Friday 25 May 2012

Five keys to understanding history

I was interested to see this five point outline on the ‘heavenly worldliness’ blog for an understanding of Revelation 5.

I have inserted some additional random thoughts of my own and a scripture or two after each point.

1. God is sovereign over history

I’ve just returned from the European Leadership Forum in Hungary (600 participants from 40 countries) where John Lennox was doing the main Bible readings on the book of Daniel. A central theme is that God is sovereign over history and the rise and fall of nations:

‘the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes’ (Daniel 4:25)

The message of Daniel is that fire doesn’t burn, lions don’t bite and kings don’t reign unless God allows them!

2. Jesus is the key to history

History is all about God the father bringing all things together under the authority of Jesus Christ. Daniel 2 depicts a giant statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and revealing four great world empires represented by gold, silver, bronze and iron (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome) which were succeeded by and replaced by the Kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus Christ. Soon this will be all that there is.

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands —a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.(Daniel 2:44, 45)

‘all things have been created through him and for him’ (Colossians 1:16)

3. Redemption is the focus of history

The one and sole purpose of history is redemption. God, through Christ's death and resurrection, has done everything necessary for us to return to him in repentance and faith. He is now calling out of all nations a people to be his own to share all eternity with him.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9)

4. The church is the aim of history

History will come to an end when Jesus Christ returns to claim his bride, the church.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Revelation 5:25-27)

5. The glory of God is the climax of history

The climax of history will come when all evil is vanquished and the new heaven and new earth have come. At that time all creation, which is presently groaning longing to achieve its destiny, will praise and glorify God for all eternity.

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever! (Revelation 5:13)

Is this your own understanding of history and what life is all about? If not I pray that God will make it clear to you. If so, I pray that you might live in the light of these glorious truths each and every day from now on as we await Christ’s return.

Let these wonderful truths motivate, strengthen and encourage you as you seek to glorify him today.


  1. Very succinct. I teach in a classical Christian school. This is what we need to hammer in daily.

  2. Yes - important to hammer it in - otherwise kids might think for themselves and realise that it is a load of horsewallop. History is history; gods and messiahs come and go - our primary ethical duty is not to these figments of our imagination, but to real people here and now. That's why as a Christian, I have no choice but to be an atheist.

    1. What is the ethical duty of a Christian Atheist Shane, who is it a duty to and why is it a duty?


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