Final Post: December 31
Congratulations!!! You’ve made it through the entire Bible this year. I hope as you take some time to reflect on the year overall today and this evening you might take a few moments to remember some of the new things you learned or places where your faith grew through this past year traveling through the entire Bible. The last blog entry covers the Book of Revelation. The apostle John (Jesus’ beloved disciple) wrote Revelation towards the end of his life and was at the time the only living disciple left. As you read/have read through Revelation, my guess is that you will have a few questions. Revelation is from the genre of literature known as Apocalyptic Literature. This means that it uses lots of imagery to describe the time of the end of the world. The interesting thing about this particular book is that you can go to the web, Christian bookstore, or anywhere else to find someone’s book or opinion on the true (deep) meaning behind all of the crazy images that come up. There are definitely some that I prefer more than others. If you’re looking for an in depth look at Revelation, the best I know is by Louis Brighton (one of my seminary professors) through Concordia Publishing House in the Concordia Commentary series. It’s a pretty thick volume that will give you much food for thought.
In the commentary today, I’m going to present an overview and look at a couple of chapters. Mostly I like the way Pastor Jim talked about Revelation shortly after arriving at Peace. Revelation is a sneak preview that God gives us because He knows the journey ahead is going to be extremely difficult at times. God blesses with the ability to turn to the back of the book and see how the story ends. It ends beautifully in Heaven a place that God has created for us to dwell directly with Him where the streets are made of gold. Imagine what the means for everything else if gold is used to simply walk/ride/drive over. When you read through the first half of the book there are bowls, trumpets, lions and bears oh my! This is where the division happens between the different churches to try and attach meaning. The main theory you will hear in this area is called Predispensational Millennialism. This simply means that they believe that Jesus will come back and take all the Christians to Heaven (the rapture), while unbelievers who are living will have a time of tribulation where they have the possibility of coming into faith. At the end of the tribulation, Jesus comes back with the Church for a millennial reign on the physical earth followed by the end of the world. The view that the Lutheran Church supports is the one that historically has been the mainstay of the church since the early church. It is called Amillennialism which simply means without a millennium. The belief is that the millennium is inaugurated with Jesus death and resurrection and is a symbolic number/time of perfection that occurs until it is time for Jesus’ second coming which will bring the end of this world and believers will receive eternal life with God. There are some other views on this topic, so if you have questions, please send me a message. I’d be more than happy to work through some of this with each of you.
The final chapters show us the sneak preview of Heaven which are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. They describe a place where God will live with us, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There won’t be any more pain, death, crying, or mourning as God will be right there with us the entire time. It will be a place of complete rest and peace. There will be a river going down the middle of the city with the tree of life yielding fruit every single month (there won’t be any hunger up there). It will be the ultimate place to go and live that we will enjoy for the rest of time. The last words Jesus tells John are “Yes, I am coming soon.” Words that we should onto today as the time is even closer now than during John. They are the words to hold onto during those discouraging days when they come. The days when it is just better to turn off the news. In terms of the timing, we don’t know when the day will be all that we know is that God has everything set in place and Jesus will be coming soon to bring us to be with Him.