Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Before We Proceed: Revelation and the "When."

In Revelation 1:1, John tells us that the events of Revelation must "shortly come to pass;" in the third verse, he says, "The season [for all these things] is near."
Many people have accused the book of Revelation (and the Bible) of a false statement. "It's been nearly 2,000 years since the Crucifixion," they say, "and nothing's happened."
These are often the same people who believe that the earth is 4 billion years old.  By any measure, if we consider the fact that man has been around for a million or more years (or even 100,000 years), the events in Revelation would be happening "soon" if they were to happen 1,000 years from now.
However, that's not really John's point, nor was it Jesus' meaning in the three Gospels when He spoke of the days that are coming.  John's point is that we need to be ready for the events he will describe later.
Just as Jesus said, "What I say to you [the Twelve Apostles], I say to all: WATCH!" which means, "be ready."
When these events occur, they will come as a surprise to many. Those who are surprised by them run the risk of disaster for themselves.
The message all of us need to take from the beginning words of the Book of Revelation is that the events catalogued in the book ARE coming.  We must watch and be ready for them, and be strong.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Revelation--The "Who."

The book of Revelation, of course, is about Jesus Christ.  The writer (John the Apostle, who also wrote John's Gospel and the letters of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John) tells us he is more or less an amanuensis--someone who primarily takes dictation.
He does, however, introduce himself, and the introduction gives us a few things to consider for ourselves:
John tells us that God gave the revelation to His Son Jesus, who in turn gave it to John to publish through the guidance of an angel (Rev. 1:1); John also tells us that he "saw" the book unfold.  This is a reference to the fact that almost the entire book is a vision, sort of like "God's television," except this one was interactive.

For those who see visions and dream dreams in the manner of Joel 2:28-32, this is one of the most extensive visions in the Bible. It's the story of the future. Some theologians are fond of looking at prophecies that contain these sorts of visions and either dismissing them, or calling them "apocalyptic literature," meaning that they contain all sorts of visions and dreams, as if "apocalyptic literature" was human imagination, or something different than God speaking to His servants as He chooses. God speaks as He wills, and here we have an extended vision of God's great plan for the world, the consummation of all.

We do well, when embarking on the study of a book like this, to dismiss our prejudices and presuppositions. The visions are real.  If you don't believe them, just wait. They will happen.

Here's an old man (95+, we think), who sees the future because the understanding is given to him. He communicates with The Son and with the angels. He writes this because God tells him to do so. The message is given him so that he can write it down for the churches he served on the West Coast of Asia Minor and for those of us who are the descendants of those early Christians.

The book of Revelation is the holiest of books.  It is the place where the true "end of all things" is revealed, where all evil in the world comes to a head like a giant boil, and where it is vanquished, and good rules forever.  The good is not angels playing harps in heaven, though. It's mankind in a new life that never ends, never suffers again, never grows old. It's all the hopes and dreams of the best of us coalesced into one final chapter that has no end, for although "the end of all things" is here, we find that it is instead the doorway into eternity--an eternity forever with God, an eternity of joy and peace, an eternity that makes us heirs of the stars, and even of God Himself.  The eternity God has planned for us, as we shall see, is not static.  It's not just us worshipping in an endless time of singing and praying.  It is, instead, the fulfillment of every hope and dream men and women have had since Eve held her first baby in her arms, since Moses received the Law, since Jesus Christ came to the earth the first time, since the first Christians followed Jesus as their Lord, and even now, as we dream of that "better place."
This marvelous book comes from the hand of God Himself, through His aged servant John, and I think, as John beheld the wonders which are written here, and the violence and evil raging hopelessly against the might of God and His plan, with its final outcome, he must have thought,