An evening of eschatology

Tonight at church, we are having a question and answers session on the first half of the book of Revelation, which we’ve been studying on Sunday mornings and at home groups during previous months.

There are some good questions and I’m hoping this will be a helpful evening.  Studying Revelation can leave us somewhat confused and yet we’re told

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near – Revelation 1:3

The video above shows how Evangelical Christians with differing views on how to interpret much of the Book of Revelation, can maturely discuss their differences.  It’s two hours long but honestly it’s better than an Agatha Christie Miss Marple – and you don’t have to sit through adverts!

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The kingdoms of this world

We’ve just had local elections across the UK with many council seats changing hands and many local councillors being elected for the first time.  Will much change – I honestly doubt it!

However we can be certain that those newly elected councillors are now holding an office they did not hold before, with the responsibility and authority that brings.  Having now been installed into that office, over the next weeks and months they will be seeking to carry our their plans and purposes, outlined in their manifesto to bring our country more in line with how they think the world should be.

The risen, ascended Lord Jesus Christ has taken up his office – he is “the ruler of the kings of the earth.”Revelation 1:5

We are not waiting for Jesus to rule this world; he is from the time of his ascension and enthronement in heaven, already reigning.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”Revelation 11:15

So why don’t we see a world perfectly conformed to Jesus’ will?

Because just as with our local councillors, Jesus hasn’t taken up his office as king over the world after everything has been conformed to his will.

Rather having gained his victory -not at the ballot box but by defeating all of his enemies in his death on the cross – he has been enthroned into office, in order to carry out his gospel manifesto through his rule.  With his kingdom now established in his ascension, he is throughout history bringing all things into conformity to his will, putting the world right, or as Paul puts it

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.1 Corinthians 15:25-26

Unlike our councillors and leaders, Jesus has been given all authority and power and as the reigning authoritative Lord of the world, he will fulfil every last part of his gospel manifesto.

He has won the victory.

He has been installed into office

And as the Lord of this world, he is now reigning to carry out the implications of victory, by putting all his enemies under his feet.  So when we pray “Your Kingdom come” we’re not asking God for Jesus to take up office, we’re asking that we’d see  Jesus’ reign being worked out here and now, in our world, in our lives and in our hearts.

Spurgeon on how many will be saved

In his commentary on Revelation 7:9, David Chilton quotes Spurgeon’s exhortation to a gathering of missionaries with these words on whether there are many or few that will finally know God’s great salvation.

“I myself believe that King Jesus will reign, and the idols be utterly abolished; but I expect the same power which turned the world upside down once will still continue to do it. The Holy Ghost would never suffer the imputation to rest upon His holy name that He was not able to convert the world.”