Q: Pete, how should studying the book of Revelation and the end times affect how we live today?
A: The amazing vision recorded for us in Revelation is at once perplexing, invigorating, energizing, thrilling, and even exasperating. It is exasperating because the genre John employed is called apocalyptic literature, which includes graphic and remarkable imagery about specific events in human history. This style of writing is fascinating, but it leaves lots of room for interpretation and that room has been filled with scores of passionately held theories. This has led to discussion, discourse, debate, defamation, and dismemberment (well, maybe not that last one) among brothers and sisters in Christ. And in the melee of argumentation the simple and powerful truth of this great book is lost. What is that simple truth? I like to summarize it this way:
God wins. Jesus is coming back. We need to be ready when He arrives.
You can take all the “end times” teaching in the Bible, including the Gospels, Paul’s writings, and John’s visions, and they will all fit into one of those three statements.
So how does this affect us today? Well the fact that God wins is a tremendous comfort when we are struggling in life and all evidence points to evil winning. The truth that Jesus is coming back, this time to receive His saints and judge those who are still unredeemed, fills us with awe, hope, and holy fear at the same time. Hope for us and fear for those far from God. This concern for the lost will fuel our evangelism. And finally, we are to be ready for His return (the rest of the New Testament teaches us what this looks like).
Q: Pete, do you think we are living in the end times?
A: It wasn’t all that long ago that a gentleman predicted the end of the world would take place. When the deadline came and passed, he was ridiculed by the world and ignored by the believers who were embarrassed by his proclamations. He was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong, and his name has been added to a long list of people throughout the centuries who fell into the same quagmire.That being said, yes, I think we are in the end times. The end times began with the inauguration of the Kingdom when Christ was physically present on earth and has spanned the centuries ever since. Are we closer to the end now? Of course we are, with each passing minute! Should we do anything drastic as a result of these facts? Yes, surrender your life completely to Christ in expectation of His return. By doing so, you will be applying the message of Revelation in a pragmatic and wise way.