“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy and all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
The God who helps us with our smallest problems is the Ruler over history. History will one day be seen to be His story, and knowing that brings a blessing to our lives especially at times when they seem pointless or chaotic. John wrote Revelation from Patmos, an island prison where the emperor, Domitian, had sent him because of “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 1:9) As God revealed His bigger plan, we can imagine John’s comfort in the soon coming of the Lord and the assurance of His ultimate victory.
The evil and darkness of this world will be short lived. As surely as Jesus came the first time to save us from our sins, He will come a second time to secure His bride, judge the world, and set up His kingdom. (2Timothy 4:1) Just how these events will unfold is unclear. There are many pieces to the end times’ puzzle and no one but God knows exactly how they fit together, yet John tells us in the text above that there’s a blessing in just contemplating the mystery. What exactly is the blessing? I believe it’s more of the fear of the Lord. Let me explain.
Paul tells us to “behold both the kindness and severity of God” in Romans 11:22. Our tendency is to only behold His kindness because it’s pleasant, but it’s in beholding His severity that we grow in the fear of the Lord and stay in a place where we will only experience His kindness. The end of Romans 11:22 goes like this: “…to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.” Jesus wants nothing for us but kindness, but to ensure that blessing, we must have the courage to behold His severity. When someone warns me of danger I feel love, not offense.
Jesus came the first time as a Lamb to save the world; He’s coming a second time as a Lion to judge it. At that time it won’t matter how close our theology about the end times matches what actually happens, but only that we are in a right relationship with God. May God engage both your mind and heart as you join me in contemplating the end times’ puzzle over the next few days.