Many Christians are scared of Revelation. Admittedly, it is a different kind of book. We aren’t used to its apocalyptic genre. It employs figures we aren’t readily familiar with. It uses a style that is not common to us. However, I fear that many Christians are afraid because they know “we” are supposed to believe Christ’s kingdom is already here, but they think Revelation may actually teach what the Premillennialists say about it. They are afraid that if they really study the book, it will cause them to believe we are still waiting for the kingdom.
No doubt, we could spend weeks and weeks studying all of Revelation to defuse the Premillennial interpretation. However, despite some of the more difficult, complex, and symbolic passages that the Premillennialists use to defend their doctrine, the book actually begins with some very clear-cut statements that lay a foundation for the whole book. They lay a foundation that should mold our interpretation of the rest of the book.
Revelation 1:5-6 says, “…Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Just as Jesus is already the firstborn of the dead, He is already the ruler of kings on earth. He is already king. Not only that, but He has already made us into a kingdom. We are not waiting for the kingdom, we are already in the kingdom if we have been set free from our sins by Christ. As Paul said in Colossians 1:13, we are not waiting for Christ’s kingdom, we have already been transferred into it.
Then Revelation 1:9 says, “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus…”
John was not writing about some future tribulation. He was already in it, partnering in it alongside his readers. He was not writing about some future kingdom. He was already in it, partnering in it alongside his readers. Back in Mark 9:1, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” John was there that day. His words in Revelation 1:9 demonstrate Jesus told the truth. John was still alive and the kingdom of God had already come.
I know our Premillennial friends like to jump to Revelation 20, and there are certainly a myriad of positions taken on what that chapter means. However, whatever we believe it means, we can’t make it deny the very foundation of John’s book. John’s foundation was that the kingdom was already established and enduring a great tribulation, it was not looking forward to one in the dim and distant future.
The kingdom of Jesus is here; we are not waiting for it. We need to get into it and stay in it.