Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Revelation Intro - Part 3 - Boundaries vs Boxes

Revelation Intro - Part 2 - Preach the Breathed-out Word

Revelation Intro - Part 1 - The Breathed-Out Word

The Rest of God’s Revelation

          There is a restfulness that should accompany a journey through the book of Revelation for the simple reason that God has done all the work of making it known to us[1]. He has given his children a new nature in Christ Jesus that is able to understand the things God has breathed-out[2], and has left us with his Holy Spirit who is the perfect teacher and reminder of the revelation of God[3].

          The word translated in English as “revelation” comes from the Greek word “apokalupsin”. This is why you may have heard this book referred to as the “Apocalypse”. The word means “to unveil, to uncover”. As a dignitary pulls down a fabric-covering to reveal a sculpture or painting, so the book of Revelation reveals things that once were hidden and presents them in the light for all to see.

          God has a deliberate purpose in showing things the way he did. In his sovereign wisdom and knowledge, he composed the symphony of divine thoughts in order to play the wisdom and knowledge of God to every generation of believers for our constant hope and joy. The song is his; the presentation is his; the timing and cadence are his. Ours is to receive what he has revealed, to “revel”[4] in the Revelation.

          Knowing that “the revelation” uncovers hidden things, rather than hides things under strange word-pictures, saves us from any sense that we need to fix what God gave us in this book. We cannot treat this revelation as if it is not revealed. Neither can we fall into the sarky[5] trap of thinking that God gave it his best shot and now he needs brilliant men to tell people what God couldn’t figure out how to say in his own words.

          As we journey through Revelation I want my constant aim to be “Preach the word!”[6] God has already done what he wanted in revealing it. He breathed-out the words he specially chose for the occasion[7]. Nothing is hidden that he has uncovered. Nothing need be proclaimed beyond what is written[8]. So let us simply echo Isaiah’s cry, “To the teaching, and to the testimony!”[9]

          So far, in the first few words of the Revelation, my heart is growing in this wonder, that God has unveiled his thoughts to us. GOD HAS! TO US! He has uncovered to our eyes what was hidden from our sight. Nothing is ever hidden from his sight[10], but much is hidden from ours. Not only is there far more knowledge in the universe than we can ever hope to contain, but, in our sinful condition, we are BLIND! We cannot see the half of what is all around us. The heavens declare the glory of God[11], but we do not see it. We are blind to it[12] until God awakens our hearts to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and lets us see what was hidden[13], but is now unveiled for our longing hearts to see.

          “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”[14]This is what God’s children can expect from the book of Revelation.

© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~

[1] II Peter 1:20-21
[2] I Corinthians 2:13
[3] John 14:26
[4] def: to take great pleasure in something
[5] “Sark” is the Greek word for “the flesh” which refers to that part of ourselves that is totally focused on “self”. It is attracted to sin and opposed to God. “Sarky” simply refers to a fleshly thought, attitude, desire or behavior.
[6] II Timothy 4:1-2
[7] II Timothy 3:16-17
[8] I Corinthians 4:6
[9] Isaiah 8:20
[10] Hebrews 4:13
[11] Psalm 19:1
[12] II Corinthians 4:4
[13] Isaiah 60:1
[14] II Corinthians 4:6

Today in Revelation: October 31, 2012

The word “revelation” comes from the Greek word “apokalupsin”, hence “the Apocalypse”. Revelation means “to unveil, to uncover”, so the book removes the cover from things we could not have known. Since the descriptions written down in the revelation are revealing God’s thoughts to us, we cannot treat Revelation as something hidden. God did not hide things in the book that only the brightest and best of scholars can find. He uncovered and unveiled the things that were hidden so that, now, everyone can see them. Conclusion: Do not look for hidden meanings that only the best initiated are able to find. Meditate on the words God gave us to uncover what has been in his heart and mind from before time even began.

© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reveling in The Revelation

          The first two words of the book of Revelation have captured my heart. They are, “The revelation”. This is THE REVELATION, and we must receive it accordingly. God has reached down to reveal himself to us. He has come down from his lofty glory where no one questioned his existence, no one doubted his splendor, no one mocked his magnificence, and he came into this cesspool of sinful humanity to make himself known to us.

          This is the wonder that is approaching my soul, that, beyond the words that spring to attention to organize a tribute to man’s glory, there is a glorious delight in what is not self-contained, what is not sark-controlled, what is not me-centered. It is the glory of this wonder: that creatures could receive a revelation from God.

          However, it does not say “A revelation”, but, “THE Revelation”. Not only has God graced humanity with a revelation of his thoughts and ways that no man could have found by fleshly scrutiny, but God alone can give THE Revelation. No other person can reveal the heart and mind of God to humanity but God himself. The profusion of religions, and the myriad expressions of man’s thoughts about life, hold nothing of divine revelation. Even the seemingly limitless supply of commentaries and opinions on the book of Revelation are not themselves a revelation from God.

          However, here is the book that God himself has breathed-out, the revelation of word-pictures that God himself has composed. Here are the treasures of words that God chose to reveal, to show, to expose to man’s eyes, and hearts, and minds, and souls, so that we could know the God who has so revealed himself.

          Do you not feel your heart open up to this wonder: that God has revealed himself? If he had not revealed himself we would think that life was just about us. We would think that the things we couldn’t understand could actually be explained by extra-terrestrials, ghosts, and evolution. If God had left us to our own devices we would one day appear in the presence of his judgment discovering, when it was too late, that we had a Maker to whom we were now giving account. Instead of leaving us to such blind hopelessness, God allows us to feel the wonder of grace that speaks to our hearts and tells us that he is doing good things for his glory, and good things for the delight of his people.

          As I bow before the divine revelation, my heart is moved with wonder. God has graciously filled a treasure chest with thoughts from his own heart. He graciously calls us to come and quiet ourselves before this treasure chest of wisdom and knowledge. Then he graciously turns the key in the lock, lifts the lid, and exposes to our waiting hearts the wonders of his thoughts.

          In my heart I am transported back to this Scripture about Mary, “who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching” (Luke 10:37). The weaving together of Scriptures is the gift of grace calling me to quietness in God’s presence. I want my journey through Revelation to be, “Monte sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.”

          I do not want to hear Jesus say to me what he said to Mary’s sister: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

          None of us need go through the beautiful treasure chest of the revelation, “anxious and troubled about many things.” This is God’s revelation, so we have no responsibility for the way he chose to make himself known. On the other hand, Mary was commended by Jesus for choosing the “good portion”, which was expressed in her sitting at his feet and listening to his teaching.

          We will get more out of the revelation by sitting at Jesus’ feet and simply receiving what comes from the mouth of God, than by busying ourselves in vain attempts to “go beyond what is written” (I Cor 4:6). It is a revelation from God, so receive what he has revealed. It is THE revelation from God, so look no further than the breathed-out Scriptures to know more than man could ever find by self-dependent searching.

© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pastoral Pings ~ A Pastoral Exhortation

A Pastoral Exhortation

          In the past few weeks I have worked through three messages introducing a series on the book of Revelation. As a pastor, they are directing me to treat the Bible as the breathed-out word of God, to treat every part of the Bible as profitable for teaching, reproving (bringing sin into the light), correcting (replacing sinful habits with godly conduct), and training in righteousness (II Tim 3:16-17).

          Pastors must preach this word, reprove with this word, rebuke with this word, and exhort with this word (II Tim 4:1-2), while guiding God’s people to refrain from going beyond what is written (I Cor 4:6), and teaching about things that are not written in accord with everything that is written (Titus 2:1).

          As we seek to live by faith in God’s breathed-out word, we must keep in mind that everything God is working to do in using his words to lead us to maturity in Christ (Col 1:28), Satan is seeking to counteract with whatever attacks, bullying, counterfeits, and deception he can present (II Cor 11:14).

          This brings me to the question: If it is God’s will that we “live by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4), and it is Satan’s will that we do not live by the words of God, whose will is most characterized by our relationship to the Scriptures?

          If we do not think about the two wills that are at work we fall into the deceptions of thinking that our relationship to the word of God is only between God and us. We think things like, “I know God wants me to be devoted to his word today, but I just can’t get into it.” That sounds a lot better than thinking, “God wants me devoted to his word today, and Satan wants me distracted from God’s word today, so I will do things Satan’s way.”

          While God has breathed-out his words for us to live by, Satan is working to steal, kill and destroy our relationship to God’s words (Jn 10:10). He is prowling around the church like a roaring lion looking for prey, hoping to devour people’s lives (I Pt 5:8). In the book of Revelation he is pictured as the red dragon, that ancient serpent, the devil who is constantly and furiously trying to destroy the work of God (Rev 12).

          Here is how God describes the people who are victorious over the red dragon: they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (vs 11). We must come to the word of God in order to experience the blood of the Lamb cleansing us from sin; and we must come to the word of God in order to have words for our own testimony. As soon as believers spend some morning time meditating on the word of God they have a testimony of how the words that come from the mouth of God are at work in their souls. Satan will do anything to shut down such a testimony. We must receive Isaiah’s trumpet call: To the teaching and to the testimony!” (Is 8:20)

          As I begin meditating on the book of Revelation today, John tells us that his part in the presentation of this Scripture was that he: “bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (1:2). John was actually in exile on an Island “on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1:9). Let us all be devoted to meditating on the breathed-out Scriptures so we can follow John’s example of living by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

          From my heart, Monte

© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~