I was drawing up a list today of the most important passages in the Bible, and wondering whether anything from Revelation should be included.
My first reaction was, no, because the outcome of the End Times is so unsurprising. Indeed, when you think about it, the outcome of Revelation, while vivid and important, is as predictable as the outcome of a Hallmark movie.
Consider: Nobody can really be surprised when boy and girl finally fall into each other’s arms at the end of a Hallmark movie. Nobody says, “What!? They’ve fallen in love and are going to live happily ever after? But they seemed not even to like each other at the beginning! And then they had just broken up 15 minutes ago! How can this be?!” Likewise, it seems unlikely that anyone’s reaction to Revelation would be: “What?! God wins? Jesus rules? Satan and his minions and all the bad people are getting thrown into a fiery lake? And the good people are going to live happily ever after? Whoa — I did not see that coming!!” I mean, of course this will be the final outcome.
But on reflection I think that’s wrong. We are more like a movie’s characters than we are like mere members of an audience. That is, as someone who is just reading the Bible you may not be surprised at its ending, just as someone who is just watching a Hallmark movie is not surprised at its end. But we humans are, first and foremost, not readers but participants in the ultimate reality show. In that show, sometimes it appears that God may not be in control and that the bad guys have the upper hand.
So we need the reassurance that Revelation provides, of God telling us in Scripture that it’s all going to work out just fine. That’s why Revelation is important.