Apocalypse Now?

'Apocalyptic' has re-emerged in our vocabulary. First it was the dire warnings of the destruction of our planet by global warming. Now it is the threat of nuclear war.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse in Revelation 6:1-8 depict conquest, war, famine and death. This is the reality of the world until Jesus comes again. Historically, the 77 years of global non-aggression between major power blocs since WWII is an anomaly. However, during that time there have been 288 significant regional conflicts which have brought misery and death to millions. As Jesus said, wars and rumours of wars are normal until the Prince of Peace comes again.

By the time we reach Revelation 8:6-13, angels sound four trumpets announcing judgements on the world which has rejected its King. The narrative is gripping: a third of the earth is burned up, a third of the sea is turned to blood as a third of sea creatures and ships are destroyed; a third of the rivers turn bitter and bring death; and a third of the atmosphere is blackened shutting out the light.

However these pictures may be interpreted, they are clear reminders, to believers in every age, that all is not well with the world. We need a Saviour.

We are rightly aghast at the savagery of war in Europe - a thing considered so barbaric that it could never happen again. But it has.

The bravado of confident lying and the inhumanity of treating people as though they have no value has all the marks of Satan. Not surprisingly, a new 'unstoppable' weapon is dubbed Satan II. That old Enemy, who can read God's Word as well as us, knows his time is short and so he is filled with fury (Revelation 12:12).

Some may say that we cannot put everything down to direct demonic activity and that is certainly true. But Satan's fingerprints are all over this. Years of frustrated personal ambition in hard hearts become powder kegs awaiting an evil spark.

James puts it like this: "But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."

The challenge to repent comes afresh to our generation. We see Revelation being worked out today. Despite ever increasing distress, the majority of the world refuse to repent and so God allows even greater woes (Revelation 9:20; 16:9; 16:11). And yet the Lord delays His coming, "not wanting anyone to perish eternally but that everyone will come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Peter continues, "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?"

He gives the answer - which is our personal challenge and the reason why BeaconLight exists ... "You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:11-13)

Our Australian partner, Clive, has taken up the Revelation challenge set in the March and April Newsletters. Clive writes, "I reckon, I'm going to take up the challenge and work my way through the Book of Revelation. I've only ever 'poked it with a stick' before but I reckon with Word@Work commentaries, it would be a worthwhile endeavour, with a few buddies, over our Winter. Thanks for outlining the Book of Revelation task. I reckon that I can do this as a nightly activity over 6 months. I'll keep you posted."

22 chapters of Revelation are covered in 130 Word@Work mini-bites. If you do one bite a day for 5 days a week you will complete it in 26 weeks or half a year! One chapter a week sees you through 22 weeks. Or just take a couple of days' holiday and work through the whole book!

Will you take the Revelation challenge? It will greatly spur your prayer life as you support BeaconLight's mission to share the gospel and build the church in a conflicted world ... and to be ready for Jesus when He comes or calls.

© Dr Paul Adams