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Are You Ready?

The writer of Revelation opens his book with these words in the third verse: ?Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heeds the things which are written in it, for the time is near.?

I?ve been teaching a ?crash-course? on the New Testament at our church on Sunday evenings. The class is one of three courses that were designed to be taught within a six week span of time. I began with the story of the Gospels and compared the four accounts together, showing the uniqueness of each Gospel and the audience for which each was written. Next I went into the first twelve chapters of Acts, showing the birth and growth of the early church, and then concluded with the ?second half? of the book, beginning with the missionary journeys of Paul, giving a brief synopsis of the letters of Paul, demonstrating where each letter fell in the history of the Acts. Last Sunday night we looked at what is known as the General, or, Catholic letters, the letters of Hebrews, James, Peter, John, and Jude. The term ?general?, or, ?catholic? means ?universal?, that is, they were not written to any church in particular, such as the letters of Paul, but they are written to the church universal, wherever it may be found. In a few days, Easter Sunday evening, I will go over the final book of the New Testament, the letter of John the Apostle, The Revelation.

Revelation is one of the most fascinating, yet, one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible. Where the Book of Daniel leaves off with the ?sealing up of the words?, Daniel 12:9, Revelation opens in the fifth chapter with an angel of the Lord asking, ?Who is worthy to open the book and to break it?s seals?? (Rev. 5:2) In Daniel we are taken to the time of the rebuilding of the nation of Israel and of its Holy city, Jerusalem. In Revelation we are taken to the beginning of the last days of earth and the rebuilding of God?s final kingdom ?on earth as it is in heaven?. And depending upon your point of view of the second coming of the Lord and the establishment of His thousand year reign on earth, and the final activity of Satin and all his minions before the doors are finally shut and time as we know it on earth will be no more, will determine your interpretation of this great book. What??? I can tell already that I?ve just lost a whole mess of you in my last statement. Well, if you are pre-millennial, you?ll look at it one way; if you?re post-millennial, you?ll look at it another, and if you are a-millennial, you?ll look at it yet another way. (Honey! What is this guy talking about? Has he gone nuts?) I?ll guarantee you that John thought he was in some other world when he first encountered the resurrected Jesus Christ in the first chapter! I mean, who was this that suddenly appeared before him with hair white like wool and as white as snow, and with eyes like flames of fire, and feet like fine brass, as if they had just come out of the furnace, and a voice that sounded like the roar of Niagara Falls as the waters rushed over the edge? Wouldn?t you think you had been dreaming or had had one sarsaparilla too many? (That?s what we Baptist Texans drink, you know, sarsaparillas. Beer is a little too strong.) And here?s where the fascinating part comes in, because you can?t come to this book purely on intellect, nor purely on faith, but that?s a mighty big part! But you have to realize that this book is coaxed in a lot of symbolism, and in that symbolism lies the meaning and interpretation of the book! Have I got you thoroughly confused? Or maybe, as clear as mud? Yep! I had some friends who have now gone on to glory, who used to tell me that when it came to Revelation, they were ?Pan-millennial?. In other words, ?It?s all going to pan-out in the end.? Is that a good rendition or what? Now, here?s the thing. This is one of the only books, if not the only book, that has the expressed blessing for all those who read it: ?Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near,? (Rev. 1:3). Folks, I only have one question for you, one that I must ask myself: ?Are you, and will you be ready to meet the Lord when He comes again?? This is the hope that Revelation gives us, and not only to us, but to all believers everywhere, especially to those who are undergoing persecution for their faith. One day, the Bible tells us, we will meet the Lord, face to face. We don?t know the day nor the hour, because that is not given. We just know that one day He is coming again, and I want you to be ready when that day comes. Are you ready?

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