Sunday, June 8, 2014

Never Too Revealing

As I opened my Bible study yesterday morning -- I've been working a bit in Revelation -- a nurse, or tech, or someone came into my room (I tend to lose track, the folks here are so wonderful and attentive). Nevertheless, I hastily shut my notes and laptop; Revelation can be a bit heavy and many folks tend to link it with the zombie apocalypse, the Mayan calendar (I think that's been debunked at this point), even some occultist influences, and certainly the "beyond belief.". Google "Revelation images, " and see what you get.

I've studied Revelation before, and sadly, I tend to forget what a wonderful, hopeful book of prophecy it is! I mean, what does Walt Disney make every year, worldwide? What about the movie or book industry in general? And why worldwide?  Because every human being, everywhere is looking to escape, adventure, and experience. Revelation is all about that -- but for real. Why would people pay good money to visit theme parks or take their family to a night at the movies, but not embrace the free good news of Revelation? If I may, let me just open your eyes to some of the wonders predicted in this book:

Chapter 4, verses 1-5a: "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder."
A door, standing open to heaven. A mere mortal shown what was to come -- "come up here." Rubies, emeralds, rainbows -- sound familiar, Dorothy? Crowns, and thunder -- I digress. But the wonders are just getting started:

Chapter 4, verses 6b-8: "In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings."
Pretty freaky, huh? But these are creatures of praise. We might be a little intimidated by them if we met them in a dark alley, but if J.K. Rowlings painted them into a tapestry of magic and myth, we'd eat it up. Why do we find the things we'd like to be true, so hard to accept?

I am going to fast forward through all of the punishment and condemnation, as it is my wish for you that you might open the Word of God, believe its truths, and never look at what will befall the wicked as something you need fear.

Let me take you, by way of Scripture, to "A New Heaven and a New Earth:"

Chapter 21, verses 1-5a: "Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death" or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'"
Newborns. A new bride on her much anticipated wedding day. The fresh smell of new wood and paint in a brand new home. That new car smell. New! Verse 6 goes on to say, "It is done!" No more tears, or worry, or struggles with depression, or poor health, or marital problems, or addiction. New. Done. Who wouldn't dream of a new beginning or the end of this world's ugliness or brutality? I think the tragedies we witness each day in the news are evidence of people trying desperately to cope with some of the difficulty of daily existence. I think everybody dreams of new. And, lastly:

Chapter 22, verses 1-5: "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."

A river of life, flowing, alive, and straight through the middle of the city. Fertilizing, anointing, permeating the soil that the tree of life bears fruit in all seasons -- ripe, delicious and perfect fruit. And the leaves are leaves of healing. Ever feel the cool gel of aloe on your back after a day in the sun? Refreshing and rejuvenating, healing and moisturizing. No curse. Servitude -- the giving of oneself in complete confidence and expectation of another who loves you so deeply He desires to reveal all of Himself to you. Face to face intimacy with the One Who loves you most, Who marks you with His very own seal of acceptance and kinship. No more night. Ever spent the first night alone in a small room in a big house, or a small tent in a big wood? Ever been so alone and worried about the next day, or the next week, or the rest of your new life on your own? Ever felt the sun go down, literally taking your happiness and piece of mind with it? No more night; the Lord God Himself is the light, and we will reign with Him forever!

No need to close the books on this one, and Chapter 22, verse 10 even says so:

"Then he told me, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.'"
Come, Lord Jesus, come.

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