To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6NRSV)
According to basic cable television, we only have one year left because the Mayan calendar runs out in 2012. According to the weather channel, the “snowpocalypse” is upon us, and as the Middle Eastern revolutions take hold, I am sure that there will be much talk of an upcoming battle of Armageddon.
In common parlance, the word “Apocalypse” means ultimate destruction. This is quite unfortunate, for the Bible uses the word in a completely different way. A Greek word, “apocalypse” simply means “revelation,” an open showing of the true situation and nature of things. The Apocalypse of John is in fact a common and accurate name of the last book of the New Testament. It is probably because of superficial readings of the book of Revelation that the word apocalypse has had a change of meanings over time.
One of the main themes of Revelation is that our current world is mortal. It, like us will have an end. The cause of that end will be the sin that has led ultimately to death. Focusing on that truth to the exclusion of the rest may lead us to confuse apocalypse with destruction. However, when we do this we limit the truth of what the Bible is trying to reveal to us. So when we read the Bible do not just focus on the big picture, but look for what God wants us to know about the little daily things that may have an impact on our selves, the world, and others.
Real Time Help
Before John even begins to speak about the end times, he teaches the seven churches whom he writes to about how to deal with their contemporary circumstances and daily challenges. Far less ink has been spilled and press given to the first three chapters of Revelation as the more dramatic visions that will come later in the book. This is unfortunate because they contain a key Biblical truth. The current state of your faith relationship matters.
How you treat people in this very moment is important. If you are not walking closely with God now, then how will you have any hope when things get bad? John gives each church both a word of affirmation and a word of challenge because the closer you hold to God, the less likely you are to be rattled by the headlines. For example, he writes to the church in Ephesus “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance…. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:2-4) It as Rick Warren has spoken “your character today matters in eternity.”
Walking in the Light of Christ
A central premise of the book of Revelation is that the closer you walk with God the less you have to fear. The book and the Bible as whole close with John of Patmos’ vision of the New Jerusalem where “there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
When we participate in the classic practices of the Christian Faith, such as prayer, Bible reading, and service to the vulnerable, we work on living in God’s light. When we do this, we are reminded that we can be close to God. Whenever we are close to God, we understand the hope that has been given to us through Jesus our savior. So I invite you to keep the faith and continue to live hope in the light of Christ with us as we follow Jesus, the Christ.
Keep the Faith,