Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Revelation is the final book of the Bible, and is a detailed account of John's vision of the end of the world.

It is a very good conclusion to the collection, including as it does epistles, prophesy and psalms within the whole. The only thing it lacks in that respect, is some historical writing, which is a shame as the historical writings are my favourite parts of the Bible.

But hey – the book is about the future, which hasn't happened yet.

And that future thing has bugged people for millennia. Is all this literally going to happen, or is it an allegory? If it's allegorical, might it already have happened?

It's certainly tough to land in the literal camp, as the account is quite dream-like.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

- Revelation 6:12-14 (NIV)

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.

- Revelation 8:12-9:2 (NIV)

Yes, like all the best sci-fi shows, The Bible has the sort of final episode that Patrick McGoohan writes...

To take it literally, I've got no problem with stars falling and then going out on earth. No-one knows what stars are, what their size is, or how far away they are, although there's a very popular theory based purely upon what they look like from here. I had intended to debunk this point, but as I've been typing it I've found myself drifting towards that literal camp...

Very dreamy anyway, like the monster with seven heads and ten horns. But back then we think people believed dreams to be from God. (for some reason we take the credit for them ourselves these days) All the same, John never describes his experience as a dream, or as an allegory, and I get the impression that this was a genuine vision, allegory or not.

You want to know how the Bible ends? Everyone comes back from the dead. And here's the twist, so look away now if you don't want to know what it is…

(This sentence is only here to mask the next one from being too obvious.) There's a second death waiting...

This is a long quote, but it's well worth reading:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

- Revelation 20:12-21:8 (NIV)

I don't think it is about what you've done. I think what you've done is simply evidence of what you're like.


3 comment(s):

At 7:31 pm, Blogger greenscape said...

I like the book of revelations. It's hard to understand. it reveals what the future will be. that's why it's great to be a Christian who continues trusting God.
You seem to be a nice guy. Just keep on praying and God will send you the right lifetime partner. Just Believe In HIM who is the author and finisher of our faith

At 9:08 pm, Anonymous Rhett said...

Hey Steve. I've quoted you in the very long comment section of my latest post. Just thought you should know.

At 9:56 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Greenscape - thanks for the positive words. I can see a lot of good things about being single too. Enjoy teaching!

Rhett - thanks for the heads-up, and, I guess, for the positive words too! You're a brave man to share your journey so publicly, and I've felt prompted over the last few days by some of the discussion taking place.


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