The Book of Revelation and Theology

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so.  Amen.” (Revelation 1:7).

It would be a big mistake to use the Book of Revelation simply as a way to chart out the course of history or the end times.  Focusing on details as if they were a part of a puzzle that we presumptuously piece together will cause us to miss the rich theology that this book offers.  “If all we have are events without symbolic/theological significance, much of the power of the book can be lost” (Grant Osborne; Baker Academic).  This last book in the Bible has an important message and great encouragement to believers throughout the history of the church.  I personally see biblical apocalyptic as “the present addressed through parallels with the future.”  I do not want to miss the “blessings” that this book offers in the present to all believers alike.

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).

I have taken a quote from Revelation, by Grant Osborne (Baker Academic) and use it as an example of what can be learned about spiritual warfare from a study of the Book of Revelation.  I believe that this truth is important to each of us as followers of Jesus Christ.

Futility of Satan.  The flip side of God’s ultimate control centers on the actions of the dragon.  There is no portrayal of the dragon as a powerful being.  The descriptions of 12:9 and 20:2, 8, 10 center on two things: his adversarial role (that is indeed the meaning of ‘Satan’ and ‘devil’) and his method, deceit.  He is the ‘accuser of the believers (12:10) but never overpowers his followers.  Instead, he deceives them, and that is also the method of the other two members of the false trinity (16:13), the beast and the false prophet (who ‘deceive’ in 13:14; 19:20).  But he has already lost, for the great victory in the Apocalypse occurs not at Armageddon but at the cross.  It was the slain Lamb who achieved the great victory (5:6, 12), and the devil ‘knows his time is short’ (12:12).  Armageddon is not the final battle but the last act of defiance by an already defeated foe.”

We must faithfully follow Jesus Christ and obey His Word to avoid the pitfalls of deception by an already defeated foe.