“Surely, I Am Coming Soon” (Revelation 22.6–21)

  At long last, we come to the end of John’s Apocalypse.   Let us take a moment to review:   In chapters 1–3, John gave us a picture of Jesus Christ in glory, writing letters to the seven churches of Roman Asia, calling them to courage and steadfastness in their practice of faith. Revelation 4.1–8.5 portrayed Christ as the slain Lamb worthy to break the seven seals and so reveal the divinely ordered course of history. In 8.6–11.19, seven angelic trumpet blasts herald the beginning of the New Age in which “the kingdom of the world has become the … Continue reading “Surely, I Am Coming Soon” (Revelation 22.6–21)

The Healing of the Nations (Revelation 22.1–6)

  Several years ago, I presided over the funeral of a twenty-six-year-old mother to five who had died suddenly and unexpectedly the week before, perhaps of a brain aneurysm. Her oldest stepdaughter was fourteen, her youngest son almost two. Ten years earlier, that same woman’s mother and father had died within one month of each other, leaving her and her two brothers orphans. The tragedy of the mother had become the tragedy of the daughter too.   The world is not supposed to work that way, but it does. Parents are not supposed to die before their children, but they … Continue reading The Healing of the Nations (Revelation 22.1–6)

Why Asking Questions May Be a Bad Idea

Over at the FutureAG blog, Tory Farina posts six questions he wants candidates for the Assemblies of God’s next general superintendent to answer. I think that’s a bad idea. Here’s my response. Tory: As I wrote in an email to you, I’m opposed to asking these kind of questions of the candidates for several reasons: 1. The AG has a longstanding tradition that prospective national officers do not candidate for office. This has served the denomination well so far, and it fits within the biblical qualifications for office, which focus on character and proven competence rather than vision and future … Continue reading Why Asking Questions May Be a Bad Idea

The New Jerusalem (Revelation 21.9–27)

  I have traveled to Israel six or seven times. The first time was the summer of 1982 when I lived with thirty other teenagers in Beit Jala, on the West Bank, building a “chicken coop” for a Christian school. The coop—or “poultry operations building” as we jokingly called it—would house several thousand chickens and provide a steady stream of income to the school.   On the weekends, we got to go into town, which normally meant Bethlehem—the closest large city—but often meant Jerusalem. Several of us would pile on a public bus to make the hour-long trek to Arab … Continue reading The New Jerusalem (Revelation 21.9–27)

Newness and No-more-ness (Revelation 21.1–8)

For some time now, as we studied Revelation together, we have been reading seemingly endless scenes of judgment, of both the earthly and hellish variety. How many times has John spoken of war? How many times of drought, famine, pestilence, and plague? How many times has he mentioned the persecution of the saints and the final destruction of their enemies? Revelation 6–20 deals out dead and judgment in copious amounts and scrupulous detail.   And suddenly it is over.   With the simple turning of a page, John opens our eyes to new and glorious things: a new Jerusalem, a … Continue reading Newness and No-more-ness (Revelation 21.1–8)

The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20.11–15)

  I have served on three juries over the past few years, one of which heard a civil case, the other two criminal cases. It is difficult to sit in judgment on a fellow human being, to make decisions about actions that may affect his or her freedom. In one of the criminal cases—the defendant was accused of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell it—we found the man guilty. Although I do not know what the man’s sentence was, I assume it involved jail time.   That man’s case was interesting. He was an older man, an artist, who … Continue reading The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20.11–15)