Some of us would give almost anything to be able to see into the future. Our naivete demands the assumption that if we could see tomorrow we would understand today and know how to go forward. We somehow always fail to see that today is not explaining yesterday, but we hold on to the dream that the future is a magic box and all we need is the key.
Persuaded that just a glimpse would give us all the satisfaction or perhaps an advantage, we pursue all manner of fantasy that pretends to furnish keys to the future. We look to palm readers, to self-proclaimed modern-day prophets, and to those who read the trends of the stock market and offer educated guesses about its future.
God knows his creation well. Man is curious and grasping. Perhaps we seek to know the future because we want to control our destiny. Perhaps we are simply curious. Whatever our purpose, God continues to veil our future for his own reasons. But he has chosen to give us one significant glimpse and Bible students have their opportunity to glance into the future when they study the last book in the Bible, Revelation. Scholars call this book an apocalyptic book, describing its message as largely dependent on imagery and symbolism. We know John the Apostle wrote it near the end of his life as he was in exile on the island of Patmos. Likely it was written to Christian believers being persecuted by the current Roman emperor, in order to reassure them about their faith. They needed a glimpse into their future and on this occasion were given one. The glimpse they were given was preserved, I believe by God, for all of us who, because of difficulties or discouragements, might become disheartened. Lets look at what they were told about their personal futures.
John tells them first that God is ultimately in control of history. I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (1:18). Believers sometimes feel that the forces of evil are winning. Johns message is, No, Gods victory is sure. We may be sure that God rules the universe.
We may be sure that God rules the universe.|
Second, John underscores that God is just and will judge evildoers (6:10).
Third, he assures them that God will bring end to their suffering, wiping away every tear. (21:4).
Fourth, John reminds his readers that Jesus is the coming Victor and Lord, the one who has all powermore than the Roman Empireor any empire (1:18; 19:11-16).
Fifth, John tells Christians that through their patient endurance they will participate in the coming victory (1:9; 13:10). In Johns day and in ours those who courageously trust in God and daily live out that commitment to his way are given absolute assurance that the ultimate victory is Gods and his people will enjoy it with him.
Johns glimpse into the future can relieve anxiety for you and me, just as it did for his first readers. While the glimpse he gives us focuses not on what will happen, it assures us that God will control, conquer, and rule, whatever happens. The good news of the cross means that sin can be forgiven. It also means that history is heading toward Gods conclusiona conclusion we can only imagine.
But as children of God, we can feel sheltered by the veiling of our future. The covering is a gift that protects us and allows us to develop complete faith through his assurances. We dont know what the future holds. But take heart. We know he holds the future.
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