23 February 2010

Revelation: Explanation

Why? What's the point? Where’s the justification for this study? Why do we need to peel back the layers of Revelation if people hardly talk about it and rarely preach on the subject? Isn’t it a bit far removed from our reality? I think not. I think our perspective and our vision of “reality” is skewed and a study on Revelation may be key to realigning ourselves to the right perspective and true reality.

If everything in the Bible previous to the Book of Revelation is the past—though certainly not dead, but the living, active, Word of God—and it relates to the present—application, accountability, explanation—then Revelation is the account of all things future—what is to come, what will be, what new things will happen or exist; we are living in the inbetween—the gap between the record of things past and the remaking of all things new. Arguably, Revelation could have been as large and extensive as the rest of the Bible, in and of itself, because of all that it reveals (but thankfully, God made it short enough for us to follow and simple enough for us to grasp His main points). It is packed with spiritual Truth. What’s interesting, is that unlike the rest of the Bible (Old and New Testaments), Revelation speaks of things that we cannot relate to, have not experienced, and cannot apply to our lives directly; it is completely different from any life experience we can fathom which makes it incredible and difficult at the same time.

So, if we can’t apply it directly or understand it immediately, what’s the point in studying it?

I believe that the difference is a shift in spiritual perspective—that realignment of our skewed perspective of “reality” and our place and purpose in it; in doing so we have a new and fuller “kingdom perspective,” a stronger, more confident faith, a better picture of the character of God, and a different set of questions.

Let’s look at this in the analogy of being in a battle vs. studying the outcome of a war.

Pick a historical war—any one will do. Imagine yourself fighting in it. When you are in the heat of battle, your questions are varied: What are we doing here? What are we fighting for? What’s the point? Who’s going to win this battle? Who’s going to win this war? Will I be on the victorious side? What will happen if I’m not? How will it all turn out? How many will die? Will their deaths be in vain? Will we be remembered? Will all this be worth it in the end?
Many of these questions are questions we Christians ask daily if not season to season in life in relation to family, marriage, parenting, scheduling conflicts, work, ministry, and so many other difficult things. Here’s the secret to studying Revelation: all these questions and more are answered.

Now, with the same historical war in mind, imagine yourself studying the outcome in a book or in class. Your questions are different; your perspective is different; you’re invested in a completely different way; you know the answers to many if not all of the questions listed above. You still have questions, they are simply different because of your knowledge and this simple principle:

Once you know the ending or the outcome, your perspective changes.

Here’s the best news of all: we know the outcome. Our perspective should be different.

In reading, wrestling with, studying, internalizing, sifting through, believing, and trusting in the truth of Revelation, we know that the war is won, that we are victorious in Christ, and that our purpose and place in the story is more clear: we are here on earth, in the fray of the battle, but we are on the winning side, and we need not fear the enemy or our circumstances, because of the events describe in this book. Our new questions might shift to: When? Why not now? In what ways? In what time frame? In my lifetime? Will I be able to discern what is happening as it happens?
A totally new set of questions from a totally new perspective on life today and reality as we know it.

If the majority of the questions we ask today are—What is Your will? What is your timing? What ways will You do it, Lord?—then at least the “will” and some of the “ways” of the Lord are answered in Revelation, leaving us with “timing,” which I think we can deal with for now.

The purpose of this study is to delve into the text in order to gain a new perspective, to understand our current reality in light of God’s reality, and to ask new questions, having moved forward in faith from the old ones. Not that the old ones are wrong or bad or less-than, it’s simply that God has more for us and wants more for us and desires a deeper level of intimacy with us, which comes with a stronger faith, confident in what is to come, asking a different set of questions, knowing the answers to the old ones—we do have a purpose, God is good, God is sovereign, He allows evil for a future purpose and it’s all for His glory, Jesus is resurrected, He has conquered death, it will not always be this way, there will be a new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem, Jesus will reveal Himself in a new way with a new name to His beloved, there will be a wedding feast in heaven when the Church (Bride) and Jesus (Groom) will finally be united in holy matrimony, never straying, never leaving, never forsaking, and never separated forever and ever amen (and these are just a quick overview of the multitude of promises and answers provided in Revelations).

Read the book to find more. It is powerful stuff and God wants it for all of us. Let Him prove Himself to you, reveal Himself anew to you, answer more of your questions, and progress your faith in shifting your perspective. He wants you to love Him completely. Trust Him completely. Know Him completely. And commune with Him intimately.

“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” –Psalm 27:8.

Go and talk with the Lord. See what He has for you in Revelations this week.

1 comment:

megen said...

Lucy,
I really enjoyed reading this. What many of us think is that we have some place in the Gospel for ourselves, that some part of it is up to us. But we couldn't be more wrong! Revelation emphasizes the fact that Jesus finished it...something that we need to know and remind ourselves every day. As believers, our status before God changes. We are called to ministry, obedience, etc., but not doing these things doesn't make us any less His. I feel like in many church sermons these days I am hearing about how I need to have longer quiet times, or I shouldn't EVER stumble--these applications come with no justification from the word and no emphasis on grace. Just thinking that there are certain things required for me to do or say or think in order to be a Christian would make me crazy. The Gospel is for us to receive, not take part in...because it's already been done! This is something Revelation helps me to understand because of its finality. It's more than just a punctuation mark at the end of the Bible.

I love the love vs. war analogy and your thoughts on perspective. It's a good way to help my mind wrap around something: when we become believers God doesn't change, but He changes us. And like I said before, that doesn't involve works or deeds from us...we can't validate what He did on the cross. He did it. It's done. We read this everywhere in the word, but Revelation truly needs to be studied and examined because its sureness of the Gospel is evident just in the fact that it exists--that the Lord provided us with the outcome of the war!

Keep this up! I'm loving being discipled by you via blog :) xoxo