Warning! Watching the news could trouble your heart.
We’ve never had so many sources of breaking news beamed nonstop into our homes and phones, and most of the stories leave us perplexed and disheartened. Who could imagine times like these? Political upheaval. Global terrorism. Mass killings. Rogue states. Economic peril. Rampant secularism. Worldwide pandemics. Racism. Division. War.
It’s as if the “signs of the times” have become the signs of our times.
Earlier generations could only imagine these days as they read the concluding book of Scripture—Revelation. Now we’re living in times that epitomize the contents of this prophetic book. As we read the headlines of the day and compare them to the contents of Revelation, they seem to align like points on a compass. Think of the new threats that have emerged in the last few years to endanger our world: cyberwar, Internet dependence, terrorism, superbugs, super weapons, and more. And think of our communications advances with real-time video, real-time audio, and expanding social media. In Escape the Coming Night, I’ll show you how the writer of Revelation envisioned these final days of history.
I don’t feel frightened by the coming apocalypse, and neither should you. If we know Christ as Savior, we should be exhilarated as the times unfold. God has given us a book of promises and insights, and He has called that book “Revelation” because He wants to reveal tomorrow to us today.
The key thought in Revelation is simple: God has a plan for the future and for eternity. Regardless of what happens—no matter how depressing or difficult the news—life in Christ has a happy ending for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Why Study Revelation?
There is simply something special about studying Revelation. This is the only book in the Bible that promises a special blessing for those who study it. In the pages to follow, I’ll point out seven specific blessings promised to those who examine this book and love its message. If you need an extra blessing from God today, you’ll find it within the pages of Revelation.
There’s also something powerful about knowing the future. The contents of Revelation are devoted to telling us “what must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1). I’m going to take you through these events, chapter by chapter. From the dawning of history, men and women have dreamed of foretelling the future; and the Devil, leveraging that desire, has enslaved millions of people through astrology, fortune-telling, gambling, and the occult. Science-fiction writers and futurists use academic models and vivid imaginations to create scenes of the future, but with limited success. For example, you can read hundreds of science-fiction books from the first half of the twentieth century without finding one that envisions the Internet or the worldwide web. The writers simply couldn’t foresee how modern technology would unfold.
But God knows the future. He knows tomorrow as thoroughly as He knows yesterday, and He has shared His insights with us in the twenty-two chapters of Revelation. We don’t need to read tea leaves, become sci-fi fanatics, or look at crystal balls to know what’s coming. I want to show you what God says about it in the final pages of Scripture.
Revelation will also motivate you to rearrange your priorities and patterns of life. When you learn about the Rapture of the Church, the unleashing of the Tribulation, the unfolding of the last days of planet earth, the rise of the Antichrist, the courage of the Tribulation martyrs, the power of the heavenly angels, the return of Jesus, the Great White Throne Judgment, the nature of hell, and the endless realms of heaven, you’ll see your present life more clearly.
Imagine you knew the stock market would collapse tomorrow, or Los Angeles would suffer an atomic attack, or a new Disney theme park would open in your city—it would affect your emotions, your plans, your priorities, and the things you talk about today. It would overshadow your communication. It would dominate your thoughts. We view our lives today more clearly when we have insights into tomorrow’s events. The book of Revelation gives perspective.
But there’s more. As you study Revelation, you’ll also worship Jesus in a fresh way. In the Gospels, we see Him as the friend of sinners, as a baby born to save the world, as a Savior who died and rose again for our sins. In the book of Acts, we meet Him as the unstoppable force behind His church. In the New Testament letters, we better understand the mission of Christ in bringing justification to the world and the nature of His person and work. We learn about the privilege of being “in Christ.”
All those things are true and wonderful. But in Revelation we encounter Christ as the Faithful Witness, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the One who was and is and is to come—as the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is holy and true. We see Him who holds the seven stars in His hands, and who opens a door that no one can shut. We see Him as King of kings and Lord of lords—forever and ever, amen! With the descriptions of Jesus in Revelation, and as we study these twenty-two chapters, I think you’ll see Him with new appreciation and adoration.
The book of Revelation also infuses us with fresh urgency. I’ve been studying Revelation for years. I first preached through the book of Revelation at Shadow Mountain Community Church in the 1980s, and I came away from those sermons believing Christ would return any day. We’re still here on earth waiting, but the times are more urgent and the events of Revelation nearer than ever. Prophecy is a favorite subject of mine. Why? It reminds me time is short, and there are souls to be saved. There’s so much to do for the Lord. People are in pain today, and we want to rescue the lost as we see the approach of the coming night.
He Who Has Ears, Let Him Hear
At the beginning of the previous century, a young Christian named George Davis made a personal decision to speak to someone every single day about receiving Christ as Savior. Sometimes he would forget until he was in bed, but then he would arise, get dressed, and go out into the streets until he found someone with whom to share Christ.
When World War I erupted, Davis began distributing Bibles to soldiers. While holding meetings in a military camp at Fort Matilda in Scotland, he was given a damaged New Testament. It had belonged to a soldier who had kept it in his jacket pocket. During an intense battle, a steel-jacketed German bullet went straight for his heart, but it struck the little Book instead. It plowed its way through page after page, stopping at Revelation 3:6: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The soldier, having been saved by the Book, was then saved by the blood of its Author. He received the Lord Jesus into his heart. A month after, the soldier was hit by shrapnel and killed. But he died with a testimony for Christ on his lips, and his Bible was passed from soldier to soldier until given to Davis. For the rest of the war, George Davis used that damaged New Testament to impress soldiers with the urgency of salvation, saying, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
That’s how we feel as we study Revelation. The times are urgent; the days are short; and the battle is fierce. The book of Revelation is a shield for the heart, and as we study it we’ll better know how to escape the coming night—and anticipate the eternal day. May God give us ears to hear, and may He give us mouths to share the message of Revelation with others as we await the greatest breaking news in human history:
This is the introduction from David Jeremiah’s book, Escape the Coming Night.