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Rapture Charts, Repentance, Revelation, and Jesus

When you read Revelation, what do you see?

A lot of you see a wonderful opportunity to chart out the rapture and tribulation.  A lot of you see ways to make countries and dictators into locusts and horses.  A lot of you see fires and earthquakes and floods and global government.

Remember what C.S. Lewis wrote, “There is always more to see than what you see.”

In Revelation 5, John, the author, starts freaking out because an angel asks a rhetorical question.  “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” (v. 2).  All the angels and their hosts are like, “Duh!  There’s only one!”  But John, still seeing with foggy lenses, starts worrying and crying.  Then, one of the elders who sits around the throne looked at John and said, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (v. 5).

As you read on in Revelation, you will see disaster and terror and death.  There are Christians who read Revelation 5-9 and say, “Oh!  This seal does this and this seal represents this country and army and period in history and blah blah blah blah.”  They speculate and argue and draw out tribulation charts and focus too much on what the seals mean instead of who opens them.

The word “repent” occurs in Revelation ten times.  It occurs eight times in the first nine chapters.  What does that have to do with everything I just said?  If Jesus is worthy of everything, and if we are worthy of nothing, then we must repent and turn to Jesus.  Simply, it means that repentance is a key theme of Revelation.  We need to come to him and declare, “Worthy are you — not me! — to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood — not mine — you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you — not me — have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (5:9-10).

The point of Revelation is not to stir up debate and (awful) speculation about end times.  The main point isn’t the calamities and small details.  The point is the person and work who is behind them, orchestrating them, and ordaining them.  The point is the person who does all things for his glory and renown.  The point of Revelation is to point us to Jesus Christ and his redeeming work in the lives of his people.  He is worthy; we are not.  Weep no more, Christian, there is a King who has come to the rescue.

2 replies on “Rapture Charts, Repentance, Revelation, and Jesus”

People tend to look at Revelation and see all the judgments and tribulation. What they miss is that a most merciful and gracious God is giving everyone every opportunity to come to Him by making plain both His power and the consequences of defying Him.

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If only I would have seen this during my time in an Apocalypse course at WVU. Maybe they will let me back for a guest lecture…haha.

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