Continued from part 1, which closes: ‘In fact, some believers disregard prophecy and scholars have various opinions upon this topic and when, if at all, predicted events will occur. Also, are such things to be taken figuratively?’
The widest divergence in opinion is over the Bible’s closing book – ‘The Apocalypse’, or ‘Book of Revelation’. In its original Greek this Book begins as follows.:
‘Apocalupsis iEsou christou…’
‘The unveiling of Jesus Christ (anointed one)’, per Scripture 4 All Greek Interlinear Bible, or as the New King James Version translates it:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place.
[Greek: ‘what which IS-BINDING must TO-BE-BECOMING to-be-occurring IN SWIFTness’] And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1)
John is thought to have been the closest disciple of Jesus, and could thereby personally attest to Jesus’ awesome origin, as in the first of three short letters to believers:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us…(1 John 1)
The Apocalypse opens by stating its purpose: an unveiling of God’s plans that He gave to Jesus Christ, for sharing through his surviving first disciple several decades after he witnessed Jesus’ resurrection from death. This account tells how John acquired this information. He became Jesus’ amanuensis in writing exactly what Jesus dictated as personal letters to seven churches in Asia as a result of His having visited them.
NOTE: verse 1’s ‘shortly’ doesn’t necessarily imply ‘soon’ but may mean that when these events that MUST occur do happen, then they will do so very rapidly!!
Next, John was caught up to God’s Throne Room in heaven where he heard and saw visions about what was going to happen shortly and in the distant future when the Age will be drawn to a close with the bodily return of Jesus Christ to rule and reign upon earth. John had to be reminded to write it all down!
NB: It is the only Book in the Bible to open with a blessing for all who read it and ‘keep’, or observe, what’s written therein, and closes with a curse (of loss of inheritance in the Kingdom) for anyone who tampers with its text and changes its message. The Book of Revelation is primarily for believers, not unbelievers.
In Unlocking The Bible, David Pawson defines this genre of literature as follows:
‘Apocalyptic’ is history written from God’s point of view. It gives the total picture. It enlarges our understanding of world events by seeing them in the light of what is above and beyond our limited perception. This gives us both insight and foresight…far beyond that of the normal historian.
He also gives this snippet:
God is working out his plans and purposes within time…He is the Lord of History. But it is his pattern, which can only be discerned when he has revealed the missing pieces of the jigsaw. (Emphasis added)
(Now where did we come across that notion before? See Invisible Jigsaw.)
He points out that the first characteristic of the ‘apocalyptic’ genre is that it’s basically moral. Secondly, that it’s often symbolical so the unknown can be communicated in terms of what is familiar, as in analogy or parable, because it involves not only information but also imagination.
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