The Hope of Revelation

I just finished going through a Bible study on the book of Revelation. Yes, that book of Revelation. It’s the one that can feel like something out of a horror movie with all the plagues and bowls and fire and brimstone. It can seem at first glance to be a book all about the wrath of God and how you better watch out lest He strike you down.

But that’s not the point of Revelation. It’s ultimately a book about hope. And I can’t think of a commodity we’re more in need of right now than hope. Every other day, there’s another mass shooting or a natural disaster or a financial crisis. So many of us in Nashville are still reeling over the 3 students and 3 faculty killed at a small Christian private school in the Green Hills area. We need hope.

My teacher said tonight that hope shines brightest in the darkness. When things are going well for me, I can tend to coast and not really give much thought to the future or of my need for God. I can lull myself into the delusion of independence and control. I can very easily make a little god out of me in my little world. I don’t seek out hope on my bright days when all is right with the world.

But when something shakes my world to the core, then I find that I am helpless apart from the grace of God. I find that this beautiful but broken world is unraveling faster and faster and chaos seems to be gaining the upper hand. I find that’s when I begin to hunger and thirst for hope in a world that more and more seems hopeless.

But then I read the book of Revelation, where God promises to put everything right. I read the last two chapters where God says He will wipe every tear from our eyes and restore and remake the world to what it was before Adam and Eve ate that fruit and messed it all up. And by the way, any one of us would have done exactly the same.

The Book of Revelation says that death and hell will not have the last word. Hate will not win. Your story will not end in ashes and defeat and suffering. The Lamb has already overcome and we will see the victory with our own eyes and whatever sorrow or pain or loss we’ve been through won’t begin to compare with the glories and majesty that await us then.

The book ends with an invitation that I would offer to anyone reading these words:

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life” (Revelation 22:17, NLT).

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