I started this blog about a year ago because I had a couple of things on my mind, and I wanted to get them off my chest. This is why I’m not a professional writer. You would think that if they were on my mind I would want to get them off my mind. I don’t understand why it doesn’t work that way. They are still on my mind, but I managed to get them off my chest. Somehow, that’s supposed to make it alright.
In any case, I still have plenty on my mind and on my chest. Given last year’s election and and the very unusual reactions to it, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most of what is driving me crazy lately is political. I’ve even drifted that way in a couple of my essays. But considering the name I decided to give this whole blog, that didn’t seem to be all that appropriate. So if I’m to continue to contribute to this endeavour, I need to come up with an actual direction to take this thing. An idea came to me this morning.
Given the current political climate, not just in America but around the world, it’s hard not to get all eschatological. That word’s a lot more fun to say than it is to try to spell, but it means I’m convinced the world is coming to an end.
It’s sad in a way. All my life I’ve kinda figured the world would end in my lifetime, and all I ever had to say about it was that when it happens, I wanted a good seat. I can’t for the life of me understand why I didn’t realise the end of the world would be unbearably ugly. But looking around at what’s been going on in the world, and the attitude that is quickly pervading all of society, I’ve come to realise that if this is really the beginning of the end of the world, it’s not going to be any fun at all.
Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of theories, explanations, timelines and sermons about the end of the age and how it’s all going to come down. Chronologically, what is going to happen when. Politically, who the anti-Christ is, and historically, how what you read in the papers matches up with what was written in the Book of Revelation. I’ve read some books trying to make sense out of the whole thing, and those books seem to disagree with the sermons, and each other.
Finally, having plenty of time on my hands, I decided to study the book of Revelation. I’ve read through it a couple of times, and by the time I get to the end, I’m never quite sure what happened. This time, I’m going verse by verse, Taking notes and referencing however many commentaries I need to to make the particular verse I’m working on make sense.
This has now been going on for months. I try to spend a couple of hours a day on it, first thing in the morning. I don’t have an alarm to tell me when I’m done for the day. Something else always lets me know when it’s time to move on to the next part of my day. Usually, it’s the next part of my day that comes crashing in, demanding my attention. I try to get up early enough to have a couple of hours before that happens.
Sometimes, I realise that it’s time to quit when I get to a part that I just can’t make sense out of; I can’t find a suitable reference to put in my notes and I am just getting nowhere. At that point I’ll wrap it up and decide to start the next day looking for a commentary, or Bible footnote, or whatever I can find to get me past that verse and onto the next one. There have been times that it’s taken me three days to get past a verse.
I blame Chuck Missler for all this. If you’ve never heard of him, you might want to look him up on YouTube. He’s what you call an expositional commentator. He goes through the Bible, chapter by chapter and really works to flesh it out. He believes that every single word, every number and every place name have a meaning that ties into the total message that God is trying to get across to us.
This all sounds great, but after listening to him for a while, you get to where you read passages you’ve read twenty times before and suddenly you find yourself asking, “what did he mean by that?” Why did God give us a genealogy of Cain’s descendants when they were all wiped out in the flood anyway? I still don’t have an answer for that, by the way and that is what brings me to the point of this particular post:
The more I learn, the less I seem to know. I’m going to start sharing what I’ve learned about the Book of Revelation. More importantly, I’m going to discuss what I still haven’t figured out.
As much as I’ve learned from Mr. Missler, John MacArthur, Chuck Smith, Stanley D. Tousaint and others, there are details in the Book of Revelation that drive me crazy that nobody else even seems to notice. I pour through commentary after commentary and they will all skip over these little details like they didn’t even notice them. Well I noticed them, and I want answers.
Let me give you an example. This is what caught my attention this morning that made me think that studying Revelation was the best course I could take with this blog right now:
Turn to chapter 11. John shifting from the Temple to the two witnesses without a clutch is troubling enough, but am I the only one to notice that these witnesses are discussed in the future tense until verse eleven. As soon as verse 11 hits, it shifts to the past tense. Maybe I’m missing some sort of innocuous literary device and this doesn’t mean anything. But it is the point that stopped my studying this morning.
Now I’ve been writing this blog for a year and I know a few people have read parts of it, but I have gotten virtually no feedback from anyone but Pastor Jeff Arp so far. (Thank you Pastor, by the way). I’m hoping that changes and people begin to engage with me as I go through the questions and confusions bubbling up from the pages of this incredible book. I’m hoping somebody helps me out with trying to understand some of this.
I may be lost. But at least I may have found a direction for this blog.