On this program our hosts are discussing the important topic of the End Times. To help them unpack this difficult topic they are joined once more by Justin Holcomb who is the canon for vocations for the diocese of Orlando of the Episcopal Church. He is the author of the recent work God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies. He is also the author of Rid of My Disgrace, Know the Creeds and other excellent resources. They are also joined by Adriel Sanchez, who is the pastor of North Park Presbyterian Church in San Diego.
Throughout the world Christians profess their faith, not only in Christ’s sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, but also in his second coming to judge both the living and the dead. So how are we to interpret the various texts, particularly from the book of Revelation, that focus on our future hope? On this program the hosts will introduce the subject of “eschatology,” or study of last things, and will discuss the various schools of interpretation about the return of Christ. Join the hosts as they unpack this intriguing topic on the White Horse Inn.
“The book of Revelation is addressed to seven churches and the opening of the book tells us these things are about to happen soon. If you follow the mail route on Asia Minor, the cities are arranged according to the postal route. So this is written to real Christians facing real persecution from the Roman Empire. It’s coming from two places. One is from the City of Rome and the emperor there, the other is from what’s called a commune of Asia which is the religious leaders throughout what’s now Turkey, who were persecuting Christians like crazy because they refuse to worship the beast, when the beast of course is the state and/or its leaders, or the gods of Rome.
“So the first thing is the real threat to the people getting this letter is Rome. So we’re talking here about Christ defeating the Roman Empire by the gospel, but Rome becomes the epitome of all the world empires that are going to rise, who are going to persecute Christ and his people. So if we want to see what is going to come in the future, we look back to Rome and see what Rome did to Christians. We’re going to expect that they would come back again and again and again throughout the course of time. So, that’s the first thing, the imminent threat. The second thing is symbols, where do we find the meaning of these things? You go to the Old Testament. This isn’t a wax nose, or you just make up what these things are, you go back and find how they were discussed in the Old Testament, and that’s the key. John is basically giving us a New Testament commentary on all those open ended things in the Old Testament that haven’t yet been tied up.”
Term to Learn
“The Kingdom of God”
The great future announced by Jesus is considered entirely from the standpoint of the divine kingship. And then it is not a question of a general timeless statement concerning God’s power and reign, but especially of its redemptive-historical effectuation which will one day be witnessed. Jesus has nevertheless spoken of the coming of the kingdom as a present reality. This does not mean—and this also is an established fact—that there is no room for the future of the kingdom . . . but it means that the one great kingdom of the future has become present. Its fundamentally eschatological character is maintained as a matter of course. It is the great kingdom, the coming of God into the world for redemption and judgment. The future, as it were, penetrates into the present. The world of God’s redemption, the great whole of his concluding and consummative works pushes its way into the present time of the world. We shall continue to hold fast to the terminology of the gospel including fulfillment and consummation. These terms have the advantage of qualifying the presence of Jesus’ coming and his work as well as the beginning of the great era of salvation, and, besides, they hold out the prospect of the definitive, final significance of the kingdom as something of the future.
(Adapted from Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, pp. 19, 55–56, emphasis original)
Authors: WHI Admin