Thursday, April 04, 2024

How The Book of Revelation Rocks My World- Pt 1

It was a random series of providential circumstances that created the opportunity or compulsion to teach the Book of Revelation this quarter in Sunday School. I did not choose to teach it, but there is no doubt that I was supposed to.

There are always a large number of excuses to justify my reluctance to teach this perplexing and mesmerizing book in the Bible. At the top of this most recent reluctance was how FAR removed I was from the original research I did that started in 2004. What I thought would be a few weeks turned into two years and  culminated with a manuscript on the material in early 2007 which then prompted me to in write a semester course for an elective Bible class in 2009. (This doesn't count seminary work in the early 1990's). After that, I took another two years in the Minor Prophets which fit perfectly into the earlier research.

When I was asked to teach the Book  once again this semester, it took me almost 2 weeks to find the old files and hard drive AND, as I was reading my old notes, I felt like I was reading the thoughts of someone else. In fact, I kind of missed that guy who was foolish enough to think he could solve a 2500 year old mystery.

I even found an old hard drive that I had been convinced was lost. That thing was as big as a bass boat (symbolic hyperbole)!  Then, in a strange mis-hap, I knocked the hard drive off of my desk and broke it!

 Fortunately our amazing IT guy at Briarwood found a way to copy the contents into a google drive and I now have it all in 'the cloud" which I laugh about because Jesus will be coming in the clouds and maybe sooner than we think!

I soon found the other problems I encounter when I immerse myself in this material.... strange thoughts, disturbing dreams, and a pre-disposition to conspiracy theories. I am a little bit helped in that I no longer watch much cable news.

It's funny because MY MISSION in teaching Revelation is to do my best to AVOID the phantasm of fortune telling and allow the Book to do what it does best: To bless the reader and hearer of the Book as it is read aloud by encouraging believers who are struggling to walk with Christ in a pagan dominated world, even those who are experiencing severe persecution.

When you teach the Book in light of what is already in the Old Testament, it can almost be a type of let down to students who sign up for the class with the expectation that I am going to tell them Christ's due date and point out the anti-Christ.

I also did some new research for this newest version of the class. When I wrote the original manuscript, there was not the plethora of podcasts and you tube videos on the topic. I purposely listened to and watched Bible teachers who hold opposite theological views from my conservative, reformed training and perspective.

Then the worst thing happened.... multiple dramatic and alarm triggering posts started showing up on social media about the solar eclipse coming on April 8 (this coming Monday). This is the exact moment where my class will be starting to read and discuss Revelation 6!

Under the title: Signed, Sealed and Delivered I have the following diagram....

So what is prompting me to post something now?

As I finished some class prep this week, I pondered a task... it went something like this.

I could come up with thousands of questions when I survey the verses in Revelation chapters 6-21.
I could explore hundreds of theories regarding that same section.

How many simple FACTS could I find?

So here is my list:
  • Jesus is worthy AND has authority to unleash the wrath of God on sin at the designated time. No one else does.
  • A motivation for the actions of Christ is the cry of those murdered as martyrs- a cry for justice.
  • A large number of people are going to be with Christ from every nation, all tribes, and languages.
  • There is ongoing conflict between the City of God and the City of Man.
  • The enemy of God is pictured in Revelation as an anti-trinity: False Father, False Son, and False Holy Spirit.
  • Revelation 6-21 has multiple signs, symbols, and visions with numerous allusions to the Old Testament.
  • The admonition for a believer in Christ is to continually repent and persevere in the faith regardless of circumstances.
  • Jesus will return one day as He promised and no one knows when.
  • Human nature is rebellious and stubborn, even in the face of eternal damnation.
  • Our calling is to be found faithful as we hasten and expect His return.
  • I have no clue what it all means. I am just going day to day on a need to know basis.
  • Because everyone missed the 1st coming of Jesus, my guess is that we don't have His 2nd coming correct either.

So, there is my list, I will keep working on it. And instead of avoiding Revelation in these times, I think we should be paying much closer attention to it as well as the call of Christ in the Olivet Discourse (see my previous post).

Closing quotes:

As I close, if you are reading this- Do you know what would happen to you if Jesus came today?

Salvation in Christ is a gift, a loving gift. It has great value because the sinless Son of God paid for it with His life. The Bible gives witness to the testimony that His blood can cover, wash away YOUR sin.

Your only hope to be with Christ forever is to trust Him. You cannot earn salvation, none of us can claim righteousness.

What an awesome promise! 

I don't care how sinful you think you are or how unworthy you have convinced yourself to be... Jesus loves you and stands ready to give you a new hope and a new life.

All you need to do is ask Him for help and start the process of what it means to live in the light of this wonderful news.

Fear and condemnation can be removed from you right now.

Find a Bible believing pastor or friend and ask them to help. Today is a new day!

Romans 6:21–23

 What benefit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? 

For the end of those things is death. 

 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 

 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 


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