This week we begin a new series focused on connecting some of the biggest summer movies to the most feared book in the Bible … Revelation. Welcome to Apocaflix!
I wonder what your personal experience with the book of Revelation looks like. I wonder how many times you’ve sat under the care and instruction of preachers and teachers who have attempted to communicate the wild and woolly thing that is the final punctuation to the Holy Bible. How many of those times did you leave encouraged in your walk with Jesus? How many times did you leave thoroughly confused, or consumed by an overwhelming sense of urgency to close all your bank accounts, abandon your home, buy 25 flats of water at Sam’s Club and head for higher ground?! Or far worse … how many times did you leave fearful?
Our hope and desire in these next several weeks, is that you come to see the book of Revelation as an approachable and inspiring story … one that gives you hope. An epic story of a God who is absolutely in control of this world we live in and who is actively working his plan to redeem and pursue us.
In our summer blockbuster focus for this week (X-Men: Days of Future Past), we meet a character (Professor Xavier) who finds himself in dire circumstances and has all but completely lost hope. and the plan and heroic efforts to restore that hope and engage him in the battle again. In many ways the story of Revelation follows a very resonant arch. God is trying, through this book, to give hope and encouragement to His people … a people who were increasingly losing hope.
In order to understand the book of Revelation more clearly, it’s essential to set the context into which this epic story is revealed. The Jewish people are living in the midst of the Roman empire, a civilization unmatched to that point in human history. There had been other empires that had come and gone, but the Romans definitely raised the bar to a whole new level. The Jews lived within the physical boundaries of the Roman empire, but were absolutely second class citizens. To be a Jew and proclaim a belief in a King that was one of your own, who died on a cross and then rose again from the dead was to be little more than a mockery. And not only that, to be a believer meant you were also a persistent thorn in the side of an all-powerful empire that saw your belief system as a growing threat. Is it any wonder that hope was eroding? What must it have been like to live with an increasing sense of discouragement and a feeling that you were powerless to do anything about it.
It is into this context that Jesus reveals himself to the apostle John, peels back the veil that is the world he knows and gifts a glimpse into the very real and present throne room of God. The words in Chapters 4 and 5 of Jesus’ revelation to John explode off the page with imagery that is almost too vivid and intense to take in. Make sure you watch the video above, and put yourself in John’s place as you intently listen to the recitation. Remove all other distractions and let the words wash over your spirit.
As you consider the conditions Jewish believers experienced living amid the Roman empire, do they at all resonate with where you find yourself right now? We live in arguably the greatest nation on earth. The most powerful beacon for freedom and prosperity the world has ever known. Maybe you feel a bit (or a lot) like the Jewish believer in those days. I desperately pray that, if nothing else over the next several weeks, the truth that this world is simply a curtain, a veil, a facade comes into vivid focus in your life. That you experience the grand truth that there is so much more to this life than the tangible things that have become your daily existence. Dear friend, be encouraged and assured from this bold and brilliant revelation of God, that…
| God is on his throne!
| God has a plan, and He is working His plan!
| Everything will declare God’s glory!
There is no doubt that the everlasting God is right here and right now sitting on His throne! He has a plan and He is actively working that plan, even in the utter chaos that we sometimes see the world to be (remember, it’s just a facade!). So here is a very specific challenge to you … today (and for as many today’s as God has numbered for you) don’t live like you belong here. Don’t live like this is your home. You are a citizen of the kingdom of heaven! There is certainly an everyday that you have to navigate; there are responsibilities to others and the temporal “stuff” of this world, but none of it should define what is “home” to you. I challenge you to live as though all of it is just a veil; one that is currently obscuring the view of the “far more” that God has for you and for us. Live as though the most impressive monuments in this life are a mere shadow of the very real throne room of your God.
This revelation was given to a believer in Jesus Christ to give hope and encouragement to all believers. This epic story, however, also brings unquestionable and eternal consequences that would rightly strike fear in the hearts of those who do not already know God, and have a personal relationship with Jesus. If you are that person, fear not … Jesus is only a breath away. And what we want more than anything else, is to introduce you to the One who can give you hope and life like no one or nothing else can. Reach out to us today!