Revelation - the Most Misunderstood Book of the Bible.
The Lost Art of Discussion
Where is the Love in Your Doctrine?
Sadly, Christians in this land are well known for shooting their wounded; those who have succumbed to the desires and lusts of the flesh. They are branded, shunned and become great topics of gossip. John 13:34 "A new commandment I give you, that YOU love one another; as I have loved you...". Remember, the world will know you as a follower of Christ by how you love other believers; whether their doctrines match yours exactly or not.
The two reasons I have a Facebook page are: 1) to notify people of my recent blog posts; and 2) to read and to listen to what Christians, real or imagined, are saying about world affairs and their take on their favorite pet peeves concerning other Christians' doctrinal positions. Tis sad what I have seen, not as a whole but far too prevalent. Such as:
- Calling another's beliefs from the pit of hell.
- The doctrine of the rapture being for weak Christians; becoming a crutch or a form of escapism.
- The security of the believer being a license to sin.
- A Christian who sins is not a true believer but a heretic.
- Anyone who does not observe all of the Old Testament ordinances (not Laws) is practicing blasphemy.
- Out and out name calling; liar, devil worshiper, doomed to hell, etc.
The tone of their posts is that of one with a megaphone, which is for those who want to be heard but have an aversion to listening. It is sooooo easy to yell at someone who cannot yell back and all with a complete lack of knowledge of from where they are coming or have come. Are they a babe in Christ, a recent conversion from an occultist background or whatever? The one who yells will never know, for they have lost their chance to really be heard or have a positive affect upon another's life....forever. You maybe right in your doctrinal stand but all you will have to show for your works is wood, hay or stubble when your turn to be judged comes around. I have learned this lesson the hard way and in my 50 years as a Christian, I have seen this played out far too many times.
A wise pastor, once upon a time, gave me some great advice when I was dealing with what I considered an aberrant doctrine being espoused by another pastor. I was told to try to prove him correct by diligently studying the scriptures he used to support his doctrine. It was a perfect win/win answer: if I proved him to be correct, then I would have gained a deeper knowledge of the Word and changed my position. Whereas if I proved it still to be wrong, my knowledge will still have grown and my defense of my position made more sure. That was over 30 years ago and over those years I have made many a good friend with those whose doctrines differ greatly from mine.
Another anecdote; recently concerning one of my blogs on the war of evolution versus Christianity, I received a railing accusation from a confirmed non-believer for being one that blindly and stupidly followed church dogma. My gut reaction was to say "Oh Yah!", the great Tom Smothers line when being corrected, but I gave great thought to him being a lost soul and gave him nearly a thousand word reply. His return reply made all of it worthwhile; he still believed in evolution but thanked me for my kind reply. My late father-in-law was a well educated spiritualist and we had a chance one day to sit down for a couple of hours to discuss evolution versus creation. Two years later upon his deathbed he received Christ as Lord and Savior. He let me know that he had been constantly troubled by my kind demeanor and straight forward answers. He lived another 5 days and in that time he demonstrated to my family that he was a new creation in Christ and will be waiting for me when it becomes my time to go home.
An Ancient Greek Letter Scroll
How Shall We Then Live?
When Almighty God gave us the Book of Revelation, He gave us a three-fold message:
- To show His Son's Bride, the Church, the terribleness of His wrath in the coming judgment upon mankind; to encourage us to live a godly life, as did Noah, in the face of the onslaught of grievous wickedness as we see in our world today.
- To be a Hope and a guide to the redeemed Israel and those who shall come to Christ and face martyrdom during the 70th week.
- To bless all those who read and hear and keep, take to heart, the words of this prophecy.
Many have read Revelation, have heard it preached and taught, but it is the third ingredient, the keeping, that is the biggest problem for most. The word keep - Greek tereo5083 - to guard, hold fast, serve, watch, has the idea of keeping your eyes fixed, to maintain custody of - cherish the prophecy as if someone's life depended upon it. In a world speeding toward judgment, there are countless lives that do depend on you and I keeping, taking this to heart in how we now live. 2 Peter 3:11-12 "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye (you and I) to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God …".
Note: I love my King James bible but revelation 1:1 "..things which must shortly come to pass;.." is a translation problem in today's English which has caused many Christians to believe that the words of Revelation are an allegory and the events are historical. The literal translation of the Greek is "..things which must occur with speed..". The idea is that when it comes, it will be too late to prepare. Now is the acceptable time
We must begin today, for tomorrow may be too late for either you or I, to bring Hope to those who are perishing. If it is not with love for the brethren or the lost, it is best if we keep it to ourselves! Do not be deceived, if you or I will not perform what He has commanded, God shall raise up another who will be obedient and they will receive the eternal blessing, for He shall redeem all whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Remember, Ephesus' only problem before God was they had lost their first love; they did not repent and their light was removed. Let us not have our light removed.
Sound Bites Will Not Suffice.
A Note to Those Who Seek!
There is an ocean of very bad doctrine out there; we must be Bereans and carefully weigh every doctrine we come across against the Word of God. Revelation does not bring us new doctrines but brings the doctrines of the whole of Scripture into the Light of the glorified King Jesus. Revelation brings power and meaning to so many prophecies and doctrines, strengthens the principles of our faith and brings an urgency to the believer; for we have such a short time and so much to do.
In the coming weeks, God willing, I will endeavor to present many of the scriptural doctrines broached in Revelation along with Old Testament passages and examples that are the basis for what I believe the Word teaches concerning the last days. The following is a small sample of the doctrines and types I will cover in future "In Defense of.." posts:
- The Rapture
- The Security of the Believer
- The 70th Week & the Millennium
- Salvation by His Faith Alone
- The Sovereignty of God
- The Trinity