I only met Juan Garcia once. I was asked to visit him on September 15. For a couple of hours in a cold room in Livingston, Texas, we talked. With an unforgiving deadline approaching fast, the last things were at the forefront of our minds.
Apocalyptic scriptures share one feature: They were always composed in distressing times for the benefit of desperate people who occupied a particular moment in history. They suffered politically and economically, and only a dramatic rescue by God could help.
In addition to his famed tirades was Jobs' "reality distortion field." Jobs would draw a picture of the world that seemed to defy all reality. At worst, he simply lied. At best, he cast a vision of what could be and then got others caught up in making that vision a new reality.
No one understands all of Revelation's numbers and symbols. Still, almost all interpreters have come to a common assessment of several keys: the Lamb, the Beast, the Great Prostitute, the Other Beast and the New Jerusalem.
Around 1830 John Nelson Darby, having selected scripture passages from Daniel, Revelation, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and elsewhere, pasted them together, called them a whole, and invented the Rapture, a word not found in the Bible.
Predictions of the Apocalypse or its personal equivalent of a direct path to heaven have been a common theme throughout human history. We seem determined to keep ourselves in a constant state of preparation for the end of time.