I’ve spent about half my life working in Children’s Ministry, so I know the drill:
- Noah's Ark
- Baby Moses in the river
- David and Goliath
- Queen Esther
- Daniel in the lions' den
- The Birth of Jesus
- Five loaves and two fish
- Jesus' death and resurrection
Does this list sound familiar?
But in all my years teaching Sunday School, I have seen very few lessons on the book of Revelation and the end times.
I kind of get it, though. Revelation can be confusing and downright terrifying. Streets flowing with blood. Boils and 100-pound hailstones. People seeking death to escape God’s judgment but not able to die. Faithful Christians being martyred for refusing to worship the beast. These images are hard to put up on a flannel board.
In our world’s current climate, I believe it’s more important than ever to make sure we include the book of Revelation in our children’s learning.
It sure looks like the end is coming soon. According to a study done in April by Lifeway Research, almost 9 in 10 pastors see at least some current events matching those Jesus said would occur shortly before he returns to Earth.
If you’re nervous about traumatizing your children with future events that they may not understand, be encouraged. There are several good reasons to educate them in Revelation:
1. Teaching children the Bible in its entirety helps them respect its authority, including the difficult and (dare I say) boring parts. God didn’t give us His Word so we could pick and choose what we like.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).
2. The book of Revelation contains a special blessing. Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7).
I don’t know about you, but I want the blessing of Jesus for my kids. How can they keep the words of the prophecy unless they study the book?
3. Can we just stop a moment and appreciate the fact that God has revealed the end of the story to us? My oldest son likes to read the end of a novel first. When I asked him why he does that, he said, “It’s easier to make sense of the middle parts.”
When you know how the book is going to end, it makes the intermediate events easier to deal with. Think about it. Doesn’t it seem fair to say to your kids, “Things on Earth are going to get pretty crazy. Some things will be scary, but you don’t have to worry. Look, God already knows it’s going to happen and He has a special prize for you when you stay faithful to Him”?
They won’t be surprised when these events unfold; they’ll be prepared. And we all know that we make much better decisions when we are prepared than we do when we’re caught off guard. I don’t want my kids to be caught off guard.
4. The end of Revelation gives us a beautiful glimpse into heaven. What a reward to look forward to! When we were having a dinner discussion about how current events are bringing us closer to the end times, my middle son said, “Now I’m getting scared.” We were able to encourage him by reminding him what awaits us in heaven:
God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 20:3b-4).
We were able to get him to focus on the prize ahead rather than the challenges along the way. I’m excited about heaven, and I want my kids to be excited, too!
This may be a good time to note that if your child gets really upset, it’s okay to dial the discussion back. After addressing my son’s concerns, we turned the discussion to something lighter. You know your child’s limits, and it’s ok to address this big topic in small chunks.
5. Perhaps most importantly,learning about the end times gives us a sense of urgency to share the Gospel. Should people go to hell while we are looking forward to heaven? Talk with your kids about ways they can share God’s Good News with others. Maybe you could invite a friend over, or draw a picture for your neighbor, or sponsor a child and write them an encouraging letter.
My kids especially love writing to our sponsored children in El Salvador and sharing the Gospel and their favorite Bible verses with them.
If you need help, the internet can help you find kid-friendly books and videos on the end times. My kids have enjoyed both the Superbook series as well as Phil Vischer’s What’s in the Bible? series. I encourage you to take the time and give your kids an understanding of this incredibly important and powerful book. The world isn’t going to get any easier, and our next generation is going to need every weapon that they can get.
Kelsey Terschak is a content creator and child advocate at Compassion International who is passionate about using her voice to help others. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband and cat. You can connect with her on Instagram at @kelseyterschak.