22:7 “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
First-time Bible readers want to read Genesis: a mistake. Many Christians want to study Revelation: another mistake. Beginning readers—new converts to Christ—have two excellent resources in the Gospels of Mark and John. Mark for seeing the energetic nature of Jesus. John for dramatizing Christ’s powerful Deity-Nature in seven splendid signs.
The battle over Bible integrity, especially the integrity of the Four Gospels, has been
handily won by defenders of the Faith. The contentious charges of obscurantist unbelievers prove only their refusal to be convinced.
The Seventh Beatitude raises and answers a question: once God had given amazing visions to John, did he have a purpose in mind? For example, did they complete their meaning simply by being revealed? Or by being emotionally-stimulating? Or, like verbal art, hung on a wall for discussion and dissection? Many conceive of God in that way. So long as they believe in him, nothing more is required—as a young man said to this young minister one day. He regretted asking, hearing the answer.
All attacks on the Bible notwithstanding, the eloquence of a number of its passages merit inclusion in books chronicling the world’s great literature. But only as great literature. And God will never be satisfied with such compliments. Jesus certainly dismantled that idea in Matthew 7:24-27. He clearly taught that only as listeners activated his words did they build solid lives on solid ground.
In the same way, Jesus warned readers of Revelation to LIVE in anticipation of his Coming. To prepare in this world for life in God’s new world. For only as we commit to Jesus now will we live with him after Judgment. Once Jesus appears, we can’t change our previous mind, previous habits, or previous behavior. Henry L. Mencken loved being sympathetic to friends, but felt free to poleaxe clergy and politicians and humanity’s every foible. An agnostic, he also felt free to question God’s existence and Christ’s sacrifice. Yet, he rehearsed his speech if finding himself in Heaven facing the Twelve Apostles. He would simply say, “Gentlemen, I was wrong.”
Uh huh. Comforting. No matter how we live here, a mere apology to God for being WRONG? Oppose God in life. Refuse to accept Christ in life. Ridicule those who serve Christ in life. And Jesus will be convinced by our sudden humility for being wrong. Eleanor Roosevelt had the same opinion. While a church-goer, she could never decide what would happen after death. So she decided to wait until THEN to see. The modern humanist is the same. One world at a time is all he can handle. If another world IS THERE, he’ll face it at the time.
All of them...wrong...desperately and fatally wrong. Scriptures such as II Corinthians 5:10 and Revelation 20:12-13 warn us that our present life constitutes the basis of our judgment before Christ’s throne. Pay attention. Eternity begins NOW for each of us. End Part I