Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure” (Revelation 19:6-8)
The Book of Revelation was not given so that 21st century Christians (or any other generation of Christians) could predict the moment of Christ’s return. The Book of Revelation is not a secret code to be deciphered by “prophecy experts.” True, Revelation belongs to the category of apocalyptic literature. Therefore, it is an “unveiling.” But what the Book of Revelation unveils is quite clear: Jesus wins in the end.
The Book of Revelation is the Apostle John’s account of the great visions given to him by God concerning the second advent of Jesus, the future of the church, the judgement of the wicked, the final defeat of Satan, and the inauguration of the age to come. It was originally addressed to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The primary purpose of the Book of Revelation is two-fold. First, it is a call to the church to remain faithful to the end of the age. Second, Revelation is a word of comfort to the persecuted church that God will indeed judge the wicked and cast down the ancient serpent (Genesis 3; Revelation 20). For those generations of Christians who have been impoverished, pursued, imprisoned, and slaughtered for their faith in Jesus, this message has served as a great comfort. While the kingdoms of this world prosper now; while they seem to succeed in their wicked designs, they will be brought to ruin by the righteous hand of King Jesus. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus who is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (vs. 16) will welcome his church, his bride into the great eternal wedding feast of the Lamb (vv. 6-9).
This vision of the church’s future is not merely truth for which to be thankful (though it certainly is that!). Knowledge of the church’s future is to inform how Christians live today. We live in light of eternal realities therefore we do not cling to this world as though it is our good. We know that every injustice, every sin, every act of wickedness against God and his people will be avenged by God. Therefore, we have the freedom to never seek vengeance upon those who harm us. Vengeance is God’s business. Because of that, Christians are free to love their enemies and to pray for those who curse them. What is more, because of the terrifying prospects of God’s coming judgment, the church is to labor with great urgency to call sinners to repent.