lies ahead, spurring us on through our trials of today. In that respect, life is like a game which we know we’re going to win. 

Prayer
Majestic Father, you have told us you know the end from the beginning. Help us to trust you, that Jesus will return at just the right moment, at the best moment for mankind. In the meantime, holy Father, help us to trust you and to maintain that trust through faith. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach

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joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

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