We all talk about it. We love to research it. We dread the though of it. We try and sing along to REM’s rendition of Armageddon, but if you’re like me, fail miserably. It’s a hot topic of our time…and of every time.
In a world gone mad in trying to figure out the when’s, the why’s, and the how’s The Revelation of John often gets pushed front and center for “sneak peeks” and “end-times prophecy junkies” to debate, debunk, and diffuse. As a preacher, The Revelation was probably the least likely book in Scripture that I would preach from. I say was.
Thanks to Bob Hostetler and his new book “How to Survive the End of the World” I have seen Revelation for what it is: a blessing and an encouragement. I’ve sat through eschatology (study of the end time) classes in college. I’ve dissected and exegeted every passage of the book. I have been guilty of neglecting it under the guise of “it’s too hard to get.” No longer.
Bob’s book makes The Revelation what I call “the Accessible Apocalypse.” What I mean is this: He, unlike so many preachers, teachers, and authors doesn’t get lost in the “what does it mean” game of symbolism. He’s doesn’t spend time talking about the Locusts being representative of helicopters, or Gog and Magog being Iran and Russia. He doesn’t lose you in the popular “Left Behind” sensationalism or get bound up in preterism, pre-trib, post-trib, amillenialsim, etc. He doesn’t try and interpret the whole book as a prophecy. And that is why this book is so refreshing!
My bookshelf is full of commentaries and theories of the meaning of The Book of Revelation…however…none of them are even remotely helpful or down-to-earth understandable. I’m not interested in what someone thinks it means. I want to know what God is saying to His Church today and now. Hostetler brilliantly brings that to life. I love the style he uses as well. He takes a chunk of the particular chapter of The Revelation that he’s working through, digs in historically and culturally (though not in a boring history channel way) and brings some fresh insight that is by no means “new,” but that reminds us what the heart of the book is all about: worship and joy through Jesus Christ. After the text and background are stated this book leaves you with very pointed questions and applications for you life in Christ in the here and now. It’s so applicable, so accessible, so incredible and you’d be silly to not pick this one up.
The author, Bob Hostetler, is really likable! He’s the kind of guy I want to have coffee with and pick his brain (and since we live in the same area of the same state I might just do that) and pray with. His use of real-life experiences and pop-culture illustrations drew me in and left me so overjoyed that I, like the Apostle John, fell down in worship a couple of times because I had gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of Revelation theory, and was brought back to Revelation FACT. I applaud Hostetler on this book and will recommend and pass it on to as many people as possible. This is easily the best book I’ve ever read on Revelation, and one of the best books I’ve ever read all my life.
There was one thing I didn’t like about it, however. It’s not a big thing, but if I didn’t have a negative someone might think I was paid off. I didn’t like how early on in the first few chapters the author kept referencing to a page in the back called “A Prayer of Surrender and Commitment.” Since I’m not a fan of the “Sinner’s Prayer” it kind of throws me off a bit, but it does NOT detract from the book at all.
If you want to be encouraged, if you want to grow in your relationship with God, if you want to be drawn in to heaven’s multitude of worshiping saints and angels and then moved to get as many to the Supper of the Lamb as possible, than How to Survive the End of the World by Bob Hostetler should be next in your reading queue.
It will leave you saying, as John says at the end of the Revelation, “Come, Lord Jesus!”