Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Living Apocalypse (forthcoming publication)


Everybody is interested in the subject of the end of the world. As any internet search engine will show, there is an astronomical number of entries on this topic. Curiosity drives us towards seeking to understand what the future holds for ourselves and the world, and there is definitely no shortage of books, websites, or blogs that attempt to predict it for us.

We live in a world where wars and rumors of wars proliferate, the threat of nuclear devastation and climate calamities multiply, genocide and racism flourish, and dictators dominate and destroy their people; meanwhile peace, progress, technology, and prosperity seem to steam ahead in a basically unperturbed manner. Furthermore, today we face the risk of a financial meltdown, are plagued by a massive housing crisis, and continue to be enslaved to spiraling oil prices.

For many people these pervasive tendencies are an indication that we are living in the last days. Time is running out and the denouement is at hand. How are we to respond? What is our part in the unfolding story? We desperately long to see ahead to next week, to next year, and eventually to where our final destiny lies, as the reality of death looms over us all. We all want to know if the world will ever end and what will happen to us if it does?

The book of Revelation offers acute and compelling responses to the previous questions, as well raising a host of others. This remarkable text contains mysterious codes, highly symbolic imagery, significant turning points in time, shifts of historical perspective, and a mixture of heavenly and earthly visions that saturate the landscape of life and death. What might these have to do with the future of the world and our ultimate destiny?

Revelation announces that the age-long battle between good and evil is headed for a vital showdown and that God is and will be victorious as history is brought to a close. When it all comes down, and it will, we need to know whose side we’re on. This means there are many important questions to be asking ourselves including: Who are we following? How are we living? And where, if anywhere, is the world going?

Several years ago, someone once told me that Saddam Hussein was the antichrist and that the end of the world was at hand. There was another prediction circulating around at roughly the same time when Europe moved towards unification—the European Community was the beast. This new organization of countries was assumed to be a clear sign of the fulfillment of the end times. These sorts of preposterous predictions have side-tracked readers and not helped us better understand or live out the truth of Revelation, this relevant, frightening, and crucial part of the Scripture.