Starting at "The End."
Have you ever started at the end? Let's say you've just opened that pages of a particularly thrilling 'thriller'. Against your better judgment, your curiosity gets the best of you, and you decide to 'cheat'. So, you check out the end of the book before reading the start. There are some obvious disadvantages to this reading method. Foremost is the fact that you miss out on the 'thrill'. However, there are also some advantages. Most importantly, because you know the end of the story, you can better prepare yourself for the surprise at the end.
It may seem weird to start my blog series out at the end of the Bible with the book of Revelation, but the reasoning is the same. As I read this book, I can better prepare myself for the surprise ending.
Revelation is a book that gives you, "the world as God sees it". According to God's view of the world, Jesus Christ is not merely a peripheral, sidelines character, He's the center of it all! He's the beginning, middle and end! The book opens with these words, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ". -Rev.1:1. In the Greek language the word 'revelation' literally means to 'unveil or reveal'. Right out of the box, the writer (the Apostle John) lets us know that this book (and all of earths history) has its climax in Jesus Christ.
In other words, no matter how difficult and chaotic things get (and believe me, it's going to get pretty hairy!), Revelation announces that God is still in control. We can gain the assurance that He will end the thriller called, "The Story of Humanity" just the way He has promised. Jesus has 'the whole world in His hands". Precisely because Jesus is in control of this topsy, turvy world...He is the only one who can assure us of its ultimate outcome. In the cosmic struggle between good and evil that we are all locked in...God wins!
The book of Revelation gives us both a promise and a demand. First, it promises a new and hopeful way of looking at the world. Do you need that today? I do! Secondly, Revelation confronts us with a demand. Not only do we have the joy of knowing the end of the story, but we have the responsibility of being accountable in the present. Revelation 1:3 proclaims, "blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written". Why? Because we can live our lives with purpose and urgency. We can live our lives as if every moment counts...because they do. Is that the way you live your life? It should be.
Seed for Thought: Since Jesus is on the winning side, which side are you on? How do you know? Do your daily attitudes reflect the truth that God is in control? Do you live your life as if each moment is your last? If not, why not?