Through the centuries and even into our day, there has been a great fascination with the great theme of apocalypse. We find the theme taken up by everybody from ancient prophetic writers to modern day Hollywood producers. It is intuitive to human nature, and has been a common observation, that all things that have a beginning must eventually have an end. It is a cycle that repeats itself, and is plain for all to see. Indeed, this truth is so self-evident, that not even a fool would probably doubt it. All things must come to an end.
As you are probably aware, the Scriptures contain some writings that would be classified as “apocalyptic.” A lot of people have given much time and energy to studying and debating the apocalyptic books of the Bible. Few books have caused more controversy than the apocalyptic book of Revelation. It is a book loaded with powerful, violent, and majestic imagery that depicts the finality of this age and history as we know it. In it we read of great and terrible things that God promises will one day come upon the entire world.
As an American, we feel a strange disconnect in our rather comfortable and affluent lifestyles from that of the events we read of in Revelation. Our fascination for the book is little different than a motorist who slows down to observe a terrible car accident on the side of the road. Our interest in the wreck and our interest in the book of Revelation is almost entirely morbid. We want to see, not because we have any heartfelt interest, but because we enjoy the titillation of it all.
But the book of Revelation was never written so that one could have idle curiosities aroused and satisfied. For God doesn’t really care if you know and understand anything about the end of the world. Rather, God has granted us a knowledge of these things so that even in the midst of great trial, turmoil, and tribulation, you might gain a revelation– not of the end of the world — but of Jesus Christ. And truth be told, at the end of the day that is what the book of Revelation is about. It is not a book about the end of the world, but it is a book about Jesus Christ. As has been often pointed out, the book is not named the Revelation of St. John, or the Revelation of the End of the World, but it is named the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
And I think it is important that God chose to give us a revelation of Jesus Christ in an apocalyptic context. Why? I believe God did this so that when “apocalyptic” events happen in my own life, I might learn to not be consumed by the events that unfold around me, but that in those events, I might learn to be consumed by Him who sits on the throne. When the foundations of the earth shake and the stars from heaven fall upon me in my own life, I need to remember that there is One to whom “all blessing and honor and glory and power” belongs to. In such times I need to be reminded that though a flood of satanic furry be released against me, and though the armies of hell may march upon everything that I have ever known, there remains One who comes seated upon a white horse, slaying all His enemies with the sword that comes out of His mouth.
Should the Lord tarry, none of us will live through the apocalyptic times depicted in the Scriptures. But none of us will be without apocalyptic moments in our lives. For in this world, we will have trial and tribulation. Catastrophic, life changing events will suddenly happen to us without notice, and the future as we know it will suddenly come to an end. But when these things happen, we must look at them as events ordered by God to introduce us to a greater knowledge of Him. These events are an opportunity for us to turn aside and see Jesus Christ.
Today, I have reason to reflect upon an apocalyptic event that happened in my life just over two years ago. The event was almost without notice, and brought many things in my world to an end. And today, I am still not quite sure all that happened in those days. But in those days, when my world came suddenly crashing down, I was given a unique revelation of Jesus Christ. And though those days were some of the worst days of my life, looking back, I know they were also my best. They were my best, not because of anything great happening in them. But they were great because in the midst of it all, I had a revelation of Christ that I could have not otherwise obtained apart from going through my own personal apocalypse.
The revelation of Jesus Christ that comes through apocalypse is so awesome, that even though all the turmoil that is written of in the book of Revelation is still yet future, the final cry from its pages is “Come Lord Jesus!” Such a cry is not superficial or cheap. It is a heartfelt cry that recognizes that though one may have to go through a living hell in order to experience the revelation of Jesus Christ, the intimate knowledge one gains of Christ during such times is ultimately worth it. So when you are going through hell, embrace the apocalypse God has ordained for your life. For in doing so, you will be brought into a greater and more intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ, and you will see Him as you never saw Him before. You will have a revelation.