John recorded these words in the second to last verse of the Bible. The book of Revelation is an enigma, offering up the varying views of when Jesus will return and a source for believers to interpret when He will. Most Christians are, at the very least, intrigued by eschatology (study of end times), and those that engage in discussions can be waylaid by the when, sometimes slighting the how.
About twenty years ago, and again, three years ago, I attempted to get a fuller understanding of this book by reading all 22 chapters in one sitting. I did it, both times, without gaining an ounce of insight. What I did acquire was what we all do by reading Revelation, the beatitude of blessing for those who read the words of prophecy in it, those who hear it, and take to heart what is written in it (Revelation 1:3).
Soon after the last read through, I happened upon a sermon series by one of the most influential pastors I’ve had the honor to be fed God’s Word from, Voddie Baucham. This man is unapologetic in exposing and explaining his biblical views, gifted beyond measure intellectually, and although his messages were from a pulpit in Texas, a teacher that led me to want more in my search for a deeper knowledge of Scripture. Dr. Voddie Baucham presented a view of the end times that I’d never considered, or even heard of, when the common view is dispensational premillennialism in today’s Church culture. Amillenialism. Simply put, this interpretation is that we are, and have been since Christ’s resurrection, in the millennium, symbolically (see!? I’m not a total literalist when it comes to the Bible) and that the Great Tribulation is concurrently present also (Revelation 1:9).
As much as I’d love to dig in and offer verse upon verse in the attempt to assuage this eschatological view, I’ll instead encourage you to research it on your own. Even though holding to one specific view over another isn’t going to affect your salvation, your decided outlook does have an effect on how you live, so to form one for yourself is a benefit. To remain undecided, or even disinterested, is always an option, but no fun. Participating in end times discussions and research can bring many revelations (pun intended!) to light, having a day to day influence on your worldview. However, my intent is to reiterate the importance of Revelation and all Scripture that references the last days, by emphasizing that our searching for the “right” answer may be taking us away from the answer that all Christians already agree on. Jesus is coming again, but we don’t, and won’t, know when, so there’s no point in insisting that we do.
The Apostle Peter urges us in 2 Peter 3:8 not to forget that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” This in the context of writing about the day of the Lord, saying it “will come like a thief” (v. 10: also, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 & Matthew 24:43). Why do you think Scripture remains so vague on a topic as imminent as the return of Christ? Perhaps God is expecting our focus to be more on the how rather than the when. The hows include, but aren’t limited to: how we live daily until then, how we conduct ourselves towards others until then, how we prioritize pursuits until then, or how we prepare up until then. The whens are more catchy though, as our interest in a type of numerology and piecing puzzles together can consume much in the way of our time and our minds. In addition, the reconstructionist postmillennial worldview depends too much on our efforts to Chritianize the world before Christ returns, again, leading the emphasis away from the fact that He will come when He deems the time to be right.
Revelation is rich in symbolism, sprinkled with literalism, and chock full of insight God wants us to have; but most of all, it fills us with the hope we have in the rider of the white horse, who’s called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). When we can’t seem to figure out which passages are intended to be symbolic, or which are to be understood literally, we can soak up the entire message of the Word as He unveils it. God wins, Satan loses, and ultimately, there never was a question as to which side won in the end because He knew the words of Revelation 22:21 simultaneously as He wrote the words in Genesis 1:1. God created the world and everything in it, including Satan, according to His purposes, so the battle was won before it began. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.