Have you ever received a long-anticipated invitation? Yesterday I received a wedding invitation on Facebook (I know, Facebook?) from a good friend. He’s been through the ringer with a couple of rocky relationships and I believe he’s finally in a healthy relationship with a woman who’s a real match for him. When I received the invitation my heart just bubbled up with excitement. Now THIS is going to be fun! I couldn’t wait to RSVP with an enthusiastic, “YES! I’ll be there.”
That’s exactly the feeling I get from this passage. “The spirit and the bride say ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say ‘Come!’ Let the thirsty come; let anyone who wants the water of life take it freely.” Wow. If that’s not an invitation worth an positive RSVP, I don’t know what is. A perfected creation teeming with life. A …
I love color! While I don’t wear much jewelry, I love looking at the brilliant color in fine stones. So, for the first time in the history of this project I did a little searching outside Revelation for Everyone for information. I wanted to see a photo of the brilliant colors in the walls of the New Jerusalem.
And I found some crazy stuff! I laughed and almost cried at some of what I saw. But among the crazy stuff I did find something that I belived: the colors of the wall are the same colors as the breastplate on the High Priest’s garments. In other words, what used to be open only to the High Priest is now open to all of us. Only the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies, the very dwelling place of God, …
If you’re reading this blog, technology is a reality for you. For most of us, technology evolution has become a way of life. We’ve gotten used to buying new hardware every few years, getting the latest operating system for our phones and computers, and applying security patches and software updates regularly. With something new comes two feelings: excitement and trepidation. When you get a shiny new phone or finally upgrade your sorry home computer, there’s a thrill of excitement at all the possibilities. I can do so much more! Things will get done so much faster! Ah, check out how gorgeous everything looks! However, there’s also a little fear. Will I be able to navigate in a new piece of software? What if something changed I don’t know about? How do I put this thing on silent?
That’s how I feel …
Dave spent a lot of time dealing with the Final Judgment in his sermon. I’m quite sure I have no brilliant observations to add. In fact, the more I try to reconcile what is happening here with what I know and what appears in Matthew 25: 31-45, the more my head hurts.
Which, I guess, is why YHWH is God and I am not. Deep in my spirit I don’t worry about my “salvation” because I am continuously being saved every day. I know I still need saving, but I know I am safe. This passage is a reminder to me that it is not my job to understand everything. It is my job to love God and love others to the best of my current limited understanding and trust that my God in heaven who loves me and loves the …
I’ll be honest, when I finished reading Dr. Wright’s commentary on this section I was disappointed. The Millennial Reign is one of the most confusing parts of Revelation for me, and it seems like all he ended up really saying was something like this: “It’s all symbolic, nothing’s really certain, so just live for Jesus and everything will be fine.” Really? REALLY? Everything we’ve seen so far has so clearly been grounded in early Christian history, this seems to be the part where the rest of us might actually have some kind of part to play. But we’re content to just get all hazy here and focus on staying true to Jesus. And I thought there would actually be some scatological insight here.
But after I got done throwing my little mental pout fest, I realized that’s exactly the right approach. …
Revelation has been chock full with great acts of power. We’ve seen giant locusts, great dragons, hailstorms, earthquakes…all manner of powerful acts throughout the book. So, here we are at the climax. Jesus and the powers of light are set up head to head with the monster and the powers of darkness. Here it is, the confrontation to end them all.
Jesus does it with a word. Literally. Jesus speaks and the armies fall over dead. No swords, no hailstones, no plagues, no giant insects. He speaks, and it’s done. Just like that.
Just like God speaks creation into existence at the beginning. Just like God speaks the incarnation. Now God speaks judgment, and it is done. Just. Like. That.
I must have movies stuck in my head now, because this scene reminds me of that moment at the end of every movie where the conflict is resolved and everyone left standing claps each other other on the back and laughs in relief. Whew, we made it! Hugs all around!
It also reminds me of when I finished my final project for my master’s degree. It didn’t even matter that I hadn’t gotten my stoll and diploma, I was DONE! I survived a near-death experience, coped with a debilitating and poorly-understood illness, experienced supernatural healing from that illness, and rode the roller coaster of pregnancy, childbirth and mothering of my first child during the course of my studies. Though God undoubtedly supported me through every step and I loved the learning process, there’s no parallel to the celebration welling up in …
Are you sick of all this judgment yet? I know I’m getting there. I feel like, “Yeah, yeah…I get it already! Can we move on now?”
As I groped for a modern equivalent, it occurred to me that this scene is like the fall of Sauron at the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When Frodo finally casts the ring into Mount Doom, it takes several minutes of screen tie for the mountain to blow its top, the eye to extinguish and Sauron’s great tower and walls to finally fall. If all you’d seen was the 10 minutes leading up to the finale, it would probably seem like Peter Jackson waaaaay overdid it in his treatment of Mordor’s collapse. But if you watched the whole way through the trilogy (or had read the books even once), you relished every …
I could make a strong case for why our own US of A easily qualifies as a modern day Babylon. Oppression of the poor, manipulation of world labor and trade markets, human trafficking, and fornication of every flavor exist here just as they did in ancient Rome. I’m not in a position to say who’s worse, but if you have ears to listen it’s not hard to hear how our country is worthy of God’s judgment.
But none of those is what struck me about this passage. What struck me was how Babylon’s luxury was condemned. I had two different conversations today with people who said that the American standard of living is causing us to be isolated from one another. Our demand for luxury and possessions causes us to work more and more, eliminating the time necessary for genuine community. …
…to keep the main thing the main thing. This phrase, coined by “7 Habits” guru Stephen Covey and used by the rest of the world, reminds us to stay focused on what’s important. In this passage, it comes in verse 14: “They will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.”
So no matter how many kings are in the Roman lineage or what trials you might experience in our modern Babylon, the main thing is this: Jesus WINS. As an heir to His Kingdom, so can you and I. Join with him to win the victory over the lies and empty promises of the false gods in our day.