Revelation and Hope

In his April 23rd article on SkywatchTV Dr. Thomas Horn states: “Fear and uncertainty are running rampant in our world today. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, politics, global conflict, natural disasters and many other events are making many people feel uneasy and anxious about the future. Some people have completely lost hope. Is there a book in Scripture that could help encourage us during this time of crisis? Although this may sound strange to some, I suggest that you read the book of Revelation if you are feeling fearful today. The book of Revelation tends to make people nervous. There’s a lot in there that we can’t wrap our minds around. Consequently, Revelation is often read with some measure of fear and uncertainty. Alternatively, some Christians (including pastors!) ignore it altogether. But at its core, Revelation is a book of hope that’s extremely relevant to our lives today because it lays out in detail what the future holds . . .

Dr. Horn is rightRevelation is a book of hope, not fear — following is a reprint of an essay I wrote over twenty-four years ago:

1 Peter 3:25 – “Sanctify Yeshua as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope [G1680] that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

The word translated in English as hope is the Greek work elpis [ἐλπίς G1680] which comes from the root word elpizō [ἐλπίζω G1679]. Both mean to anticipate, usually with pleasure or confidence, an expected outcome. In other words, hope is the anticipation of a favorable conclusion under Elohim’s guidance and the confidence that what Yahweh has done for us in the past guarantees what Yahweh will do in the future.

A Bedtime Story
Many consider the Book of Revelation to be a book of absolute terror. But, in many ways, Revelation reads like a bedtime story told by a loving father to his child. There are the bad guys and the Good Guy; troubles and frightful beasts, peace and glorious visions. There is destruction of all that is evil, and the coming of the beautiful, new city. No matter how bad it sounds at first, Yahweh wins the final battle, and all is made right and good; hope is fulfilled.

A Blessing Story
Revelation 1:3 – “Blessed is the one who reads the words of Yeshua’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen.”

Right from the first few verses, Revelation begins, saying both those who read and hear the message are blessed, and then it reminds us that Yeshua, who was, is, and is to come, is coming again. “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” we are told (1:7).   Right from the very first verses, our hope begins to climb, to soar. And Revelation’s last verse confirms this, saying “Yeshua, the one who testifies to these things says: ‘Surely I am coming soon’.” (22:20). Our hope begins to soar.

The Soaring Hope
Next, through John, our guide, we see a glorious vision of one like the Son of Man, and are told not to be afraid, for we are standing in Yeshua’s midst. And Yeshua has the “keys of Death and of Hades” (1:16). Our hope soars even higher. If these keys are in the hands of Yeshua, then neither Death nor Hades has any power over us, being in themselves subject to the one who has control over us. We next hear the pronouncements concerning the seven churches. While at first glance these seem judgmental, our hope continues to soar, for in each case endurance or repentance brings us surely to Yeshua’s side; “He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (3:21). Our hope reaches even higher heights than before.

As chapter five begins, our hope appears to leave us, and we begin “to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it” (5:4). But our hope is not gone for long; the Lamb goes and takes the scroll from the right hand of the one who is seated on the throne, and all surrounding the throne break forth in worship and praise. A brief interlude of terror strikes our hearts again as each of the seven seals is broken, but quickly disappears as we see the 144,000, and then the great multitude that no one could count, gathered in praise of Yeshua before the last seal is broken. Our hope again soars even higher than before.

As Chapter eight comes to a close, again, another interlude of devastation and terror is shown, depicted by the vision of the seven trumpets, and a dampening of our spirits and hope begins to take place, as evil seems to be getting the upper hand. The beast “that comes up from the bottomless pit” (11:7) makes war on our two heroes, the two witnesses, and kills them, letting their dead bodies lie in the street to rot. But, lo, we are taken to the temple, and after three and a half days, the two olive trees and the two lampstands come back to life! As they ascend into heaven in a cloud, our hope soars with them. Even in heaven, though, it seems that there is war and destruction, for Michael and his angels are fighting against the dragon (Satan) and his angels. But in short order the dragon and his minions are defeated, and the announcement is made, AThe salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Yeshua have come@ (12:10). We then see the dragon and his beasts futile attempts to overcome those on the earth, but we also see the 144,000 and the hosts of heaven arrayed for battle, including the one who has “a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand!” (14:14). The Day of the Lord is nigh, Hallelujah! Vindication at last is coming. Our hope again soars even higher than before.

As Chapter sixteen begins we see terror once again striking the earth, this time in a vision of seven bowls of wrath. By now, however, we begin to sense that these visions, too, will be temporary, and our hope continues to soar, expecting the outcome Yahweh has promised throughout all of scripture. Quickly, then, the seven bowls are emptied. By now, we are sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting for the story to be concluded. Two chapters fly by, then a third. The fourth chapter, nineteen, arrives, and sure enough, the angel calls out in a loud voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon, the great!” (18:1). The next chapter begins, and we hear “the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah’!” (19:1), and again, ‘Hallelujah’ (19:3, 4, and 6). Then heaven opens, a white horse appears with its rider, called Faithful and True, and all the armies of heaven follow, also on white horses (19:11-14). Satan is bound and thrown into the bottomless pit. For the next one-thousand years, earth has peace until Satan is once again let out, only to be judged and thrown into the lake of fire (20:10). Our hope again soars even higher than before.

Chapter twenty-one begins with the vision of the new heaven and the new earth, and it is here and in the following chapter that what began in Genesis comes full circle and all of Elohim’s promises are seen being fulfilled. We see in these chapters that our hopes and dreams for full restitution are given full expression, the anticipation of a favorable outcome under Yahweh’s guidance has been guaranteed and completed. Satan, all evil people, Death, and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire (20:10-14), the new heaven and earth appear (21:1), and Yahweh resumes his walk with his people: “See, the home of Yahweh is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and Yahweh himself will be with them” (21:3). Death is gone forever, as are tears, mourning, crying, and pain; all have passed away (21:4). The sun, too, is gone, no longer needed for light, “for the glory of Yahweh is its light, and its lamp is Yeshua, the Lamb” (21:23), and no sin will enter into the new kingdom (21:27). Those who belong to Yeshua will see Yahweh’s face and will have his name on their foreheads (22:4). They will eat of the tree of life (22:14), and will drink freely of the water of life (22:17). Our hope soars to its highest point, much higher than before.

Our message of Hope, Revelation, has been told. The Bad Guys have lost and the Good Guy has won. Yahweh, in Yeshua, has won the final battle, and all has been made right and good; hope has been fulfilled. Our anticipation of the favorable outcome under Yahweh’s guidance, coupled to our visions of the final scenes of Revelation give us confidence that guarantees our participation in what Yahweh will do in the future. Our hope soars to its highest point, yet; Yahweh has won, we have seen the outcome, we can endure anything the world, Satan, or evil puts in our path.

Our hope is not in what we can accomplish, but in what Yahweh has already accomplished through Yeshua. The Bad Guys have lost, the Good Guy has won, and Yeshua has been revealed. Oh, thank Yahweh/Yeshua/Ruach Ha’Kodesh. Our hope is that we, too, are one of the multitude who praises Yeshua in heaven! Now I lay me down to sleep, my hope to waken at Yeshua’s call, the angel’s voice, and to hear the trump of Yahweh as he raptures me home.