Editorial by Jerry Lutz
I have a friend who has a strange habit of reading the last chapter of books first. He says it’s because he wants to know if the book will be worth the investment of his time and energy to read the whole thing. He also deliberately reads book reviews that contain spoilers for the same reason. “Why would I spend all that time reading a book that has a disappointing ending?” he reasons. “And besides, if I know it ends well, I then will read it from cover to cover to discover why it ends well.” I guess there are some people who just don’t like surprises. Apparently, my friend is one of them. To each his own.
Speaking of endings, with all the dire predictions and theories floating about these days of how the world will end—whether by asteroid strike, climate change, solar flare, nuclear war (on purpose or by accident), disease, famine, plague, pestilence or something not yet thought of—SPOILER ALERT!—the Bible tells humankind how the end will come, under whose control it will end, and what comes after that (the sequel, if you will), and it is both soberingly terrible and unfathomably glorious! Indeed, one of the unique features of the Bible is how often the “end of the story” is repeated throughout its many books by a host of Holy Spiritinspired authors who lived under various circumstances and in different eras. There is no other book like it.
Not only does this unique feature affirm and reaffirm the inspiration of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, each generation of readers past, present and future is offered the assurance that, though the heavens fall and the earth is laid waste, the story really does end well, and even happily ever after—at least for those who personally know the Author as their Lord and Savior.
Now, whether the world ends well or not is really a matter of perspective, isn’t it? And certainly, knowing how or when the world ends is not nearly as important as knowing what becomes of us when it does. And here is where I believe the apostle John offers one of the best, most concise, hope-filled, how-it-ends “spoilers” in all of Scripture: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12, NIV).
So, where will you be when the world ends—not geographically or eschatologically, but spiritually? Does knowing how the story ends spark an interest in reading the Book from cover to cover to discover why it ends the way it does? I hope so. I promise it will be well worth the investment of your time and energy.
Jerry Lutz serves as president of the Chesapeake Conference.