Last Days (4)

Again, let me say that there’s more to the Book of Revelation than death and destruction, the end of the world that is depicted in the doomsday media, which seems only to lead us to think of G-d’s plan for humankind as being annihilation. Yet parts, taken out of context, say just people will die out there. Take a look at these verses:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Revelation 6:12-17

Fear. Intense fear. Fear that is getting out of control. Fear that makes people want to dig a hole and bury themselves alive. I awoke one night thinking about the use of fear in the media today. Especially in the financial adviser realm, where we become fearful of losing whatever savings we have and think perhaps they may have the answers to save us.

But there’s something within humans that seem driven to want to experience fear. A lot of people like horror movies and “amusement parks.” I don’t. I don’t like roller coasters. But roller coasters are tame compared to some of the new rides. And then there are various other “sports” that people engage in. I admit, I’ve been on one of those long, peak-to-peak mountain zip lines myself. And maybe it has some value beyond the harnessing of one’s fear. And then there’s bungee jumping. Jump off a bridge with a stretch cord wrapped around your ankles designed to stop you just before you crash headlong into the rocks below. Fun!

But what are we doing to ourselves by allowing our senses to be dulled by all these fearful experiences? I wonder. We feed into what the media is all to willing to give us.

I’ve heard it said that the Viet Nam Conflict (Undeclared War) came to an end as a result of journalists graphic reports on the evening news including video of our soldiers dying in combat. Americans watched it during their dinner, and were sickened by what was going on. Sure, we’d had great journalistic reports in the newspapers, especially during WWII. But a picture “is worth a thousand words.” And these pictures were the same day and of bloody kids, American kids. It was a lot more powerful. And Americans were aghast. But we’re desensitized now. We are no longer shocked at combat, death. Or, perhaps we are still shocked, but feel powerless to do anything about it.

Okay. Moving right along. Fear can direct us into a different course of action. Like the movie Contagion, fear of a deadly virus leads us to accept the word of our government that a vaccine is safe, and to take it. Fear can be used to manipulate us into doing things we would not otherwise do. That can be a good thing, too. I suppose. In some circumstances. But in Revelation, at the point of the Sixth Seal, whatever happens certainly will be big, really big. It will be big enough to really get our attention. And it will be the fear of the LORD. Being really afraid, terrified. Horrified. Not the King James Version of fear the Lord in the psalms. That kind means to look with awe upon Him. No, these people have already apparently made their choices against the Lord our G-d. They are fearful of Him. They are terrified of what is going to happen next.

Now, there is a point, before that Sixth Seal experience, in which people during trials and various other calamities come to look for G-d. At this point, many come to repent. They turn from their current ways—ways of the flesh; ways called sinful—and accept Y’shuaJesus as Lord and Savior.

So. I began with the word apocalypse being used as “The End of the World” or doomsday. And for many the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, is just that. It’s in the media portrayed as that, too. I mentioned that the definition of apocalypse is from a Greek word that means uncovering. The Book of Revelation uncovers more fully the Gospel of Lord Y’shuaJesus. There’s Good News! Yet, there’s also some really bad news. Bad news for some, at least. The media focus is on those people. It’s on the Apocalypse as death and destruction. In the Book of Revelation there are two seals that we are shown that people can receive. (See Matthew 24 for Y’shuaJesus telling about one seal a person can receive.) One is a seal given in a world with no use for Messiah Y’shuaJesus. The other seal is one given to those who are willing to give themselves to Messiah Y’shuaJesus. Two groups of people. For those sealed with a demonic mark, the Revelation of Y’shuaJesus as Messiah comes too late, and it means enduring the wrath of G-d, suffering destruction, and death.

For those sealed by the Lord’s angels, sealed with the Holy Spirit, there may come persecution, tribulation, but there is Life in Y’shuaJesus.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

Last Days (3)

Apocalypse, I said, viewed through media’s interpretation is death and destruction, the End of the World stuff. Some writers, with what they consider a Christian perspective, have suggested various scenarios that might take place before Messiah returns. They base their writing not only on the Book of Revelation, but also on other Bible Books such as the Book of Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel. At least one writer authored a whole series about those people remaining on Earth after the “rapture.” I haven’t read that series, but through others think the intent is to warn people of what it might be like on Earth while G-d’s wrath is poured out. But, as I quoted Pastor Jeff Shelton, “G-d’s read all the books, and He isn’t gonna do it that way, either.” And I totally agree.

Admittedly, though, I enjoy science fiction, including apocalyptic stuff. I like zombie books, too. I watch the television series Walking Dead, if only to point out the what-not-to-do moments in the program. I like the story lines in the fiction books and movies. Yes, I also like the action. I like the scenarios that are posed. The stories or movies don’t have to be believable, either; they do have to suspend my disbelieve, however. Some do. Some do not. And some reference the Bible and make me more than uncomfortable. Lately I’ve come to think that people could be deceived by the various accounts, especially if they seem as to portray a Biblical story. And maybe even if the book or movie doesn’t hold to a Bible story it leads to deceptive thinking.

Cover of "The Book of Eli [Blu-ray]"
Cover of The Book of Eli [Blu-ray]
Take “The Book of Eli” for instance. It is set AFTER a doomsday event that leaves most people dead and throughout the United States what remains is lawlessness; perhaps the entire world slide into savagery. The main character, Eli, is on a G-d-ordained mission to take a Bible to somewhere on the West Coast. And Eli has special, divinely provided powers. Eventually, the Bible is stolen. The man who took it, knew it contained the way of power. No matter, the Bible Eli carried was made in Brail, for the blind. And Eli continues onward anyway. Through lots of twists and turns, and lots of fighting, Eli eventually gets to Alcatraz, his final destination. The island houses a giant collection of books, and printing presses to make more. Eli recites from memory the entire Bible, which is then transcribed and printed. Mission completed, Eli dies. The nice newly printed Bible is placed on a library shelf next to the Koran. I had sudden and total let down at that. That’s the value of the Bible? It’s equivalent to the Koran? Bummer!

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Matthew 24:7-8

Another movie I enjoyed uses a virus spreading around the world as the apocalypse: Contagion, starring Matt Damon Gwyneth Paltrow Kate Winslet. According to Wikipedia, “the plot of Contagion documents the spread of a virus transmitted by fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease, the loss of social order in a pandemic that leads to martial law, and finally the introduction of a vaccine to halt its spread.” This film, though a work of fiction, was carefully researched, utilizing the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as renowned medical personnel such as W. Ian Lipkin and Lawrence “Larry” Brilliant. To better understand her part as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) doctor, Kate Winslet spent a day with an EIS doctor at CDC in Atlanta.

At least one person, however, sees Contagion as being a bit sinister. “Most people watch movies to be entertained. Well, I for one can say that there was absolutely nothing entertaining about Contagion. In fact, the only difference between this movie and state-sponsored educational movies shown in schools is that with Contagion you actually have to pay to be indoctrinated … and to see Matt Damon. During the cold war, students were shown videos instructing them to “Duck and Cover” in case of a nuclear attack. Contagion conditions the masses to expect martial law and to throw themselves at the first available vaccine in case of a crisis..”—Vigilant Citizen

During the martial law phase, there are food distributions and mostly people stay home, inside. Eventually a vaccine is available, and is slowly produced. A lottery is in place to “fairly” distribute it. The wheels or commerce once again begin to turn. And toward the end of Contagion, the character portrayed by Matt Damon is finally able to pass security screening to shop in a mall; he shows the wrist band he received when his lottery number came up and he was able to be vaccinated. Okay, it’s not like the mark of the beast or anything. He didn’t sign some sort of loyalty oath to the government denouncing Lord Y’shuaJesus. But it didn’t have to, which is why this and other movies like it are troubling to some, and may be deceptive too. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why. Hint: it has to do with cognitive dissonance.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus

Revelation 22:20

Baby Jesus with a voice was like the sound of many waters

Spending some time now in the Book of Revelation has reminded me of a way of viewing our Lord Y’shuaJesus that has bothered me for some time. It’s a different view from the one in Revelation. It’s been around for a long time, too. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Bible includes it: the meekness of Christ. Perhaps Mr. Henry refers to a different meekness than I imagine from the word. And too be fair, we see throughout the Gospels a great number of sides to Y’shuaJesus that show His gentle ways of dealing with us. It’s just that this view of Y’shuaJesus as meek gets played over and over until I wonder if we lose perspective.

English: BABY JESUS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Especially during the Christmas Season—I’ve too often heard the cooing of mom’s showing their kids a manger scene and saying, “Ah, look at Baby Jesus! He’s so cute. See Baby Jesus.” And during other times, not just during Christmas, I’ve heard moms say to their children, “Let’s pray to Baby Jesus now.” Or “Say ‘Thank you’ to Baby Jesus.” Okay, so being fair, it’s moms talking to kids. But when does that image of a baby change to Y’shuaJesus, King? Perhaps it really doesn’t. There’s the prevailing view that “Jesus is a friend. He walks with us and He talks with us.” Yes, He does. But He’s so much more than a friend. He’s worthy great awe and reverence and respect.

Look at the portraits hanging now in museums. Y’shuaJesus is portrayed as a gentle man, doing things that in His time upon Earth would have been very feminine. Sitting at a well, talking with a woman. Not even a Jewish women. And it’s true, a battered woman has seen only the cruelest sides of a man, has great have trouble with Y’shuaJesus unless He is portrayed in a kind and gentle manner. This was the rationale for the “Papa G-d” movement that sought to show the Father Heart of G-d to people that had been abused by human fathers.

But. But when do we begin to see another view of Y’shuaJesus? Just as the Jews during the time Y’shuaJesus walked on Earth were expecting a conquering Messiah got a suffering One instead, perhaps Christians today see only the gentle Messiah, and not the conquering One. Perhaps seeing only one side leads into thinking we are godlike. We bring Y’shuaJesus down to Earth as a mere child, and we elevate ourselves above Him. We are all gods.

John saw the Lord, and wrote the Book about it:

“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”

Revelation 1:12-16

Y’shuaJesus WAS born in a cavern that was the barn for animals—a stable. Y’shuaJesus WAS a baby. But Y’shuaJesus grew and even surprised his folks at a very early age when He sat teaching adults in the Temple (in Jerusalem). Y’shuaJesus wasn’t a baby when He was strapped and nailed to a post, raised up before a crowd, humiliated and suffering, finally dying. Dying. Yet, like a baby, innocent. We are guilty. He is innocent. We are alive. He is . . .


And we are given a glimpse of Him in this “call for endurance” in Revelation 14:12-14.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.

When Y’shuaJesus comes back—He will return—He won’t look like the small, meek-looking child laying in a cradle with angels and humans looking condescendingly over Him. No. He will come with angels following. He will come with “His eyes . . . like a flame of fire. His feet . . . like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice . . . like the sound of many waters.” Thank G-d! Maranatha!

Okay. The things is that Y’shuaJesus is our friend. And Y’shuaJesus is also our Lord and King. He died for us, and rose for us, that we can be with Him forever. We owe Him everything. We will kneel before Him and we will confess with our mouths, He Is Lord!

Look at it this way, we can’t put a bumper sticker on our cars with “Jesus” on one side, and on the other side a sticker that says, “Gymnastics is Life.” Seriously. I saw it myself the other day. We can’t have it both ways. Y’shuaJesus is either our Life, or He isn’t. Echoing the call, Choose today who you will serve. We need in our thinking and our conversations and in our actions, to acknowledge that there is a time for meekness and a time for fierce adherence to the Word of G-d with deepest awe for our Savior, Y’shuaJesus.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

To Which Church. . .

English: Saint John the Apostle Church in Shee...
English: Saint John the Apostle Church in Sheepscombe, England (Cotswolds). The church was built in 1820. The first record of the village of Sheepscombe dates from 1260. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. . . do you belong?

Some years ago, a friend in the same ministry as me subscribed to the theory that the Churches of Revelation, represented seven distinct periods of time. That meant, assuming we are in the Last Days, we are the Church of Laodicea. If that were true, we’d all be luke warm. My friend called Laodicea the Church of the Last Days.

The author of Revelation was instructed to write to the angel of the Church of Laodicea, in part:

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15,16

[ ASIDE: Ouch! Y’shuaJesus says he’s gonna spit the Church out of His mouth. That’s not a very tolerant thing to do, is it? I mean, meek, mild, born-in-a-manger Baby Jesus is gonna spit me out of His mouth! Well, yes! That is what He said; so that is what He’ll do. ]

Here’s a nice summary of the Seven Churches of Revelation from Got Questions.

Question: “What do the seven churches in Revelation stand for?”

Answer: The seven churches described in Revelation 2-3 are seven literal churches at the time that John the apostle was writing Revelation. Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. The first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history and instruct them in God’s truth.

A possible third purpose is to use the seven churches to foreshadow seven different periods in the history of the Church. The problem with this view is that each of the seven churches describes issues that could fit the Church in any time in its history. So, although there may be some truth to the seven churches representing seven eras, there is far too much speculation in this regard. Our focus should be on what message God is giving us through the seven churches. The seven churches are

(1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4).

(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).

(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent (2:16).

(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess (2:20).

(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep (3:2).

(6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently (3:10).

(7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) – the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .


Map with seven churches
Map with seven churches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We make things complicated some times. Perhaps we’re too learned, to knowledgeable. Perhaps we analyze too much. Or maybe we just think too much. Take the Book of Revelation, for example. It’s a Divinely inspired look at. . . What, exactly?

I’ve been rereading the Book of Revelation. In the first chapters of the Book, Y’shuaJesus is speaking to Seven Churches. As I’m reading it’s hard not to recall various things I’ve been “taught” over the years about these Churches. I’m trying to just read the Book without all the internal dialogue of what others’ think it all means. I’m trying to KISS; Keep It Simple. . .

Some times it takes fresh, innocent, eyes to see things we “educated,” mature folks do not see. Many years ago there was a railroad bridge crossing a highway leading east out of the then rural town of Atascadero, California. The bridge height was right at 14 foot. One day a tractor-trailer rig approached it. The driver saw height warning, knew that he was only 13 and-a-half-feet high, so proceeded under the bridge. About half way through he came to a very sudden stop. His trailer hit. The road under the railroad goes down to the bridge, under the bridge, then immediately back up. The trailer was long. The rear of the trailer was still high, while the front was beginning to rise on the other side of the bridge. Hence, the trailer stuck.

The driver tried unsuccessfully to back the rig out. Stuck good, he was. A large tow truck was called. It came, tried, and gave up. A lot of experienced people, ranchers on their way by included, were out there looking at the stuck truck, scratching their heads wondering what to do. Eventually a small boy walked up and asked the men why not just let the air out of the tires. To the credit of the men, they took the boys advice, let the air out, and the driver backed the rig slowly out from it’s prison.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

KISS the Bible. Read like a child. At least that’s what I’m doing with the Book of Revelation now.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .