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Revelation Wrap Up & End-Time Views


As our series in Revelation concludes here are some final thoughts on various end-time views as well as resources for further study. 

The Final Call of Revelation

Revelation 22: [7] “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

[12] “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. [13] I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

[17] The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

[20] He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

[21] The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. (ESV)

That phrase is repeated three times in quick succession: “I am coming soon.” Revelation closes with an urgent reminder: Jesus is coming soon, will you come to him in obedience? 

Now the obvious problem is wait, hasn’t it been 2,000 years? Does that make it untrue?

His coming soon means two things: immanence and suddenness

His return is imminent. We’re in what Jesus called “the last age.” And as we’ve seen throughout Revelation we’re in the pages of this book. We are living between the conflict of the dragon and woman and the final return of the king – essentially all agree on that. 

Matthew 24:36 says “no one knows the day or the hour…not even the angels in heaven.” No one knows how imminent his return is. And all Christians are to live in the immanence of his return. 

And second, Jesus' return will be sudden. G.K. Beale points out that in the original language here of “soon” carries an emphasis of suddenness. Quickly. 

1 Thess 5:2 says the day of the Lord will come “like a thief in the night.” I don’t think there will be what is traditionally thought of as “the rapture” but one thing all those rapture movies and shows captured well was…the return of the Lord will be sudden. There will be no long leadup will plent of time to repent or evangelize or invest our money and time better. It will be sudden. 

End Time Views

But how soon is soon?

There are lots of ways to cover this. I would encourage you to read Dr. Grudem in Bible Doctrine or Systematic Theology or an overview of the views. 

The dividing lines: 

  • How much of Revelation happened in the first century (preterist), how much happened in history past (historicist), how much is happening now (idealist), and how much will happen in the future (futurist). 
  • How sequential Revelation is in terms of how much each chapter lays out one era, then another, then another, in order. 
  • When Christ returns in reference to the millennium in Rev 20. Some think he will return before millenium (premillenial), that the language is metaphorical and that he’s already “reigning” in the millennium in heaven (amillenial), and some that after the church reigns and permeates nearly all society he will return (postmillenial). 

Here is my controlling scheme: the spiral. The events in Revelation are not all in sequence and are often different views from different angles (i.e. woman and dragon in Rev 12 or kingdom of earth has become kingdom of our lord in Rev 11). The conflict and figures like the dragon and beast and false prophet and Babylon occurred in Rome and will occur again and again throughout history until a final culminating figure or government. 

But the good news is that all Christians can agree on so much here. I was talking  recently with a brother with seminary training with a very different eschatological scheme. But we agreed on this: This is like driving through a mountain range. We can’t always tell the distance between peaks while we’re driving. But as we get closer we see “Oh this mountain is close, that one is much further.” In the end we will reach the mountain. 

The Final Challenge

Revelation cannot leave us at “Well that was nice and encouraging for a bit now let’s get back to life.” The call is to live such radically different lives that it’s obvious we believe something no one else does. It affects our money, our reconciliation, our sexual ethics, our families, our time, our focus, our travel, our joy, our life. 

He is coming soon. Will you come to him in obedience? Are you living in obedience that you’ve come to him? Here’s the question haunting me, “Could someone look at the deepest levels of my life and see that I’m different because I believe this?” 

There is perhaps no better illustration than Vince and Kristie going to Prague to be part of God’s mission to make disciples. Their daughters are in the states. Their family is in the states. They could just coast and let Vince make money drilling for oil while Kristie teaches and have a comfortable life and comfortable retirement. But they’re moving to a place they’re not from, to reach a people that are not “their people”, in a language they didn’t grow up speaking. 

What is the Lord calling you to do? 

Further Resources

Want to dig in further to the book of Revelation? Check out our recommended resources