The Study of the Apocalypse. WOW. Actually, its a commentary of the Book of Revelations. The Book of Revelations, otherwise known as The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
I never used to worry myself too much about this book, as its symbolism and somewhat sci-fi appearance baffled me. I figured whatever it said, it was going to happen whether I read it or not, and that what it contained, really didn't change how I lived here and now, as it was mostly about things that would happen long after I was gone and accountibility was set in stone.
The only thing that ever really bothered me was that it said there was a special blessing to those who read it. Revelations Chapter One verse 3: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Well, there it is, already the third verse in.
Recently I had an hour or two with a really special friend and I began my discourse about what I was reading. She said to me, "I will be just happy making it through the gate."" Well, if friend, you are reading this, you know who you are, and I mean no harm in not quoting you verbatim. This has been the reaction to most of my colleagues and family when I try to discuss anything beyond the ABC's of what it means to be a christian. And, actually, for a very long time, I was quite content that I had all my ducks in a row, and I would be ready for whatever prophecy decided to fulfill itself on my watch.
Recently, however, I feel I need more. I need feet on my statue of what I believe, because it is walking about, and sometimes stands in the way of other's paths. I have this visual, because somewhere in scripture it says, "after you have done all, STAND." Actually, its Ephesians 6:13, ..."take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to Stand..." and actually, you should look this up and read until verse 18.
Well, its the " having done all" that I consider the feet part. Lately, I have been learning that I have been standing with a fist, and not necessarily have done all. The done all is in the verses 14-18. I want to discuss some things in this wonderful commentary (now out of print).
My recent defenses of Eugene Peterson, Rob Bell and Glenn Beck have made me dig deeper into what I believe. This de-bunking without personal investigation just makes me crazy. How do YOU know that what you have been taught all your life, is really TRUTH?
I see people, myself included, who will knock themselves out in time and money and energy and brain power for things that will not matter in the long run, but are "happy just to get into the gate". REALLY? But we have ourselves convinced that we are sold out. REALLY? Go ahead, ask God what He thinks about your "sold out" assumption of yourself. It's not very good, I'd be willing to bet.
I had a friend tell me that I hate God. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That was proposterous. I had a pretty high opinion of where I stood with the God-thing. Smugly, as I was discussing it with Him, something like: "Can you believe she said that? I don't hate You, do I......" (not even a question)......but listening.......yes, I do that from time to time......listening......I heard in my spirit, "I am not gonna baby you."
Well, that reeled me about. "Seriously? Seriously. " He drew out the two-edged sword, rightly dividing .....the Truth. I cannot tell you how shocked I was at my deceitful heart, "who can know it?"
Thus, my new understanding of my clenched fist. I know it all already. I got Truth. As soon as someone challenges what I say/believe/act, I put my fingers in my ears. NOOOOOOO. Don't do it. That's what the Pharisees did. They told Jesus how it was, and they didn't even recognize Him when He stood in front of them.......
Seriously? Seriously. You do not know yourself. I clothed myself in righteousness. It happens when you grow up "knowing the Truth". I say, I get Rob Bell. I get him saying, "I knew/know it all", and I am finding out, I need to make it my own. I cannot play "dress up Church", you might be the one who shows up at the Wedding dressed wrong....
I will end this post with this quote from The Patmos Visions:
Christ stands ready to supply these things of priceless worth to all who are willing to "buy". He is saying, as in Isaiah 55:1, "Come ye, and he that hath no money; come ye,....buy without money, and without price". Yet the word "buy" is used advisedly, for we are to "buy the truth;...also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23).
Every bit of God's truth that is really ours, every bit of heavenly wisdom, instruction, and understanding that is ours, has cost us something; and if we are not willing to make some sacrifice of time, inclination, effort, to forego some indulgence, or some opportunity for earthyly gain or enjoyment, in order to enrich ourselves with heavenly treasure, then we have not yet learned the difference in value between tinsel and gold, between colored beads of glass and gems of the deepest mine.
I hope I just made your thirsty.