Horrible Hal

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Horrible Hal – Audio Version

According to a well-positioned and entirely reliable informant, a popular theology instructor at a local educational institution once believed that Jesus Christ was likely to return to Earth before the end of 1988. Someone had convinced him that the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 meant that Jesus could return anytime, but likely no later than 1988. When he returned, Jesus was to take the worldwide Church upward from Earth in an event called the Rapture; and that astonishing event was supposed to transpire no later than the end of 1988. Yet while that year came to pass, the expected Rapture of the Church did not. And now the year 1988 recedes further and further into the past. In retrospect, that same popular theology instructor now looks to that unfulfilled date with both chagrin and wisened dismissiveness — chagrin that he was naïve enough to believe such a silly, errant “the-end-is-nigh” prediction, and wisened dismissiveness for anyone who would again presume to promote speculative eschatology. 

Nonetheless, in spite of repeated misses, the speculators and predictors continue to predict Jesus’ imminent return. And some of them even dare set hard deadlines. Who would be foolish enough to do such a thing? Who would presume to set dates for Jesus’ second coming and promote speculative end-time predictions? If and when the end-of-the-world date-setters are proven wrong — as they invariably are — they make themselves look immensely foolish. They set up themselves and their gullible followers for public ridicule and derisive scorn. And yet one doomsday predictor after another invariably steps forward. They just keep on coming along, predictably mis-predicting that the end is near because Jesus is once again about to return. 

Okay, zany apocalyptic preacher, exactly why should we believe yet another doomsday prediction? What makes you right, unlike everyone who came before you? Is the sky actually falling this time, Reverend Chicken Little? 

Somewhat surprisingly, one of the most famous or infamous of the doomsday-predicting preachers is still active in the ecclesiastical eschatology-speculation business, after fifty-one years of date-setting miscalculations and subsequent adjustments. Yes, although he is now in his early 90s, this particular predictive preacher is still actively at it. He is considered by many to be the very epitome of repetitive eschatological error. And exactly who is this man? At the pinnacle of the heap of nefarious doomsday preachers stands a mustachioed Oklahoman named Hal Lindsey. 

Here, though, is the twist and the kicker. It is something I should perhaps hesitate to admit: I kind of like Hal Lindsey, even respect him. When he speaks about the Bible (even about portions of the Book of Revelation), what he has to say is sound — at least what I have heard. Admittedly, I have only heard and read a little, and should listen to more of what he says. But what I did hear from Hal Lindsey demonstrated real depth of insight. I would even use the descriptive word profound for the recent sermon I watched online. He did not sound like the speculative, slick villain I had been expecting. Yet many Christians have nothing good to say about Hal Lindsey whatsoever.

Let me tell you why. Back in 1970 Hal Lindsey and a co-author wrote a best-selling book entitled The Late Great Planet Earth. It ranks as the 55th best-selling book of all time. And it was on basis of The Late Great Planet Earth that many prophecy-speculators began to believe that Jesus would probably (or definitely) return by 1988. However, this particular speculation fell flat. What Hal Lindsey suggested might someday happen did not happen, and seemingly cannot happen any longer, simply because the global political scene has changed so much since the 1970s. Over the last fifty years, Lindsey has consequently needed to make some adjustments to his prophetic political scenarios. And after a while, many have tired of such adjustments. 

Yet when he speaks on the Bible, Lindsey is learned, sound, and even profound. How can that possibly be? And what does someone do with that? Someone explains why it is so. In my estimation, the main reason Lindsey has gotten Revelation wrong through the years is because he insists on reading and interpreting Revelation too literally.

If you understand his determination to interpret Revelation as literally as possible, Lindsey makes understandable interpretive mistakes. I would argue that Lindsey makes forgivable interpretive mistakes. Lindsey takes Scripture very seriously, and has been doing his best to make sense of Scripture for over fifty years. But his best-selling book made some errant speculative predictions. In the minds of many, it now stands as a massive embarrassment within Christianity. By virtue of at least one major errant speculation, Lindsey (and his interpretive scions) have given end-times eschatology a bad name.    

That all said, at least some of what Lindsey wrote needs to be given re-consideration. If you understand why Lindsey suggested that Jesus might return by 1988, it actually makes a lot of sense. No, of course, Lindsey wasn’t right about it. And history has long since disproved his speculation. But his argument makes sense, nonetheless. Based on some of Jesus’ cryptic actions and explanations, Lindsey reasonably suggested that the generation that witnesses the re-establishment of the State of Israel must be the generation that sees the return of Christ. Since Israel was re-established in 1948, and since a biblical generation is 40 years (or so Lindsey once believed), Lindsey speculated in The Late Great Planet Earth that Jesus Christ would necessarily return by the end of 1988. To be fair, Lindsey was very careful to hedge his speculation about that particular date. But others after him were not as careful. If Lindsey had been writing in a sad old commentary somewhere, his errant speculation would be just a trivial curiosity. But to date, Lindsey’s book has sold well over 15 million copies. And it has even inspired a unique apocalyptic niche in literature and film. 

Sometimes people will say that Lindsey is a false prophet. In my estimation, that is much too harsh. Lindsey is instead a slightly misguided biblical interpreter. He made and continues to make an honest effort at interpreting some very difficult sections of Scripture. By defaulting to a literal approach in interpreting symbolic prophetic material he and like-minded interpreters continue to bend the scenes from the Book of Revelation to unfolding or expected political events. Sometimes such interpretations may in fact work. Alternatively, such speculative interpretations can be (and have been) disproven by ensuing historical events.

Finally and affirmatively, I must say that I side with Lindsey more than many other Revelation scholars, insofar as I do believe that the Book of Revelation actually does predict the future. It actually does give specific details about future characters and events, and especially those in the political realm. I just believe Lindsey is too intent on defaulting to a forced literal reading of Revelation, when a figurative, symbolic reading actually yields a more coherent message.      

Crass Literalism

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Crass Literalism – Audio Version

Within the last week, one of my readers asked me to cover the thirteenth chapter of Mark. If I am not mistaken, I think that reader wants me to interact with what the Right Reverend N.T. Wright has written about Mark Chapter 13. This, then, is that. 

Since the Right Reverend Wright wrote in an academic manner for his fellow scholars and for seminarians, I might slip back into egghead mode here. If I do, one or two reasons explain the slippage: Reason One – They trained us to write in a particular, peculiar way until it became an ingrained habit. Reason Two – I am striving for clean, concise precision. If you dislike academic jargon and despise seminary-speak, this might not be the blog post for you. But if you’re even moderately tolerant of seminary-speak, please do read/listen on. 

Basically, N.T. Wright claims that Mark Chapter 13 is not about Jesus’ Second Coming, but instead about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD/CE. You heard (or read) that right.  

In response, I will sing my usual refrain: Wright is right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies. Yes, Wright is right when he claims that Mark Chapter 13 is about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD/CE. Wright is quite wrong when he claims that Mark 13 is not about Jesus’ Second Coming. Wright unnecessarily forces a false dilemma on his readers. We do not need to choose between the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD/CE on one hand, and the Second Coming of Jesus on the other. Mark 13 speaks to both and links both. Highly important point.

Some of my readers/listeners might wonder if I portray Wright’s position fairly and accurately. Yes, I believe I do portray it accurately. However, if you want substantiation and if you want to double-check my claims for yourselves, you can locate what he says in his book Jesus and the Victory of God, (hereafter abbreviated as J&VoG) Chapter 8, Section 4, beginning on page 339 in my copy from 1996. You will need to wade through several pages of material, though, to get what I give you in my brief summary above. 

Again, Wright forces a false dilemma. And a lot of people fall for it. Wright argues persuasively that Mark Chapter 13 is about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD/CE, because it is in fact about that destruction of Jerusalem. But it is also about Jesus’ Second Coming. Verses 24-27 ought to erase any doubt as to whether Christ’s Second Coming is also in focus. It is. Here are verses 24-27:

24 “But in those days, after that tribulation: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; 25 the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

Wright insists that these four verses are entirely metaphorical. He points out that they contain imagery from the Old Testament. And they do. But the implication is that they must not be understood literally, at all. He spends several pages explaining that verse 26 does not mean that Jesus will someday visibly descend from heaven, but rather has already ascended to heaven in vindication, because the word translated as coming can mean either coming or going in the original Koine Greek (refer to J&VoG, Chapter 8, Section 4, Subsection v The Vindication of the Son of Man, pages 360-365). Wright wants his readers to conclude that Mark 13 is solely focused on the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD/CE. It is a “crass literalism” to perceive a “physical collapse of the time-space world” (p. 361) in these verses. 

Is it really a crass literalism to perceive the Second Coming in these verses? Is it a crass literalism to perceive the Rapture in these verses? I ask because verses 26 and 27 read like the Second Coming and Rapture to me.

In Wright’s defense, someone might point out that these verses must be metaphorical because we know enough about astronomy to know that the stars will not literally fall from the sky. Plus, verse 25 says that “the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” What does that even mean? It sure sounds metaphorical. Maybe Wright is right here?

Hang on, though. Such a line of reasoning says more about our contemporary assumptions of what must be literal than about how the original hearers would have heard it. The language of these verses evoke vivid phenomenological imagery. We can visualize a sunset, and still know that really it is not setting because the Earth is actually rotating. But we call it a sunset all the same, because that’s what we see. Likewise, we can visualize stars falling from the sky and imagine curious disruptions to the normal order of the heavens. In a way, this is all quasi-literal language, because it is how it would appear phenomenologically. It would see, sound, and feel as Scripture describes. So though it is not necessarily scientifically literal, it could very well be phenomenologically literal. And significantly, it also can be metaphorical. We don’t necessarily have to choose one way or the other.     

But I have an even more pointed reply to Wright; and that is this: Other passages of Scripture do portray Jesus descending in a second coming, and very literally so. In Acts 1:11 two men dressed in white robes (presumably angels) ask the skyward-gazing apostles a question. They inquire, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Uh huh. 

That’s as literal as can be, N.T. That ain’t metaphorical, at all. Jesus literally ascended upward into the sky. And someday he will descend from the sky. And that we call the Second Coming.

Notice that I am using another passage of Scripture to interpret Mark 13. Is that a legitimate move on my part? Yes, it is. It is legit because of the nature of Scripture. You get pieces of information from here and pieces of information from there on the same topic. Both Mark 13 and Acts 1:11 speak to Jesus’ coming and going, or going away and coming again. You can begin to get a feel for eschatology — for what will happen — when you pull the pieces of information together. Jesus will literally descend from the sky. That is how it will appear to us.

That all said, you can learn a lot of valuable information from N.T. Wright about the Bible. He is right when he says that Mark 13 references the destruction of Jerusalem. He is also (partially) right when he says that the destruction of Jerusalem vindicated Jesus, because Jesus predicted it would happen.

My issue with N.T. Wright is that he forces unnecessary choices on his readers. He misses prophetic parallels, echoes, and patterns, and insists instead on this or that. He puts his readers in a false dilemma. 

Coming or Arriving?

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Coming or Arriving? Audio Version

Just like English, Biblical Greek has one word that means to come, and another that means to arrive. For the Greek geeks, the words are respectively ἔρχομαι and ἥκω. But although the two words are technically different, they are commonly and casually used interchangeably. Such overlap usage is both understandable and forgivable, because we do exactly the same thing in English. Yes, we do. 

For example, if she were running later than expected, I might text my wife and ask her, “When will you come home?” But if I were instead to ask, “When will you arrive home?” I would mean essentially the same thing. In such a scenario, I am basically using the words come and arrive interchangeably. No big deal; most everyone talks this way.   

But if you think about it, there is technically an itty-bitty difference between the two words. To come home implies and involves the movement, transit, or (in her case) the drive from one starting point to another destination. Alternatively, to arrive specifies not the transit, but the exact ending point of the transit. Someone can only arrive after they have come.  

Therefore, if my wife wanted to mess with me, she could reply to my inquisitive text with something like, “I will come home in about 15 minutes. But I will not arrive home for about 30 minutes.” In which case, I would smirk, because I would realize that she is being unnecessarily technical, when I just wanted a general answer. Plus, she knows me well enough (and English well enough) to correctly interpret my text. I just wanted to know what time she’ll get home. 

But so what? I just spent four paragraphs discussing the difference between the words come and arrive. Why bother discussing the technicalities of common words?    

Well, I bother because Jesus is coming quickly, but no one knows exactly when he will finally arrive. He is coming quickly but arriving slowly. Let me nuance that statement now. On occasion and all along, Jesus has been coming quickly since he ascended to heaven; but he has yet to finally and ultimately arrive. 


Jesus has not arrived yet, in an ultimate second-coming sense. That said, I should affirm that he could arrive very soon. Indeed and frankly, I expect his ultimate arrival, his Parousia, in the near future. I even hope to skip the grave and live to see it.   

Alternatively, Jesus has come and continues to come (quickly) through the years. In some manner or another Jesus has already come, even numerous times. For example, Jesus came when he appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. And Jesus came when he appeared to John on the Island of Patmos. 

Someone will likely protest, “But those appearances do not count! Jesus did not actually come to Earth. Those were only visions or voices.”

Okay, I will grant you that Paul and John may not necessarily have had a physical encounter with Jesus, though in the case of John, that is entirely debatable. But they both really, truly encountered him. Or rather, Jesus encountered each of them. In that way, Jesus did actually come. They had a genuine encounter with the risen, ascended Jesus. And each of them were alive and breathing on Planet Earth when it occurred. Since he appeared to them, it is fair to say that Jesus did come for them.

Please notice that I am making a distinction here between coming and arriving. I am not saying that Jesus has arrived. I am just saying that he briefly came. In the Book of Revelation, this is an important distinction that will help a reader make sense of a lot of Jesus’ statements.        

I would like to suggest that we should recognize the paradoxical validity of both the distinction and the overlap. To arrive and to come can effectively mean the same thing. But they do not always mean the same thing. In the Book of Revelation when we hear Jesus saying, “I am coming quickly,” we should ask ourselves whether he is possibly pointing to brief provisional historical appearances or to his ultimate eschatological arrival. Consider that paradoxical possibility as you read through the Book of Revelation. It might help you make sense of a number of passages. It does make sense of things for me.   

Without Qualification

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Without Qualification, Audio Version

We are very close to the apocalyptic final return of Jesus Christ. Because we are close to the return of Jesus Christ, the study of the Book of Revelation is not just somewhat pertinent, it is essential. The Book of Revelation was given for such a time as this. It was given to the Church for the purpose of discerning these days — these very days, right now. And it was given in order to help us understand how to make it through these days without losing hope or losing faith. We do well to be wise and take heed to what is written therein. The wise will pay close attention to the message of the Book of Revelation during this time.

Is the previous paragraph propeller-hatted crazy talk? Does it come across as the ranting of a fanatic fundamentalist? Does it sound like something a cult leader would say to attract the naïve and impressionable? Or is it spot-on? I will show my cards here: I believe every word of it. I believe we are living just before the return of Jesus Christ. Thus we are wise to live accordingly, and foolish to live otherwise. Matthew 25:1-13 comes to mind here.   

As I wrote the first paragraph, I gave thought to how it might be perceived. People will deem it outlandish, I thought. People will think it extreme. I imagined someone I know well shaking his head in disapproval, not necessarily because he would disagree with what I say, but because I say it so bluntly. After I wrote it, I thought about editing it extensively. Perhaps I should add lots of qualifiers, in order to sound less loony. Academics will disapprove of the lack of nuance, I realized. They will immediately think of numerous crazies throughout history who misled people with exactly this kind of apocalyptic talk. Should I qualify it somewhat? Should I nuance it?  

But I decided not to. Even knowing how it might be perceived, I decided to let it stand as is, because I actually believe every word of it. And because I do, I think it is extremely important that people hear it. The time is very near. It really is. 

But what if I’m wrong? What if the time is not near? What if the return of Christ is decades or even centuries off? Am I willing to go down as another crazy zealot predicting the end of the world? People might even call me a false prophet for saying what I say here. Am I okay with that? 

Sigh. I guess so. I’m willing to be wrong. I’m willing to be called crazy. I’m willing to be misperceived, or alternatively, rightly perceived as an apocalyptic kook. I believe what I’m saying enough to say it, even if I am wrong. 

Of course, at this point, I sorely want to launch into an explanation for why I am right and why you should believe me. But I will not do that yet. Yes, I will do it, but not yet.

Instead, I just ask you to consider everything I am saying with a dose of empathy. For a moment, try to view it hypothetically. You don’t need to believe a word I’m saying; just put yourself in the shoes of someone who truly does believe that Jesus Christ is about to come back. If you were that person, what would you do? Would you feel compelled to say something? Would you want to warn people? I would like to suggest that yes, you would.

Without doubt, you would be tempted to qualify and nuance what you say, because if you’re even a bit smart, you would realize how crazy it might come across. You would also realize that if you’re wrong, you would become a laughingstock and another case study in the history of apocalyptic crazies. But if you truly believed what you claim, you would say it all the same, because you are convinced that a lot of people need to repent, and a lot of people need to get ready to face their Maker. Love for others would compel you to run the risk of sounding crazy.

That’s me. I am that guy.     

So I am left with burden of trying to convince you and everyone who reads or listens to this that I’m not crazy. I do realize that. And I know ahead that I will not be entirely successful. A lot of people will just sign off here. Alright, thank you for your time and goodbye.

But for those of you who are still listening, I’ll just start by calling your attention to current events. The world around you is going crazy. Have you noticed? Have you noticed that we are living in especially turbulent times? In Matthew 24:8, Jesus spoke about global birth pangs. Do you recall that? These are those. When you hear the news, do you wonder, even in passing, if these might indeed be the end times, the last days? Perhaps you ought to wonder about that some more. Perhaps you should not immediately dismiss that thought, even if it feels scary. We are indeed seeing the fulfillment of many biblical prophecies, right now. There are many biblical reasons to think that Jesus might be coming back, and very soon. Most importantly, what we are seeing happen increasingly fits what Revelation symbolically prophesies, as I hope to demonstrate and convince you. When you see that, it is both astonishing and awesome.   

It all admittedly hinges on how the Book of Revelation is interpreted. Know that from the get-go. Whether I’m right or not about our proximity to Christ’s return depends entirely on my interpretation of Revelation. So I need to explain that further and in greater detail. It’s worth your time, I believe. But you have to decide for yourself. If you are interested in learning my interpretation, please continue to read or listen to this blog. 

Unexpected Turbulence

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Clouds Below, What’s Ahead?
Unexpected Turbulence, Audio Version

Back in the day, in the old pre-flight advisory safety announcements, an airline spokesperson (usually a bored stewardess rehashing a memorized script, intercom in hand) would advise passengers to please wear their seatbelts “in case of unexpected turbulence.” I would often tighten my seatbelt a bit at that point. Unexpected turbulence might occur. I had been told. Have my readers/listeners noticed that the phrase “unexpected turbulence” has been replaced with the words “rough air”? Personally, I prefer the original phrase — unexpected turbulence to rough air. Ruff hair. I’m having a ruff hair day.   

Speaking of which, years ago I worked with a man named Rob. His name, I have tweaked. Rob’s job required that he travel from city to city across a large country in Asia. To traverse the long distances involved, Rob had the option of traveling by train or by plane. To save himself time, Rob would choose to fly, when possible. Rob thus became a frequent flyer, flying frequently over and across a very large country in Asia, one that shall go unspecified. But if you would like to know which one, imagine how someone from Boston might say the word diner. The country rhymes with that. People from Boston often drop the letter r.  

One of Rob’s flights (in the country that kinda rhymes with diner) suddenly got very, very violently bumpy. Without much, if any, warning, the plane flew into some incredibly rough air. Unexpected turbulence… it occurred. Many people on board the flight were not wearing their seatbelts. Human pinball — that’s the description I believe Rob used. People were thrown around the inside of the airplane. People were bouncing off the ceiling of the plane. People got seriously hurt. Rob, however, did have his seatbelt on, probably because he was used to hearing the same old boring, rehashed precautionary announcement. Rob was not hurt, just shaken. By virtue of listening to the same message repeatedly, Rob had been habituated into safety, into wearing his seatbelt. 

To repeat, he had heard the same precautionary announcement, over and over, ad nauseam. He had been habituated, even tediously so, into proper practice. Therefore, when unexpected turbulence came, he was ready, without even knowing it. In the moment it mattered most, he was ready. Although he was very alarmed, he was unharmed, unlike many of his fellow passengers. 

Regarding the very perilous period before his second coming, Jesus emphasized to his listeners the importance of informed readiness: “See, I have told you beforehand.” If you want to know the context of his statement, go read Matthew 24:25 and the surrounding verses. Here’s the same precautionary statement, translated a bit differently: “Behold, I have told you in advance.”

Be Vigilant

We have been told in advance. Expect unexpected turbulence. Be prepared. Be ready. It will come when you’re not expecting it. He will come when we’re not expecting him. All of which is alarming to hear, and ought to prompt some questions, such as: How do I expect the unexpected? How can I be prepared? How can I get ready? How can I protect others around me? What should I do?

Here, let me help you tighten your seat belt. First, you should read the safety instructions provided. They’re easily within reach. All you need to do is take the time to read them. Also, listen to the flight attendants, even if they are boring and mumbling their way through the same old message. They went through extensive training on this — at least they should have. Plus, you usually can tell if they know what they’re talking about. Above all, pay attention to the pilot. He knows what’s going on. He knows what’s up ahead, even when we don’t. You can even call upon him. Unlike a lot of other pilots, he’s truly the very best. And he’s quite willing to hear you and respond to you.

Just so you know, I do have some training as a flight attendant. I cannot see what’s ahead like the pilot can; but I will tell you — from experience and from what I’ve learned — that it feels like we’re already hitting some rough air, some turbulence. It could get worse. I hope I’m wrong. But I think you ought to know. Buckle up, just to be safe.    

Oh, and keep a wary eye on the leader of the country that kinda rhymes with diner. He is behaving a lot like Decius did. See my previous post if this confuses you.

Time & Again

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Time & Again, Audio Version

What comes to mind when you hear these two questions? If you thought of the worn patience of a child on a long journey, that’s what I intended. When I was young, I used to pester my poor parents with these questions on long road trips. They would assure me — time and again — that they would let me know when we were near our destination. After a while, though, I would resume asking the same questions. Sometimes it is hard for a child to just sit and wait, especially in the midst of uncertainty. That might be true for some adults, too. 

“Are we almost there? When will we get there?”

These two questions are also on the mind of most of us as we read the Book of Revelation, and with good reason. Right up front, Revelation itself gives us ample reason to wonder when. The audience of Revelation is told they can expect a blessing if they listen and keep the words written therein. That’s what Revelation 1:3 says. The same verse then concludes with time-sensitive watch words: for the time is near. Thus the when? question appears at the very beginning of the book. We’re supposed to be asking it.

Someone might be tempted to cynicism here. The Book of Revelation was written almost two millennia ago. Nearly two thousand years ago, Revelation claimed that the time was near. Presumably, the original recipients of the Apocalypse believed that Jesus Christ would appear soon. He would be arriving for them anytime. “Sometime soon Jesus will come for us.” That’s the idea; right? That claim seems rather ridiculous now. It seems like a farce after two thousand years of waiting. How can it be taken with any seriousness?  

It is indeed an important question. It even has its own technical terminology. In seminary-speak, it is called the delay of the parousia. The word parousia means appearance — the appearance of Christ, that is. But simply injecting a bit of academic terminology here is not particularly helpful. Just to identify it with some jargon does not resolve the inherent problem. Why hasn’t Jesus appeared after two thousand years, especially when Revelation says “the time is near”? Why the long delay? Many people reject the reliability not only of Revelation but the entire New Testament on this very point. John and even Jesus were wrong, they say.

Allow me to push back against the cynicism, if I may. The Book of Revelation actually anticipates the delay of Christ’s appearance. It does. I’ll show you exactly where it does in a few sentences. This same delay is also anticipated elsewhere in the New Testament.  

The delay of the parousia can be identified as the entirety of chapter seven… period. An explanation is in order here. Through chapters five and six, we see Christ, the Lion/Lamb, breaking open six of seven document seals. As each of the document seals is broken open, one peculiarity after another is unleashed. The sixth seal depicts human horror at the disintegration of the cosmos and the apparent end of the world. It seems like THE END, except at the very end, it’s not. Surprise! We’re not there yet. The hammer never falls. The climax never comes. Instead, chapter seven comes. Behold, the delay of the parousia, per the Book of Revelation.  

Rather than THE END, the Book of Revelation presents something previously unanticipated: the purpose and mission of the Church. This begins at chapter seven. Christ’s appearance is postponed until the mission of the Church is accomplished. The Book of Revelation shows all this, symbolically.

Since I constrain myself to a word limit in these blog posts, I will have to hit pause for now, just like the Book of Revelation does at the end of chapter six. I am well aware that I am leaving a lot of questions hanging unanswered and a lot of material unexplained. Stay tuned, please. We’re not there yet, but we’re almost there. The time is near; even if it is not here quite yet.