Everybody always wants to know how the story ends. The book of Revelation gives us the opportunity to flick forward to the final page, in order that we might walk towards the end of history with greater faith, confidence, and joy.
Scripture is very clear that all of history is moving towards a final goal. This is a matter of extreme significance; God has created men and women to know that something exists beyond death. Indeed, He has set eternity in our very hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Every religion and worldview attempts to make sense out of history. Hinduism, for example, teaches that the reality in which we find ourselves is not moving towards a destination but is actually going round in circles—that history is cyclical. Atheistic naturalism argues that there is no pattern to history and no purpose or end goal; history is simply the tale of atoms rearranging themselves (and so are each of us). Christians, however, recognize that the Bible shows history to be linear: there was a point of beginning, there will be a point of ending, and there is purpose to its direction. Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and return are the central theme of all of history. All of humankind’s story must therefore be viewed within that framework. Jesus will return; He will complete God’s eternal plan of salvation, and He will usher in God’s perfected kingdom. He will make all things new and perfect.
What is the perfected kingdom that Jesus brings in? It’s a kingdom that centers on His cross. It’s a kingdom that changes hearts and lives, and its citizens bow before Jesus as King. It’s a kingdom of love and justice, of compassion and peace. This kingdom is growing and reaching out to the ends of the earth—and at the appointed time, which is unknown to us, God the Father is going to give His Son the nations as His inheritance (Psalm 2:8).
Even now, God is working out His sovereign plan and the mystery of His will. When John writes concerning the end times, he reminds us that “salvation belongs to our God” (Revelation 7:10). If salvation belonged to another or if it were left to chance, God’s plan might not be fulfilled. But He is the author of history and the ruler of the future. He has purposed to save His people, and He will. One day we shall hear Him say, “It is done” (21:6).
God has begun the work of our salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and one day He will bring all things under one Head, Jesus. Therefore, if we are united with Christ, “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), enabled to reign forever with the Son. How do we respond? With faith, confidence, and joy! For while we do not know how our lives will go, we do know how the story ends—and how our eternity begins. So we pray with eager anticipation, “Our Father in heaven … Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:9-10).