193. Keep calm and carry on

We know the drill, don’t we?  As soon as there are widespread unrest, violence, disasters and political upheaval, the voices announcing the end of the world become louder.  Some of them sound like an old-fashioned doom prophet speaking a lament over our world in a cocksure tone of voice.  These days they have many soundtracks, crying out on all types of media and social media that amplify the message.  Without the Gospel message the rantings on climate change and the general “sins” of industrial development, their message is cruelly hopeless and violently damning.  I don’t think I have ever heard so much illogical and untruthful hysteria in the media and street-voices like the cacophony that our world presented these past months.

The words of George Orwell ring true:

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.  

Could we by any chance grab hold of the normal course of life and familiar routine?  What were you doing before March 2020?  I read the other day somebody said the worst idea of 2020 was to buy a Year Planner.  We never thought that the expression: I wouldn’t touch him/her with a ten-foot pole would become a six-foot pole and international policy.

The world feels crazy.  There is much to process.  I am so aware of so many people who had to deal with death, mostly without the traditional rituals of mourning, that do make a difference in dealing with grief.  I was conscious of the whole world; people hurting and suffering, exposed to policymakers who are mostly grappling in the dark, looking to science for guidance, to make rules impacting the individual and his ability to provide for his family; rules and regulations to fight an invisible enemy with killing power.

There have been great global disasters throughout history.  There have always been the doom-songs and prophets singing them to a ready audience, fearfully frozen and eager for the next episode of the current, dramatic thriller.  They have mostly been wrong.  I say mostly since big upheavals usually bring change, not always negative.  Every set of philosophies have their own apocalyptic story that is dramatized to a convincing narrative for amplification in uncertain times.  The Babylonians and the Greeks usually announced full destruction and complete replacement.  To them the world was so evil that no god worth his name would descend and redeem it. 

It is indeed only the Christian Worldview that declare the good news that our omni-potent God can save and redeem to make something beautiful and good of this earth and its people.  I will write it again as I have done in the past.  There is no mess too big for God.

It is the principle of Isaiah 61: Beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  (61:3)

Just in the next verse God proclaims restoration.

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations
.  (Isaiah 61:4)

But we are talking about the soundtracks of life.  Whether they echo via YouTube, Facebook or Apps of chosen mentors, they are the voices that influence our life and thoughts.

Somewhere in the middle of June, a group of women who usually gather in my home throughout the summer for a Bible study when all the church activities are closed, decided to tackle the Book of Revelation again.  We studied it together in 2015 and it was written for Pebbles in 2016.  It is a great way to find calm and rest in the midst of stormy times.  It is God’s last word over the earth and everything happening here.  He is in control and will direct world events to serve his ultimate goal: salvation through the cross of Jesus.

The study followed the classical-historical approach and never attempted a dispensational timeline.  It is, however, very significant that the dispensational and may I add, sensational, predictive element in times of crisis and uncertainty becomes more widespread than ever before and that a rational analysis of an eagle’s view of history after the ascension of Jesus is not so popular.  There is always an ever-ready audience to receive the scary, conspiracy theories that accompany end-time predictions.

Whether you feel like studying Revelation or not, just note that the first five words of the book are the key to the interpretation of the whole.  Read it with care.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place…

Jesus is the mystery, God’s grand Plan for salvation and redemption.  The revelation of Jesus, his life on earth that revealed the heart of God, has to be the focus of any study of the Bible – always, without exception.  Revelation is an evangelical cry over the megaphones of heaven for the people to turn to God and for him to redeem the evil that satan and his angels pour out on mankind.

I will never claim only one way to interpret Revelation.  The words are too deep and rich for that.  There are different levels of interpretation, but to let the metaphors and symbolism shine the light on the history of the last two-thousand years since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, is an inspiration and a turbo-boost in faith.

“See” yourself behind the white horse with Jesus in front in the struggle of our day.  You are part of the saints behind the heavenly hosts who are all lead by Jesus and his Sword.  His name is THE WORD.

We are not alone and He is somewhere in heaven, the unseen where we cannot perceive him.  He is leading us in his triumph.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)

In ancient times a conquering king led his soldiers through the streets of his home city while the people cheeringly welcomed them back, throwing gifts of gratefulness over the soldiers.  Further down the line were the conquered people in chains as slaves and their king dragged behind a horse in the most humiliating way possible.  One can see a small version of this in the opera Aida.

What does it say about today and every day coming?  At our last gathering (on Zoom) we concluded that the last word on Revelation are the words of Psalms 37:1-6.  The paraphrase could be: keep calm and carry on.

1-2 Don’t bother your head with braggarts
    or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings
    and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.

3-4 Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
    settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
    get in on the best.

5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back;
    he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
    and stamp you with approval at high noon. 

(Psalms 37:1-6, The Message)

These words were written a thousand years before Christ and still ring true today.  God is the same – always.  He will provide and save and restore.  Our victory is in our own testimony.  

Let Revelation say it:

They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
    and the bold word of their witness
. (Revelation 12:11, The Message)

Every promise of God stands firm and will play out in your life if you ask him, pray it over you, believe it, confess it and not betray it with doubt and fear.  Think of it.  God has brought you to this place, this day.

Settle down and stick to your last.  Keep company with God and get in on the best.

https://youtu.be/ZOBIPb-6PTc    Hear the words they sing:

The promise still stands.  He’ll do it again.   I see You move; You’re moving mountains…

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