Yesterday at church, Kenny asked me, “Do you know which book we’re reading at Bible study on Thursday night?” I responded, “II Timothy, I think.” “Yep,” Kenny continued. We further discussed the matter, and I told him that since the month-long break we recently took from our weekly Bible studies, I continued reading through the New Testament on my own. What I didn’t tell him was that I. Am. Stuck.
In Jude, of all places.
Jude is a book of only 25 verses. I enjoy the book of Jude. There is something to be learned from Jude. No reason not to forge ahead and read and synthesize the book, right? But it’s what’s at the END of the book of Jude that always gets me reeling.
Revelation. You heard me. Rev. E. La. Tion.
Whew. I have read the Bible numerous times and particular books many times. But the book of Revelation? Hmmm. I think I’ve only read the book of Revelation equal to the number of times I’ve read the Bible. Now, if you’ve been following along with me in these blog posts, you are well aware that I adore the gospels and the books of Acts and Romans. The other letters. I cycle through them with absolute reverie. Joy. Conviction. Adoration. Hunger. But Revelation? Oh, Revelation.
The. Book. Scares me. Not gonna lie.
The first and last time I studied the book was about this time, two years ago. I read, researched, wrote, pondered. I learned a lot, actually. But I was on my own to comprehend the text, except for all of my Bible translations, commentaries, and the Internet. Perhaps I should have ordered a guide from Amazon to help me navigate the text. But even with my varied and plentiful limitations, I decided I would read and study the book slowly, take notes, and absorb that which I could. In the end and as it happened, studying Revelation at that time was a positive experience. But I am shaking in my shoes to begin the book again.
Why? After all, I’ve heard learned men speak on the book and even advise to not be afraid of it. What IS this mental block I have?
Or is it a spiritual block?
Aha. Spiritual block.
I have been puzzling over the concept of grace lately. Well, for months, actually. I finally began writing a blog post on the subject of grace on July 5. That post has a title and a date. That’s it. Grace is really hard for me, but that’s a post for a different day, and it’s forthcoming. But when I think of the book of Revelation, I think of Jesus Christ, King of heaven and earth, coming in all of His glory. And with Great. Grace.
Much of the imagery in the book of Revelation frightens me, to be honest. But what is ironic for me is that the imagery also points toward a great and gracious God. The King of kings and the Lord of lords returning to earth for His people: His called, His chosen, His elect, the people who decided to follow Him and for whom He sacrificed on a Roman cross at Calvary. And that second coming is all foretold in the book of Revelation. Jesus Christ is coming back, and His return will be nothing short of spectacular. An incomparable, glorious event. Nothing so significant ever having been witnessed before.
And that, Friends, is grace. When Jesus humbled Himself and was born on earth, lived His life here to serve others, and subjected Himself to death, even death on a cross, He demonstrated immense grace. And what the descriptions of the book of Revelation illustrate are a victorious reappearing, during which Jesus Christ will, in essence, be executing His final act of grace. Winning the battle and taking His children home. Think about it. His final. Act. Of grace. Now, I’ve never heard it described thus, but I am convicted that His triumphal return, His victorious battle, and His departure with His people into the heavenlies simply MUST be His final act of grace. Because after that, we will be forevermore in His kingdom. No need for more grace because we will be in His presence for always thereafter. Something for which I expectantly wait.
So...the book of Revelation. Prophecy. Imagery...Grace.
I’d best read Jude now. So that then I can get on to...revelation. In Revelation.
Kimberly S. Lancaster
September 4, 2017