It is almost comical to read all the ping pong points Biblical scholars make when they come to passages that involve visions. At times it reminds me of that scene in the movie, The Princess Bride- "It could be that cup based on fact A- but you know that I know fact A so it is now cup 2 because of fact B.. and so on and the answer ended up being "all of the above".
But the headlines push us back into these mysterious readings....
OIL PRICES RISE 9% IN A DAY
Inflation at an all time high ...
Warships enter Suez Canal...
Federal, state and local debt exceeds size of entire economy...
Deadly quake rocks ...
Witnesses report bodies in streets...
Colossal volcano eruption sends ash plume 2 miles high....
Anytime you read a book of the Bible that contains apocalyptic visions- you become a little more sensitive to the current movements of nations and events.
- I will feel excited, encouraged, and energized to stand boldly for Christ in a world that seems to grow darker and colder
- I will feel personally challenged to continually stay prepared. This will cause discomfort from time to time.
- I will see clearer lines of demarcation: Lion/Dragon- Lamb/Beast- Overcomer/Defeated
- I will evaluate my circumstances in light of eternity
- My desire and practice to worship will grow
- I will walk and live as a champion- Victory is in sight
Have I grown dull to damnation?
Do I see that evil that demands justice?
Do I realize I am in a battle with eternity at stake?
Do I see how much the enemy hates me?
Do I see how much Jesus loves me?
Am I missing all of the beautiful promises to those who stand with Jesus?
Take any Biblical vision and read the comments by any true scholar and you will now see the endless debate begin- it never quite fits. So most of the time there are left views that have strong points and weak points and the scholar will tend to lean toward one and live with the weaker points in humble acceptance. We all do this- I do this.
But there are larger points here to be made that we can all agree on.
1) God's truth is multi-layered and true from many angles and through many cross-sections and dissections. There is often multiple fulfillments of prophecy that show shadows in the Old Testament- applications in the New Testament and pointers to the Kingdom of God which is an alternate reality but just as true- in fact MORE true than the reality we occupy now. The hardest part in all of Biblical visions is to keep reminding yourself "symbol,symbol, symbol- figurative language"- the Bible images of heaven and hell are figurative and point to a reality beyond our comprehension. Still true, but related in a way that humans of all times and cultures can relate to.
2) We have a hard time making it all fit 'clean' because we are still missing a final overview of the end of time. When we see unrest in Ukraine we rush to the Scriptures and want to make sense of it. The problem is that we are in a time period of waiting. All that is in play now is the competition of the City of Man ( figurative Babylon) with the City of God (figurative Jerusalem) and whether we will be citizens of Christ's Kingdom or the Dragon's Kingdom. Citizenship in Christ's Kingdom is an open invitation to repentance and faith in the God of Mercy. But to do so means that you will incur the wrath of the un-holy trinity The Dragon, The Beast, and the False Prophet. One day, God will say, NO MORE DELAY- and we will watch the final scene brought to the close- and then there will be a massive "OH- I see now- THAT is what was meant by.....". We had a little taste of this when Christ came the first time. All the prophecy was there- but all the scholars missed it. IN the end- our human pre-suppositions make us miss the future narrative. Thankfully, we are not saved by being right on our own ability.