So often, when popular religious conversations turn to the apocalypse, we get caught up in all the terrifying imagery used to describe God’s final unveiling of his kingdom (remember that apocalypse means uncovering). We end up talking about wars and earthquakes and famines and anguish and bleeding skies, instead of what is, in my opinion, the real point of the whole thing.
See, the final battle, whatever it might look like, isn’t just about God’s final victory over evil. The final battle is about God’s kingdom being fully revealed. The promises of that kingdom get lost in all the debate over seven-headed water beasts. This week, as I’ve stood neck-deep in Daniel’s vision of the end and Mark’s Little Apocalypse, I’ve found that the promises are well worth paying attention to.
- The Promises of Daniel 12:1-3
- Michael, the great prince, the protector of the people, will rise
- Your people shall be delivered
- Many of those who sleep in the dust shall awake… to everlasting life
- Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky
- Those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
- The Promises of Psalm 16
- You will not abandon me to the grave, nor let your holy one see the Pit
- You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore
- The Promises of Mark 13:1-8
- This is but the beginning of the birthpangs
That last promise is perhaps the hardest to wrap our minds around. Having witnessed two births, I can attest to its pain and messiness, but the end result is something more amazing than one could ask for or imagine. Thanks be to God for his promises in the midst of suffering.