Because I was born in the 80’s and raised in the 90’s, I remember the turn of the millennium quite vividly. I also grew up in a Christian family and was exposed to a fair number of movies from the Left Behind series. This series depicted the coming of the anti-Christ, and subsequent end of the world. The movie began with a rapture of all those who had placed their faith in Jesus as Christ. Those who were not true believers were left behind, hence the title. As a fairly immature believer, I did not have a sufficient hermeneutical (methodical interpretation of scripture) or eschatological (relating to the end times) understanding of Scripture to truly understand the movie. At the time, I only knew I wanted to be with the Lord if/when the rapture occurred. In the worst case scenario my plan was to escape to a remote location and refuse to accept the mark of the beast at all costs.
Since that time, I have grown as a Christian and developed a deeper understanding of Scripture. Still, I must admit that Revelation is not a book of the Bible I frequently read or study. This sermon series on Revelation is starting to further open my eyes to scriptural insights of which I was previously unaware, thereby deepening my appreciation of the book. For example, I had never considered viewing Revelation as a picture to be observed; rather than puzzle to be put together. When viewing Revelation as a puzzle, I focused on trying to decipher the identity of the seven churches, or determining the time of Jesus’ return.
After the first couple of sermons in this series, I’ve been challenged to focus on valuing the majesty of God instead of trying to place all the metaphorical clues together. Appreciating that we serve a God that is faithful through tribulation and has set forth a plan to lovingly care for us makes me want to praise Him for His goodness. Along the way, I plan to meditate and discuss the Revelation sermons with those around me so that I can work to sharpen my knowledge; as Scripture says, “iron sharpens iron.” I hope that this will be a Church wide goal as we tackle the book of Revelation over the next few Sundays.