And finally here we are, with me reading a book of the bible I’ve actively avoided for my entire life. I’m so thankful for John the apostle, for all of his wisdom, for what he meant to the early church, and for bringing us the Book of Revelation. I know it’s an important book of the bible and it was exciting for me to finally get over a fear and dive into the bible’s final book.
History of the book
Written by John in 95 ad, the story of how this book came about is incredible. Imprisoned by Roman authorities on the isle of Patmos, John was pretty old at this point. However, God wasn’t done with him yet, as he gave John visions of the events of the end times.
My thoughts on Revelation
One thing I would never ever do on this blog is lie, so I’m going to say right here and now that as I read Revelation, almost the entirety of it soared high above my head. I know for absolute fact that there’s deep and extremely important truths in this book about the end times, the second coming of Jesus, and the events that will play out. It lays out some ghastly scenarios that will befall the earth, but as awful as it gets, the end result is the return of a triumphant Jesus, who will defeat his enemies once and for all.
I used to be terrified of the idea of the end times and armageddon and all that stuff. I can very happily tell you that God has really worked on me in that regard, and as I’ve grown deeper in my trust and understanding of Him, I don’t fear the end times the way I used to. I almost want to say that I don’t fear them at all, but if I’m being completely truthful with myself I think a sliver of apprehension might remain in me. Either way, much of the book of Revelation was such a mystery to me. It’s packed with intense symbolism, some of it striking me as nearly indecipherable. I’m excited to study it more in depth at some point in the future, but for now I freely admit that this sneak peek of the end times often left me feeling baffled.
One thing I did take away from Revelation is a deep comfort in the ending. It’s like a movie where things get so terrible in the middle that you can’t envision a happy ending for the good guys, and yet, somehow it all works out. As much as the plagues and the beasts and the antichrists sound horrifying, the clearly stated victory of Jesus over it all brings me great comfort. I may not understand all the symbolism yet, but I do understand the ending. God wins, and He and His people endure into eternity in a world free from sin, free from war, free from all terribleness. While I may have missed many truths in my first read through of Revelation, I certainly did not miss the beautiful truth of how it all ends victoriously for God and His people.
Before I end this, there’s one final aspect of Revelation that I want to address. I’ve always had a problem with “fire and brimstone” preaching. The whole, “accept Jesus or DIE!” approach just rubs me the wrong way. Deep down, if something brings someone to true salvation, then I suppose that something is good no matter what, but I think that more often than not the “fire and brimstone” approach turns away far more people than it saves. Regardless of that, I do think the book of Revelation should be a grim and absolute reminder to us as believers about what fate is waiting for those who don’t accept Jesus. I’ve got some people that are dearly precious to me in life who are lost right now, and the thought of them being put through the awfulness of the tribulation and all the terrible events that lead to the end of the age, it turns my stomach. The knowledge of where they’ll spend eternity if they remain lost saddens my heart in a very real way. I’m not saying that we should use the threat of Revelation to try to scare them into accepting Jesus. I’m saying that the truth of Revelation should inspire us to fight even harder to bring as many souls to Jesus as we possibly can. We have knowledge that the lost don’t. We know in our hearts who wins in the end, and what happens to those who fought on the wrong side. For me, one thing Revelation did was reinforce within me just how hard I should be fighting to save the lost, because I don’t desire for anyone to miss out on the joy and glory and eternal reward that comes from standing with Jesus.
closing and prayer
It was another great week here on the blog. Putting these onto a regular schedule really feels like it’s working. I’m done with the writings of John now and I have to say that they were a great joy. I can’t wait to come back around to them in the near future as I continue to mature spiritually.
Next week will be fun as I’m doing a few more general posts. We’ll be looking at the book of Job from the old testament as well as talking about giving money to God, a subject I’ve long struggled with.
For prayers today, I’d like to do something very simple. Instead of coming to God with a request or a cry for help, let’s just say a little prayer and tell God how much we appreciate Him. One of the most powerful things I ever did was just tell God that I love Him. So I’d just encourage you to love on God a little bit in prayer today. He gives us so much love and comfort and encouragement, let’s just send some back His way today and let Him know how appreciated and loved He is.
I love all of you guys and I hope you all have a restful and enjoyable weekend. Never forget that God loves you, too!