In my car this morning, I listened to a great preacher. Many people reading would know the name if I brought it up. Out of respect to him, I will not tell you who it was, because the ministry he has is magnificent and God has used him greatly. However, this is one of hundreds of messages that I have heard from hundreds of different voices about end times. I have heard it so many times that I could preach it, minus their stories of course. I know the system. I know the plot. I know the point. Too bad it is not in the Bible.
I want to be very clear about this. Anything you hear from a pulpit, in a book, from a friend, on the street corner, etc; about Revelation or end times that is not grounded in the context of the time it was written, is garbage. I don’t care what seminary teaches it, what church says it, or especially in our day, which preacher pushes it.
Did you know the brilliant reformer John Calvin wrote a commentary on much of the Bible, including every book in The New Testament, except Revelation? I don’t ascribe to everything Calvin, but we can’t deny his contribution to Christian thought. When asked, “Why didn’t you write a commentary about Revelation?” He simply said, “I don’t understand it.” So, why is it that any hack with a pair of scissors can cut and paste pictures out of USA Today and preach biblical specifics about the day we live in? If this is you, please stop. You are not helping.
Why do I bring this up? When we do theology wrong, it makes us look stupid. My burden for non-believing people close to me is we do not make it that easy for them to discredit our message and walk away.
95 to 99 percent of what is taught in regards to Revelation in our day starts in the wrong place. Anytime a teacher starts with a newspaper clipping and not with first century culture, you will not end in the right place because you started in the wrong place. Just because the market crashed or this world leader is in the news doesn’t give you the right to embarrass Jesus! If you are not sure, do not say it. Don’t read books about astrology, stars, moons and plasma. Where is Jesus in that?
Think about it. If someone gave you directions somewhere but you read them from the wrong location, you wouldn’t make it. The same is true with theology. So, anything that you hear about China, Russia, airplanes and world leaders living today, what ever is said after is wrong because it started in the wrong place. We wouldn’t read any other book this way, so why this one?
So what should you do? Start reading Revelation from the beginning with a study bible. Read about 1st century emperors. Read about the persecution of the Christians of that day, and read the book in the context of all three of its genres. Revelation is written in the style of first century Epistle, Apocalyptic and Prophetic literature. When you understand these writing styles you begin to understand what I am talking about. God used the Apostle John to communicate to some churches who were asking a question; “Why is the Pagan being blessed, and why is my family who is faithful to Jesus suffering?” So these facts are the starting point.
The message of the book is; Jesus conquered through sacrifice; therefore, go and do likewise. It is sad that so many have ascribed to a system that is not Biblical truth. Revelation is a very relevant book that has been misused. The church needs good teachers to rise up and teach truth so that we can understand how Jesus wants us to live when the pressure is on. So for you or a friend who is doing this, stop making us look so weird. If someone is not sure what Revelation says they shouldn’t share it. Honest conclusions come from looking at the context honestly. Go pass it on so the real message of Revelation can begin to be heard.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and ask questions. I am sure there could be many.
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