Revelation equips us for the spiritual struggle we are called to endure. We are instructed to overcome and are shown the resources given us by which we might do so. Most pointedly, we are shown the One who overcame on our behalf.
Earthquakes, plagues, famine, civil unrest, and widespread godlessness have prompted Christians to wonder if this is the end times. With that wonder has come a renewed interest in the book of Revelation. The onset of COVID-19 has particularly spawned a slew of books and blogs on the subject. Older titles on Revelation have found a renewed market.
But uniformly, the question on the table has to do with a future focus on the return of Jesus. The book of Revelation is spread out as a map. Like looking for an X on a hiking trail marquee, people try to locate their position and proximity to their destination. They turn in the book as a hiker’s guide to find landmarks and posted signs, looking for indicators of the end.
Revelation, however, does not deal primarily with the Last Days at history’s conclusion. It deals with the last days of redemptive history as identified by the writer of Hebrews: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:1–2).
In view is not primarily the Great Tribulation of which Jesus speaks in Matthew 24 but of the great tribulation experienced by the people of God as part of their daily existence for the name of Jesus to which He alerted His disciples. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).