Scripture Revealed

A Revelation of Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:1

Year: 2016

Man

man

I ran across this poem this morning.   It really touched my heart and really hit home with me.

“Man” -a poem by Pentecostal Pioneer John Baptist Thomas, former missionary to Iraq and founder of the First Pentecostal Church of New Orleans.

 

If every day a man should labor
From childhood till he’s old,
What would it profit tho he gained the world,
If at last he lost his soul?

Man is like a little flower
With glory for a time,
Then he sees the shining sickle
And hears the death bells chime.

The doors are closed, the windows dark,
The sound of grinding is low.
It matters not how strong he is,
His time has come to go.

And ere the silver card is loosed,
Oh mortal fading fame,
The dust to earth, The spirit returns
To God from where it came.

John Baptist Thomas
Baghdad, Iraq
July 12, 1930

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The Nature of the Book

One of the most misunderstood scriptures in our Bible centers around Revelation 21:21. This is the “pearly gates”, “street of gold” scripture.  Should we take this scripture literally?  Let’s explore what the scriptures reveal.

Revelation is undoubtedly a unique book. While considered part of the New Testament, it is different from other books of the New Testament. More importantly, it is different from styles of writing used today. Revelation is apocalyptic. The word ‘revelation’ in Greek is “apokalupsis”, which means ‘an uncovering’ or ‘unveiling.’ Thus, Revelation is a book that was intended to reveal, not conceal! The book is an example of apocalyptic literature.

Apocalyptic Literature

Apocalyptic literature is a literary style popular from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. It is a style known for highly symbolic or figurative language written during times of persecution. It usually depicts the conflict between good and evil while encouraging the righteous to persevere.

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The Great Tribulation

One of the most difficult passages in the Bible is found in Matthew chapter 24. Referred to as the Olivet Discourse, this part of the Bible is the main jumping off point for a lot of the prophecy teachings regarding a period called “the end time” or “the last days.” Matthew 24 is a frightening scripture that mentions earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, among the few calamities in store for planet earth. As the teaching goes, all of these horrible things will be a sign that the “end of the world” is right around the corner.

Endtime Industry

Over the years, I began to realize that there is an entire industry that has grown up focusing on the “end time.” There are books, movies, conferences and seminars that support this area of Bible study. The basic pitch is that terrible stuff is coming! And why is that? Because they believe that the Bible tells them so. The pitchmen declare that they know best how to interpret all this apocalyptic imagery and symbolism.

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The Antichrist Deception

Over thirty years ago I got off track! How so you might ask. Well as a newly minted Christian I had a fascination with the “last days” and anything that had to do with the “end times”. One of the first books that I purchased, besides the Bible, was Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. That book had a profound effect on the way that I interpreted Bible passages that I assumed dealt with the “end time”. The book was published in 1970 by Zondervan Publishing House. I picked up my copy in 1983, thirteen years after its original publication date. 28 million copies had sold by 1990. Did I bother to check the claims made in this book against the scriptures? Nope! Sure didn’t.  That is until a few short years ago!

Although Lindsey did not claim to know the dates of future events with any certainty, he suggested that Matthew 24:32-34 indicated that Jesus’ return might be within “one generation” of the rebirth of the state of Israel, and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.

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