In just 11 days a solar eclipse will pass across North America. The "band of totality," or area that will be 100% dark as the moon blocks the sun's rays from reaching Earth, is expected to be right through the heart of the United States, reaching from Northwest to Southeast. As a result of this area of total darkness, virtually all of the United States will be affected by the eclipse.
One of the ways in which Robin is taking notice of the eclipse comes in a humorous t-shirt she bought. It shows various arrangements of the sun, moon and Earth, and labels them "lunar eclipse," "solar eclipse" and "apocalypse." Kat, our inquisitive child and growing reader, saw the shirt during dinner and asked, "What does apocalypse mean?"
A pretty good question, to which Robin and I looked at each other and each said, "Hmmm." And then I decided to get up and fetch my New Testament Greek dictionary, recalling that the Greek title for the Revelation to John is roughly Apocalypse to John. According to that reference the primary definition is: making fully known, revelation, disclosure. The New Testament uses it fourteen times, including just once in the book where it is also part of the title.
It is curious that the popular definition we would have for apocalypse, that of a cataclysmic conflagration marking the end of civilization as we know it, with zombies left to run everything, is not the apocalypse per se but merely the end result. In actuality an apocalypse is a full disclosure, a revealing of things that were not previously known.
The last book of the Bible, the Revelation to John, is most certainly a full disclosure of end times from a biblical perspective. But taking another step back, to look at the Bible as a whole, we also see this idea of apocalypse, of revelation, at work.
It is in the Bible, and nowhere else, where humans are given insight into the mind and purposes of God as He works in the world. Through the pages of the Bible we understand why God created the world, why He created humans, why things went awry between humans and God and God's subsequent promise to one day make things right.
We see the fulfillment of that promise in the person and work of Jesus, and God's plan to continue drawing people to Himself until the day when He brings time and space in the creation we see and know to an end.
In no way does the Bible provide exhaustive knowledge of the things of God. We will always have questions that remain unanswered, no matter how long or deeply we study God's word. But for our purposes, from God's point-of-view, His word contains the revelation, the full disclosure of all that we need to love Him, to worship Him and to serve Him. Amen