The word “apocalypse” does not necessarily mean the end of the world. It means “the unveiling” or “the revealing”. If anything, it is more about beginnings than endings (although some things must end).
In the Apostle John’s prophecy entitled The Apocalypse (or the Revelation) there are a number of revealings or unveilings. A door is opened in heaven and we get a look behind the door at the spiritual government of planet earth. We are granted a “heaven’s eye view” of events happening in seven first century cities. We are allowed to glimpse how things were to unfold in the near future of John’s day, things which were soon to happen on earth. Most of what was revealed could be shown to have happened within the next few years. Towards the end of the Apocalypse, the massive scope of Christ’s dream is revealed. The sons and daughters of God are unveiled as a glorious Bride, a huge City, and as a great multitude that cannot be counted from every nation, tribe, language and clan. As a result, the planet is also healed and made new. “On earth becomes as it is in heaven.”
Most would agree that the Apocalypse has a victorious conclusion. Cosmic evil is defeated and Good prevails. The difference comes in how that is to happen. Most Christians today would explain the Apocalypse as follows:
- A small defensive remnant of faithful ones endures the furious attacks of a ruthless and powerful enemy. Things continue to get worse and worse until, finally, when the last soul is saved. The small faithful remnant is rescued and taken out of the world, while judgment falls upon an evil and rebellious planet. Christ and the angels defeat the devil for us and then set up God’s kingdom on earth.
- Historically, however, most Christians have envisioned a much more positive and victorious apocalypse.
The Nature of Prophecy
There is a “nowness” to prophecy. Creative power is in the words. The Creator began the process of re-creation when Christ rose from the dead. The power to make dead things come to life is the most unique power in the universe. That is the power that has been released in us. The making of all things new is at work in us, and is designed to work through us. In other words, the fulfillment of the prophecy is in our hands. We have been given the responsibility for what happens on earth. We are in charge in His name. God has chosen to govern this planet through his sons and daughters, through our agreement with his dream. We begin to dream what heaven dreams and say, “Yes”.
Prophecy is collaborative and interactive. How much land and how many children do you want? How far can you see? How much land can you place your feet on? How many stars can you count?
The promises of God are ours if we believe them. They are all “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ. The resources to claim the promises are available to us (the same power that raised Christ from the dead). If that is true, then why should any future devil, false prophet, anti-christ, or serpent, have even a pit to hiss in. Why leave them even a square inch of the planet to scheme and deceive from? Why should our eschatology leave us cowering in our churches, hurling condemnation at the world, and waiting for the rapture to rescue us from a hopeless mess, that we were commissioned and empowered to clean up.
Dream the Creator’s dream with Him. The glory of the Lord will be revealed. It will cover the whole earth as the waters cover the oceans. How will the glory be revealed? Will he do it for us or through us? Will not Satan be defeated by Him under your feet. Will not the King return for a mature bride when she has “made herself ready”. Perhaps we can offer to Him a redeemed planet. Why not?
John Cooke – http://www.jfcooke.com