by Pastor Keith Knight
Revelation is a hard book. It’s even harder to explain it to our kids, because the way it’s often portrayed is in a ‘Storybook’ way. We have arrived at a point in human history when tons of stories are told through multiple media – books, graphic novels, television shows, movies, etc. Our kids are inundated with the narrative that the Bible is one of many ‘interpretations’ of what is ‘possible’ within the revealed world, but that it must be presented as it is – a story.
This is truly unfortunate as, even within church culture, our kids are being conditioned to see the Biblical narrative as a story more than a HISTORY of the God of the universe, the plight of sinful man, and the miraculous and unthinkable rescue of sinful humanity through the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of God Himself.
Because our culture has become so reliant on movies, TV shows, and musicals to show us who Jesus is (good grief), our kids are being subconsciously imprinted into seeing Scripture as fairy tale, and scientific and sociological experience as fact. As followers of Christ, Christian families MUST hold the line on the inspiration, inerrancy, and sufficiency of the FULL COUNSEL of Scripture, apocalyptic literature included.
So…how in the world are we supposed to do that?
- Keep it propositional over pictorial. – I know, I know, our kids LOVE entertainment, and I get that there have been some really great videos, shows, and pictures that help our kids see the events of Scripture happening. But, before we get all geeked up about the next Jesus movie, let’s remember that we aren’t simply trying to tell a story – we have THE TRUTH. And truth must be stated propositionally, which means we don’t show our kids movies to make them feel good about God, but we emphasize that God communicated to us through His Word, which is sufficient to tell us everything we must know – without any pictures included.
- Keep it illuminated over inspirational.– The key here is your understanding of the word “inspirational”. The context for this word is not how certain Bible verses make you feel, but understanding that every Bible verse was breathed out by God, which is a very important distinction. When we discuss Scripture with our kids, we need to be students of God’s Word, helping them understand that God didn’t communicate all of His truth in the exact same format. Whether He was using poetry, letters or historical accounts, all of God’s communication to us is illuminated to us through the Holy Spirit, whom Christ declared would take the things of God and bring them to remembrance in the believer. How I feel about a passage of Scripture is somewhat important, but not at the cost of understanding what the passage is actually communicating.
- Example:When we are discussing the book of Revelation with your kids, we can’t get lost in the wonderful imagery at the cost of the narrative that is taking place. – God is describing that everything wrong will be made right. He promises that Christ will actually return, and He encourages His people to endure everything to come with joy because He is reigning!
DON’T shy away from having hard conversations with your kids, especially as we go through Revelation. Emphasize that in every passage, God is communicating important truth about the problem of sin, and about the remedy that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers for that problem.
Revelation isn’t just a fantastic ‘Lord of the Rings’ type story with wonderful visuals and cliffhangers. It is part of the Powerful and Living Word of God, able to make our children wise unto salvation, and to grow them unto maturity in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s move past just presenting it as a series of nice stories, and to declaring it as the only way of understanding anything about the lives we experience here. We don’t have to have a blockbuster movie to incite wonder – the God who created all things has spoken, and is now speaking – He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says.