By Kelly Legg
This month, we will explore and summarize the final two books of the Bible: Jude and Revelation.
The title of this little book takes its name from its author. Most scholars identify the writer as Jude the half-brother of Jesus. Jude did not place his faith in Jesus while the Lord was still alive. Only after the crucifixion and resurrection did the scales fall from Jude’s eyes and he become a follower of his half-brother, Jesus.
Jude was a man who lived in skepticism for a time but eventually came to a powerful faith in Jesus. The book of Jude is difficult to date, because the Bible and tradition reveal little about the personal details of its author while the book itself refrains from naming any particular individuals or places. There is some similarity between the books of Jude and 2 Peter, therefore, Jude probably wrote his epistle sometime between AD 67 and 80.
In his letter, Jude wanted to expose the false teachers that had infiltrated the Christian community and he wanted to encourage Christians to stand firm in the faith and fight for the truth. Jude recognized that false teachers often He saw within the church people that were rejecting authority and seeking to please themselves, so he worked to heighten the awareness of these false believers. Jude describes in detail how terrible dissenters actually were. But more than simply raising awareness, Jude thought it important that believers stand against those working against Jesus. Believers were to do this by remembering to stay true to the teachings of Jesus, building each other up in faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.
The Book of Revelation is strikingly different from the rest of the New Testament. It is populated by winged and wild creatures, locust plagues, and seven-headed beasts. Revelation is filled with obscure and fantastic symbolism and mystical references.
The author of this book is John, who wrote Revelation while a prisoner on the Island of Patmos, approximately 85-95 A.D. Its purpose is to give encouragement and hope for all Christians to continue watching for the return of Jesus. It also is to warn of the Final Judgment that nonbelievers will endure.
Unlike the other New Testament books, which tend to mix narrative with sermon-style preaching, Revelation is essentially a long, uninterrupted book filled with mystical and intricate symbols. Revelation has been read for thousands of years as a code that, properly interpreted, can reveal the secrets of history and the end of the world. The numbers and symbols in Revelation have been read into any number of traumatic events in ancient and modern history.
In Revelation, John describes the eternality of Hell, the final resting place of the unbelieving, the antichrist and the Lake of Fire. John describes Hell as an eternal place of conscious torment.
In the final chapters, John describes the New Heaven and the New Earth. In it is the holy city of the New Jerusalem. There will no longer be any crying or tears, pain, mourning, or death. Only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter this place to live eternally with Jesus Christ who sits on His throne.
The permanent significance of Revelation lies in the conviction that right will ultimately triumph over evil.
Thank you for you for the trip down Route 66.