“Are we living through the book of Revelation?” is one of the most common questions I hear from Christians regarding current events and the Bible. There are seemingly countless different views on the prophecy contained in Revelation. Some scholars believe the prophecy has already been fulfilled, some believe it’s been partially fulfilled, some believe the church will be around to experience the fulfillment, some believe it will not. One thing they will all pretty much agree on, when it comes to informing your civic involvement, you shouldn’t worry about what you read in Revelation.
To be clear, properly understanding Revelation and diving into the differing views with your Church community is a very productive, worthwhile, and necessary pursuit for Christians. However, no matter what view you hold, the message of Revelation is actually pretty clear: Christ will return, He is in control (no matter how crazy things get), and He will be victorious and rule over all the nations. Look no further than this passage from Revelation chapter 1:
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Sometimes Christians get so caught up in political fights, they forget why we are engaged to begin with. Our calling is to be obedient. Sometimes the results will go our way, sometimes they won’t. In the end God wins. That’s why Christians should never “cut corners” to win. We don’t lie, slander, or twist the truth “for the cause”. The world tells us that “politics” is a blood sport, and that “nice guys” will always lose. The Bible says differently. We don’t have to be jerks for God to be victorious.
The whole point of Revelation is that Jesus is the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End, He is in control and we don’t have to worry. So how does that inform our civic engagement?
It means we adhere to truth, even when it may not support our preferred narrative. If you don’t know if something is true, don’t share it. Spreading half-truths or outright misinformation doesn’t help “win the fight”, it hurts your witness and is an act of disobedience.
It means we engage with love, even when people seem unlovable. We are all created in the image of God; and that’s true for people in all political parties. Don’t back down from speaking truth, but do it in a way that helps build relationships, not tear them down.
It means we should primarily view civic engagement as part of our mission field. In a culture that views politics as a blood sport, there is no better platform for Christians to stand out for loving others.
It means we should live our life like He could return at any moment, and focus on obedience to His commands.
It means we should be hopeful. No matter how crazy things go on earth, God is still in control. His plan can’t be derailed.
So are we living in Revelation? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think it matters in the context of civic engagement. No matter how you slice it, Jesus wins. If you are one of His disciples, you win too. It really is that simple.