They’d say the time is high nigh for taking out books on end of the world scenarios but in the first months of the latest worldwide catastrophe that would have been unthinkable as people were wanting uplifting positive stories. And this is still the case in many places. I remember watching the Care Bears Movie during lockdown, one, because I was strangely curious, and two, it sounded quite a pleasant movie to watch during the time. I didn’t mind seeing those teddies spread their love and care around to those in need. It even had one of those ‘this is why he’s like this’ scenarios and the care bears tried to help him on that, as unlikely as this whole reason for being sort of thing might be for children’s movies, given it is something adults may understand more than kids, yet kids may learn something about being understanding….

A few weeks earlier I was called by a relative and gave my view on the pandemic in the ‘heat of the moment’, as I was trying to piece together a complicated jigsaw from various pieces of information, and wondered aloud if we were in the ‘end times’. It’s something that occurs to me often when a plague occurs, probably because the impression I get in times like these is built on what I hear and believe about out of control events. But as we moved out of lockdown I calmly realized life was getting back back to normal and I had feared what could have happened if we had been getting closer to the end in sudden fashion, due to perhaps paying attention to all those last times preachers.

During a relative normal period this year, I purchased “When Jesus Returns” by David Pawson, a preacher and teacher I trust on delivering a reliable view. I was not disappointed as he drew out the issues around the theology of the return of Jesus in fair and balanced manner, as I find many other ‘end time’ books pursue a certain point of view. It was his explanation of the word “revelation”, from the book of Revelation in the Bible, that was a moment of pure illumination, although I have read and been fascinated by this book of the Bible.

The word revelation means unveiling and comes from a Greek word, meaning in English, apocalypse. Unveiling is a word I easily understand on first hearing. But what is being unveiled? Pawson explains that what is hidden is being unveiled, that the book of Revelation unveils the future, things which were not even considered before this vision, seen by the disciple of Jesus, John. The vision was written down.

Unveiling is probably the main point to the book of Revelation. I found it particular illuminating as I understand the word and am fascinated that the future is being uncovered. In symbols!

I am up to the point in Pawson’s book that gets to the different views and understandings of the book.

As well as discovering more about the ‘end’, understanding the word unveiling itself afresh is eye opening and apt way to understand the film Apocalypse Now, which I reviewed before this post. Being unveiled in this powerful film is what war, in this case involving the Vietnam War, does to the heart and soul of those in it. In terms of the Vietnam connection, what is being unveiled is the lengths some of those in the military brass did to protect the war. Powerful stuff.

As for thinking about the end times or the apocalypse in today’s world, I am gradually reading Pawson’s book and looking forward to more. It will not unveil the apocalypse now, but it will be helpful in understanding Christian theology of the end and new beginning, as it is carefully understood in the Bible. And edifying of personal faith.

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