The End Times: What do we need to know?
Read the end of the Book of Revelation (Chapters 20-22) here and listen to what God is teaching you today through the Scriptures.
Revelation: Beginning With The End In Mind
You and I have probably heard all sorts of end times theories, or watched at least a couple of apocalyptic Zombies movies. In a world filled with pain and injustice, we often wonder What would the end of the world look like?" We all look forward to a day when peace and justice will come and last forever. Fortunately, God has a lot to say about the end times.
In the final pages of the Bible, we find an incredible book that is filled with awesome, fantastical scenes. From angels proclaiming judgment over the nations with plagues, to seals on scrolls opening and unleashing a great dragon upon the earth, Revelation is one of the most interesting - yet often confusing - books in the Bible.
If not studied properly, it can be tempting to apply symbolism we read in Revelation to modern current events or political authorities we don't like, or trying to do fortune-telling by treating the book as a crystal ball. Yet time and again, and readers are left wondering What is the book of Revelation really about?
Who wrote the Revelation?
When reading the Book of Revelation, it is essential to read with the eyes of one living in the time of the writer John.
The apostle John, the same John who followed Jesus and witnessed His life, death, resurrection and ascension, wrote Revelation after witnessing a vision from God while exiled on the Island of Patmos.
Many scholars believe that John received this vision during the waning years of Roman Emperor Nero’s rule (54-68 AD) - a time when violence against followers of Jesus was constant.
Many followers of Jesus were killed, tortured, or forced into hiding, and some even gave up their faith out of fear of persecution.
The Final Battles and Victory brought by the Lamb of God
In the beginning chapters of the book, we see the Lamb of God, Jesus, proclaims judgments on churches who had fallen away from true worship, calling them back to Himself.
The rest of the book unveils an incredible set of scenes by which evil increases on the earth at the hand of Satan and his demons. Judgments on those enemies are poured out in “bowls'' of judgment.
Then a set of seals are unlocked culminating in a final battle that sees the forces of evil destroyed at the return of The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
The Lamb is the Messiah promised by God, revealed to many prophets such as Abraham, David, Daniel, Isaiah and John the Baptist (see previous studies). God revealed that the Lamb would make the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world and defeat sin and death once and for all. Only through this perfect sacrifice prepared by God can we be accepted and forgiven, and be able to enter into God's eternal presence.
Worship, Weddings, & Eternity With God
The frightening scenes of plague, war, and judgment can make Revelation seem to be a book of scary future events.
Yet the true message of Revelation is that those who believe in Jesus have a glorious future to look forward to because He has defeated all sin and death! There will be a day when Satan and the hosts of evil are finally overthrown, and Jesus returns to inaugurate a new eternity of hope, joy, healing and a new eternal relationship with God.
We read in Revelation 21:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Every tear, every pain, every fear will be put to death once and for all. More miraculously, death will be destroyed, and no longer will suffering occur for those who have placed their faith in the Lamb of God, Jesus.
What follows is a scene of joyous celebration at a heavenly 'reunion' of God and His people. Reunited in person, a new heaven and new earth are created where all will live forever in peace and worship.
The Tree of Life
In the final chapter, we see the River of Life and the Tree of Life represent the life of eternal fellowship with God.
The last time we read about the Tree of Life was in the garden of Eden in the beginning of the Bible (Genesis 2:9). When Adam and Eve chose sin over obedience, they had to be cast out of the garden. This symbolized their separation from God. Eternal separation from God is the second death, as we saw in Revelation 20:6,10,14-15 and Revelation 21:8.
The Tree of Life is now a source of God's healing of the broken world. It is in the midst of New Jerusalem, representing God’s people having full fellowship with God forever.
May you read Revelation with this promise in mind. Jesus will one day return, and every evil and bad thing that happens in our lives and the world will be made right once more. What a reason to worship!
Your Response: Listen to God and Pray...
1. When you read Revelation 20 & 21, what parts stick out to you? What makes you joyful and hopeful?
2. What promises does God make to those who love Him in the Revelation?
3. When you read Revelation and recognize that only those who place their faith in Jesus as savior will spend eternity with Him, do you count yourself as one of those followers? Will you become one today?
4. Revelation is a story of a hopeful future of no more pain, sickness, or death. Who in your life needs to hear this incredible truth today? Who will you share this with?
5. How will you live your life today knowing that the future is set and that one day Jesus will return to make all things new?