I'm a part of an amazing Bible study. It's called CBS -- Community Bible Study. It is an international program, with classes held all over the world. I have been a part of this group for three years now, and I'm always amazed at all I learn and the blessing I receive from participating.
The neat thing about this group is that each year we study a different book of the Bible. We read an assigned passage or chapter, and answer questions. Then we join other women (some classes are men and women, but ours is just for women) and review the questions. It is so enriching to hear what other godly women are hearing and learning from God.
This year we are studying the book of Revelation. When I heard that we'd be tackling Revelation, I have to admit to being wary. Even considered not joining the study this year. I mean, that's the book with all the really weird, sci-fi, unbelievable stuff in it that condemns all and precipitates fear, right???
Uh, no. Well, there is some scary stuff like bowl judgments and plagues and that stuff, but those judgments are passed on unbelievers. And though Satan, the Antichrist, and the beast are all pretty scary, it was also, in a way, reassuring to read about these things so that I could find clarity about the end times in my mind. No longer were these things myths, but truths. And as John 8:32 says, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
It's amazing to me how really delving into God's word brings me closer to Him. To having a better understanding of WHO God is.
And what I've learned from this book is that God is a merciful, patient, and just God. He wishes for all to come to Him, and for none to perish. The reason he passes all the judgments, plagues, and bowls? To bring the unbelievers to Him. He gives unbelievers chance after chance after chance."He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9b
Are there weird images in Revelation? Yes.
Are there scary judgements and plagues revealed? Yes.
Should I be afraid of the end times? No.
Because perfect Love casts out fear. Let me say that again -- perfect Love (God) casts out fear (things of Satan -- and Satan himself!)
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18
In fact, that perfect Love wins in the end -- at the end of it all, LOVE WINS.
And that's a perfect ending to an imperfect world!