Christians are often frightened of discussions of eschatology because the subject includes death, judgment, and the possibility of being eternally separated from God. These are weighty topics, and even well-versed scholars debate the timeline of Revelation as it might pertain to Christians. Will the Rapture come before the period of Tribulation? Will believers recognize the Antichrist? When will Armageddon occur? Will Christians be raptured before periods of intense suffering?
Revelation is written as the vision which John was given, and it is presented in metaphorical images which leave room for interpretation. The imagery is often ominous:
I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:8)
The predictions regarding those final days are chilling:
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Revelation 6:12–14)
Because various biblical scholars have different interpretations, the study of eschatology can create some anxiety. These feelings are often propelled by those who try to predict the timeline of the last days, asserting that a particular day will be the date of the end of the world as we know it. Popular culture sometimes reinforces these fears with movies and literature that might not be Scripturally accurate but capitalize on people's fears and anxieties.
To better understand these aspects, an in-depth study of Revelation would provide much-needed guidance. It's also important to follow the advice of Daniel, who suggested that those who love God "continue to live wisely and well" (Daniel 12:10) during times of distress. Christians can also recall the promises of God, that he will "strengthen you and help you" (Isaiah 41:10), that he will "never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:8), and that he has already "overcome the world" (John 16:33). Revelation is a sacred vision, but it is only part of God's story for believers. Thus, it is important to view eschatology within the larger framework of God's word.