The activity of God overseeing the writing of Scripture makes the Bible radically different from any other book known to mankind. The writers had a conviction and authority that could only come from God. They did not guess that their writings could possibly be inspired (fully, as in the verbal, plenary, infallible, inerrant, unlimited inspiration of the Bible), they were assured of it. 2 Timothy 3:16 defends its inspiration, “All Scripture [every word] is inspired by God.”
The Bible can be trusted in all areas of systematic theology. Psalm 12:6 makes the claim, “The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” This includes eschatology. The Greek word for “last” (ἔσχατος) is defined as “being the final item in a series; last in time” (BDAG, 397). Eschatology pertains to the study of future events or last things.
While man does not know the future, God does—and He has chosen to reveal many of the major events to come in His Word. We can confidentially go to the text because God is never wrong.
However, when discussing end times there are disputes based on how one approaches Scripture, their eschatological view, and specifically, their view of the book of Revelation.
These discussions, which sadly will often turn into heated debates, can remain healthy when there is agreement on the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. The resurrected Jesus, when walking on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32), did not ask the two men for their end times view. Their discussion revolved around the essentials—God’s plan of redemption through the promised Messiah. Many of those who hold to a different view of Revelation also hold to an unadjusted gospel and an imminent return of our Lord. They are to be regarded as brothers in Christ.
On the other hand, while true believers can agree on the gospel and upon Christ’s return, only one view of Jesus’ messianic, mediatorial, millennial reign will be correct. For the person who claims that “there’s no one way to look at the text,” he is telling us that there really is only one way, their way.
Tomorrow I will begin a five-month SS class on the book of Revelation. Dr. Michael Vlach’s Premillennialism was extremely helpful to me in tackling this subject, both personally and in preparation for the class. I would highly recommend the quick 119-page read regardless of where you land.
If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Vlach’s work be sure to visit his blog (http://goo.gl/4b4mrY). He’s the professor of theology at The Master’s Seminary, editor of The Master’s Seminary Journal, and author of a number of helpful books and articles. In this gem you will find:
A positive, biblical case and rationale for premillennialism—the view that there will be a thousand-year reign of Jesus upon the earth after Jesus’ second coming but before the Eternal State. (7)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ has serious implications for the Christian worldview and its major events can largely be understood. I’m eager to begin the study.