God wrote Revelation because he wants us to know about that finale, and to respond to it (Revelation 1:3). He wants us to be aware of coming world events and to spot the signs leading up to the end times. He wants us to enjoy a sneak preview of our future home in heaven.

He also knew that in these last days, there would be a pandemic of confusion, ignorance, and uncertainty. Fear is currently outpacing faith among God’s people. In the church, confusion is clouding clarity. Ignorance is spreading faster than knowledge. And uncertainty is overshadowing confidence.

And yet, not once in Scripture are we ever told to fear the future. Quite the opposite, as repeatedly, God instructed his people to move forward into tomorrow with faith and courage (   Joshua 1:6-9; Matthew 24:3-4; 6:25-34; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:7). God intended for his Word to guard us against confusion, and to provide knowledge and clarity.

When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, they had become a church plagued by unsettling news from men posing as reliable teachers. Essentially, these teachers had convinced the Thessalonian believers that they had in their possession a letter from Paul indicating “the day of the Lord” had arrived. In other words, they claimed the rapture had already occurred and that the seven-year tribulation had begun. This information triggered at least two unpleasant concerns for the Thessalonian believers:

  1. God’s judgments were about to fall on the earth (and on them).
  2. They had missed their blessed hope (the rapture).

These counterfeit messengers buttressed their argument by stating they had also received a vision as well, confirming their apocalyptic assertions. The apostle wrote,

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).

Paul’s grave concern was that this first-century fake news would shake the Thessalonians’ composure and disturb their faith, which it did. So what did the apostle do? How did he respond to this troubling report? Under the Holy Spirit’s divine direction, he wrote them a letter from an actual apostle, not a pretend one. In it, he imparted to them unquestionable and precise truth.

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed” (verse 3).

Paul wisely set the record straight. He didn’t say, “Well, you know we all have our own views regarding the end times and the timing of the last-days events. But as long as we are united in the essentials of the faith, that’s all that really matters. Now, all of you should just get along and love each other.”

No. Unity was not Paul’s chief objective here—truth was. The unity he desired for them (and for us) was to be centered on God’s Word, not heretical hearsay nor rumor. He then said, “Do you not remember that while I was with you, I was telling you these things?” (verse 5). The verb tense here indicates he had told them about these prophecies concerning the last days more than a few times. This tells us that part of Paul’s core church-planting curriculum involved clear teaching about eschatology (the study of the end times). He wanted these believers to be informed on this important issue—one that today is often ignored, misunderstood, misrepresented, and miscommunicated to Christians.

Scripture always uses knowledge and understanding to combat ignorance concerning the last days—both of which are abundantly found in Bible prophecy. Often, when emphasizing the importance of studying and learning the Bible, someone will immediately counter with “We have to be careful not to learn too much, because as Paul warned, ‘knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies’” (1 Corinthians 8:1). These well-intentioned believers unknowingly undercut their own faith and spiritual growth with such statements, swinging the pendulum toward an anti-intellectual version of Christianity where our only virtue is “love.” What they miss is the fact that God’s truth actually transforms us by “the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12:2). We don’t show love to people by ignoring or minimizing the truth. We love them by telling them the truth. Obviously, Paul was not teaching that we shouldn’t pursue knowledge of Scripture. There are far too many commands and examples of such a godly pursuit elsewhere (Deuteronomy 11:18-23; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:11-12, 15, 23-24, 26, 33, 40, 52, 71, 93, 97-99, 100, 113, 124, 135, 152, 160, 171; Proverbs 3:1-2; 4:6-7; John 5:39; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:15, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:16; Revelation 1:3).

Instead, Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 8:1 is that knowledge alone, devoid from love, only inflates one’s ego. But nowhere is ignorance of Scripture exalted as a virtue to be sought after. God gives us his truth that we might know it, believe it, be convinced of it, be transformed by it, meditate on it, live by it, see the world through it, and communicate it to others.

An old adage states, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Similarly, in an age where ignorance, deception, and lies dominate the spiritual landscape, God’s truth shines as a beacon of light in a dark night. Paul reminds us that it is the ignorance of truth, along with worldly thinking, that poses a real danger to our spirituality (1 Timothy 6:3-5). And the person who rejects the truth of God is “conceited and understands nothing” (verse 4). But not so for the biblically informed believer, as David declares:

I have more insight than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed your precepts (Psalm 119:99-10).

So, the ultimate antidote to ignorance is truth—God’s truth.

This revelatory knowledge given to us by God also drives out uncertainty and doubt, replacing it with genuine confidence. The prevailing spirit of our day seeks to suppress confident knowledge, especially as it relates to objective truth. Today, for a Christian to assert that God’s Word is inerrant and infallible (2 Timothy 3:16-17), or that Jesus is the only way to heaven (   John 14:6), is viewed as narrow and arrogant.

Narrow? Yes. But arrogant? No.

This is ironic, for we all expect this same kind of narrowmindedness in so many other areas of life. For example:

  • We want our surgeon to be precise and not flippant or vague.
  • We want our pharmacist to be accurate and not unsure.
  • We want our pilot to be confident and not nervous.
  • We want our electrician to be certain and exact, not ignorant, undecided, or sketchy.

This is even more critically important when it comes to theology, truth, morality, and reality. It is here where we need precision. And that’s exactly what Scripture provides for us. The knowledge and clarity found in God’s revelation infuses us with the very confidence we need to face our world and to forge ahead by faith.

Yes, God wants us to know.

Consistent with that desire, the book of Revelation is a climactic book of knowledge, not confusion. It is not an enigmatic, apocalyptic code only to be broken by a select few experts, but rather, a book of enlightenment to be read, heard, understood, and obeyed by everyone who traverses its pages (Revelation 1:3).

Like Genesis, in its very first verse, we discover Revelation to also be a book about God. It is “the Revelation of [from, about] Jesus Christ.” It comes through an angel, to John, and for his bond-servants (the church). And what will the book also cover? “The things which must soon take place” (1:1). Revelation is the only book in the Bible that comes with a certain kind of promised blessing for a certain group of believers—namely, those who “read, hear, and heed the words of the prophecy” (verse 3). And why is this so important? Verse 3 concludes, “For the time is near.”


Excerpted from Jeff Kinley’s book, God’s Grand Finale: Wrath, Grace, and Glory in Earth’s Last Days (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2023) pg 14-18.