am writing about the apocalypse as the end of the world of sin and death. It is a happy thought. It is the reason we light candles for the four weeks before the Feast of Nativity. We are not only preparing our hearts for the Christmas celebration of Christ’s astronomical birth on earth but also remembering that He is coming again.
The second time Christ comes, He is coming to reign as the King of heaven and earth and completely destroy sin. Our lifetime is a journey of preparing to see Him on that day. There are two ways that we prepare to meet Jesus. We prepare through repentance and through good deeds done to please Him.
Thomas Keating also partly inspired my apocalyptical advent when he wrote:
“The Second Coming of Christ can occur in two ways with the end of time (only God knows when that is) or by our accessing the eternal dimension within us. The latter is what the liturgy and the spiritual journey are attempting to bring about. The values of eternal life are constantly breaking into the linear dimensions of chronological time and putting us in contact with the Ultimate Reality…In each moment of chronological time, the divine value of each moment is available to us in proportion to our sensitivity to the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit suggests what is to be done at each moment in our relationship to God, ourselves, other people, and the cosmos.” (Thomas Keating, Daily Reader in Contemplative Living, Continuum Publishing, 2005, p. 318).
By keeping in touch with the Spirit of God within, we will do our best preparation for Jesus’ second coming.
There is no way to prepare or understand the timing for the horrors that describe the apocalypse in Revelation. It sounds terrifying and unsettling. No one wants the earth to go through the descriptions of worldwide chaos that the book of Revelation contains. Yet we know that we deserve such a fate. We see our personal unworthiness and lack of ability to defeat sin’s hold on us. Revelation is too grand for our finite minds to comprehend. We do know that there are some pretty special realities about this world that we love. For example, this Christmas season is a time of giving and family gatherings and love for strangers. We enjoy the fragments of God’s original design in the sunsets and sunrises, waterfalls, and oceans, just to name a few of the beautiful gifts we love about our earthly existence.
We wait and desire the apocalypse only because the other side of the apocalypse is the recreation of all things. It is the time when all things are made right. Perhaps the best way to think about apocalypse in Revelation is to ponder the messages to the seven churches and take heed to their spiritual direction and then to anticipate the wonder of heaven and earth being remade—right-sided.
Revelation 21:1-5 describes the results of what we are waiting and preparing for after Jesus’ second coming:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Now that’s an Apocalypse that I can look forward to.