BY CAITLYN LIM
It took me a very long time to figure out what I wanted to write about. Prior to this I had drafted a 1,379-word article on my personal testimony of what “the future” meant or what it was supposed to be. Those 1,379 words captured every stereotypical phrase you have probably ever heard regarding this topic of the future. It covered my entire life story and how I realized that God’s plan for my life was a thousand times better than my own plan for my life. It attempted to encourage you, the reader, to trust in God even if His plan didn’t make any sense. And not to discredit any of these claims or belittle anyone who chooses to explore these topics, but I suddenly felt called to take a different approach—one that I feel is often purposefully overlooked.
For some odd reason, I felt every fiber of my being telling me to write about the Book of Revelation. This book is the final book in the Bible, written by John the Apostle who was exiled to the forsaken island of Patmos for his relentless and persistent preaching of Jesus Christ. John was one of the twelve disciples, and is oftentimes referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved.” Jesus’ relationship with John was more than that of teacher and pupil, or master and servant, and incomparable to Jesus’ relationships with the other disciples. It was a relationship based on mutual unconditional love, and it is for that reason that not even banishment and exile could keep John from proclaiming that Jesus was Messiah.
The Book of Revelation was a book that I had not touched until a few weeks ago—and I’ve been a Christian for a few years now. I often purposely refrained from reading anything from Revelation, simply because it scared me. From what I gathered, it was morbid and dark and gruesome and frightening. Over the years, I had strung together a very vague picture of what this book was saying. I knew of the second coming of Christ and of Judgment Day, and even that there would be chaos and destruction on earth before a new restoration would take place. But I did not know the extent to which it would take place.
The word ‘revelation’ means an uncovering or revealing of something previously unknown. I have learned that this book is exactly that—a revelation of God’s wrath and His will for His people. While on the island of Patmos, this revelation is unveiled to John through a series of visions. Through these recorded visions, John acts as the messenger between Jesus and all who believe. John writes of the second coming of Christ, and also of the pain and suffering that will be inflicted on earth. He writes of how war will break out and people will begin to kill each other. The waters will turn into blood, the sun will turn black, the moon will become blood red, and the stars will fall to the earth. Continuous destruction will be inflicted on the inhabitants of the earth as God unveils his wrath. Basically, every preconception I had about the Book of Revelation turned out to be completely true.
However, in reading through Revelation, I was also able to see that in the midst of all this suffering, God will remain faithful to those who have lived their earthly lives serving Him. In Revelation 7:3 it says, “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will not experience this destruction, but because of the seal of God, which marks us as his sons and daughters, we will be shielded so that no harm may come to us. Whether this seal is a physical mark or a spiritual one we do not know, but the most important thing is that in some way, we will be set apart as sons and daughters of the living God.
The Book of Revelation ultimately leads to what is known as Judgment Day. This is the day in which every single person will be judged according to what they have done and anyone whose name is not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire. Our God is a loving and forgiving God, but he is also a just God—one who is fair and impartial; one who will administer justice according to His standards. And inevitably, the day will come where He will judge every one of us, welcoming those who have accepted Him into their hearts, and turning away those who have rejected Him.
But once again, God is faithful to those who have faith in Him. John writes about how after this day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. In Revelation 21:2 it says, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” God promises restoration after all this destruction. He declares that everything will be made new again and that there will finally be a day with no more pain and no more suffering. There will be no remnants of the sin of this world, but a renewal of life for those who love and obey the Lord.
For those of us who love the Lord and obey Him, we may now find peace for our souls. We read of this place with no sorrow or misery, no death or loss, no fear or pain. We imagine a new life where we are finally reunited with our Father. All of this sounds good, right? Then why is it that I still feel a deep sadness when I think about it? I know that God sent His one and only son to bear the sins of the world and to die on the cross for me. I know that without Him I am broken. I know that without Him, I am nothing. I recognize that He is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, the Creator, the Savior, the Messiah. The Book of Revelation should reaffirm God’s promise and love for me. Yet for some reason, I am still not satisfied.
I keep thinking about the wrath of God that John prophecies will be inflicted upon those who do not believe. And then I think of all the people that I love in this world who fall under that category. How can I look forward to this new life with Christ, knowing that there are people in this world who won’t be in it?
The one thing that gives me some sense of comfort is 2 Peter 3:9. It says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God is a just God, and when the time comes, He will deliver his justice. But God is also a gracious God who wants every person to have the opportunity to accept Jesus’ sacrifice rather than suffering the penalty that justice demands we pay for our sins.
God is giving every person on this earth the chance to recognize the brokenness of humanity without Christ and to acknowledge that He took our place on the cross, carrying the burden of our sin on his shoulders. But we should not take this chance for granted. For those who do not yet believe, God is extending his grace to you. He is constantly pursuing you and whether that is through loved ones, strangers, or even this journal, I encourage you to accept it, for we don’t know how long the offer stands.
For those who do believe, find peace and look forward to this new life. But also recognize and develop a sense of urgency to reach out to those who have not yet discovered the love of Christ. Jesus is coming soon. It could be years from now or it could be tomorrow, we have no idea. This, though, should only increase our sense of urgency. As followers of Christ, we should use the time we have on this earth to go and spread the gospel. He calls us through the Great Commission, to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
So I urge you to recognize this sense of urgency and act upon it. Be intentional in your actions and make it a priority in your life to share the love of Christ with those who are still lost and searching for something greater. The future is a scary, scary thing, especially for those who do not know and love of the Lord. But rather than just being content and grateful for the life and future you’ve been promised, share it with someone—anyone.