Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, October 24, 2014

Seals and Reveals

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it – Revelation 5:1-3

The scroll, as Matthew Henry says, represents the secret purposes of God about to be revealed.  Even when the scroll is opened, everything is not disclosed at the same time.  I was, like a lot of American Protestants, taught a Dispensational view of Scripture.  The seven seals of this scroll would seem to align with such an interpretation.  God’s revelation of Himself has progressed, building -- to take Isaiah out of context, line upon line and precept upon precept.   

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that Dispensationalism is probably misguided, but I don’t worry about it much anymore either way.  I’ve adopted a sort of Pan-Tribulation approach.  We’re going to have some trouble, but it will all pan out in the end.

It seems to me that the important thing is that God wants to reveal Himself and His purposes, but His creatures tend to be intimidated or to misunderstand.  We are neither worthy nor willing to break the seals.  True prophets tend to be not volunteers but draftees.  It was only after he had confessed his “unclean lips” and been purged with fire that Isaiah had the nerve to say, “Here I am!  Send me.”  (Isaiah 6:8)  Moses tried to his best to avoid the job.  Jeremiah claimed he was too young.  Ezekiel just freaked out.  Amos would have happily gone back to picking figs and herding sheep.  Jonah ran, determined to get as far in the opposite direction as possible. 

It falls to the Anointed One (Hebrews 10:5-7):

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

In Christ, all those things in God’s revelation, in the Law and the Prophets which were sealed and hidden are unveiled.  It would be nice, I suppose, to know what the future holds.  It’s enough of a draw to most people that some Christian writers and speakers are able to make a fair living off “prophecy” books and conferences.  Like John, we may be distraught that we cannot grasp these mysteries until we realize that all we have to do is look to the Cross and to the Crucified and Risen Lamb.

Our future and our destiny is in the Lord for …we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).  We struggle along in this world with all its deception and guile, but the Incarnation, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the guarantee that truth exists and that it will be revealed to us as we are able to comprehend it, as we … grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Ephesians 4:15).  He is the Omega as well as the Alpha; the Word Incarnate, He has our future right here. 


robinstarfish said...

I can no longer read Revelation without hearing Johnny Cash.

I don't think it's a stretch to suggest he was cut from the same cloth as Moses, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

Rick said...

About knowing the future:
When I look back at my worst days, had I known they were coming, I would not have faced them after a good nights sleep.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Over the years I have come to the conclusion that Dispensationalism is probably misguided, but I don’t worry about it much anymore either way. I’ve adopted a sort of Pan-Tribulation approach. We’re going to have some trouble, but it will all pan out in the end."

I like that, Pan-tribulation approach. I have the same approach but I had no name for it, until now.
Thanks Mushroom!

mushroom said...

That's true about Cash. He had that kind of a slightly scary edge where you weren't sure if he was a little nuts or understood something you didn't. Or both.

Thanks, guys.

Rogelio Bueno said...

Well said Mushroom.
Joan and I spent the early years of our marriage in a fairly large Charismatic church. We we had our fair share of "granola" Christians in the group and would have an odd ball preacher now and then but by and large we grew spiritually under solid Biblical teaching and powerful praise and worship. With all of that there was also a good dose of Dispensationalism. "Christians didn't have to suffer but were going to be raptured before God's wrath was poured out on the Earth.
It never set well with me and then one day a visiting preacher told us that the U.S. and Great Briton were the only countries that believed in the "rapture" and that people in other countries didn't because they were already suffering great tribulation.
Nailed it for me.

mushroom said...

My financial adviser goes and preaches in places like China. He had just gotten back from a trip last time I was in talking to him about a year ago. That is exactly what he said. The Christians there, the Christians in the Middle East, the ones in Nigeria, they are in tribulation.

The antichrists of Islam are cutting off heads right now. If it were happening in Alabama, would the Baptists and the AG think they had missed the Rapture?

It did just happen in Oklahoma, come to think of it. Next time I'm in Springfield, I'll drive by Headquarters and see if anybody is still going in to work.

Anonymous said...

Rapture? Why would a human think that was about them?

There is a damned War going on. And time, and past, and future, are relocation of those that do not die until commanded.

You will see. I pray you will remember, and make sense of it.

Maybe what you were supposed to be before all the falling and thinking still matters. There was never much hope, many arguments. Your world is trying to become another. Hard to stay out of it.