Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Revelation the Book

The lectionary moves over into the Book of Revelation for a few weeks; so, I have been trying to preach from those texts. I am aware that there are many people who interpret the Book of Revelation as a predictor of the future. Some see the Bible as this acient book in which God has put "secrets" for us to find and look our for. It's a view of Revelation that goes way back. In my life it found expression in a man named Hal Lindsey, who is still on TV, by the way.

In this book, The Late Great Planet Earth, he basically says that the earth is going to hell in a handbasket and it's all God's plan. Certain nations, whom he names, will rise up and fight and cause havoc. Some interpreters have tried to name dates and times for God's actions. People have made movies about the end-times showing all kinds of horrific things happening in God's name.

So, even preaching on Revelation is an awesome task. I think I am in the mainstream of scholarly thought when I interpret the Book of Revelation pastorally and not as a predictor of the future. That is, at its inception, as near as we can tell, Christians were suffering for their faith, being put to death because they refused to kneel in worship of the Emperor. The Jews were equally mistreated. So, we believe that John a leader of the church in Asia Minor is exiled on the Island of Patmos for his faith. On Patmos, John sees this vision of God's work.

It is meant to be heard pastorally, that is, as an encouragement to Christians as they go through the great "tribulation"- the suffering at the hands of Rome. The message is that God will act in his good time and will bring those who suffer and die to his eternal kingdom and those who are on the other side (the side of the devil) will lose the war eternally. God wins.

So, as I continue this series of sermons, I have reminded my congregation to remember one thing if they don't remember anything else from Revelation. In Revelation, everybody is singing. Those in heaven, on the earth, and below the earth are singing praise to God. All creation breaks out into song for the one, the lamb, who has conquered.

Whatever tribulation you're facing, hold up your head, keep your faith, if you're on God's side you ultimately have nothing to worry about. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. When God is ready, we will join the great chorus in the great church singing with full voice: "Worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive honor and glory..."

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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