Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 New Testament Challenge – Day 39 (Reflections on Revelation 1-11)

Every year I participate in a special effort called the New Testament Challenge sponsored by a priest of the Orthodox Church in America. He encourages Christians to spend the Christmas Fast, also known as Advent) reading the entire New Testament as a preparation for Christmas. Each year I have done this, it has been blessing to me and I pray this year will be no different. As part of the New Testament Challenge, I endeavor to blog a bit about the reading for that particular day. I may miss a few, but I pray for those who follow this blog (NOW ALSO ON FACEBOOK) it will be a blessing.

If you’ve been a follower of my blog for any length of time, you already know I don’t make it a habit of publicly preaching/blogging about Revelations. It is the ONLY New Testament book not publicly read aloud in the Lectionary of the Church. (meaning the chanter doesn’t read it during the services in the same way the other New Testament books are read) It is only excerpted by including certain verses in prayers, hymns and Holy Icons. You will find some people preach/teach about it, but I have found that if the Church’s wisdom proves correct, there is a good reason it isn’t read publicly any longer in the Church. The basic reason for this, by the way, is to avoid its abuse. There was a time (and it seems to be here again with certain Churches) that Christians attempted to predict the return of Christ, or even to frighten Christians into submission. Since it is a book of prophesy and allegory, it isn’t possible to predict its outcome, especially since Christ said we wouldn’t know when He was returning. He even said,
Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. …the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of.” (Matthew 24.4-50)
So if Christ won’t tell, why should we try? Don’t be deceived by ANYONE (Orthodox or not) who tries to convince you that he knows the time of Christ’s return.

So today I just want to remind you of the ancient Holy Tradition of the Church – BE READY! What we can definitely understand from Revelation is that Christ IS returning, and He WILL judge the entire creation. And since we don’t know exactly WHEN….let’s just be ready NOW so we don’t have to worry about it. That’s the emphasis we can understand.

Until tomorrow…..Remember being prepared for Christmas is just a hint of what we are REALLY preparing for.

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