Time is at Hand - 4
When was it last, my dear friend, that you turned for comfort and warning to the book of Revelation? If you would be asked to name your most favorite book which one would you name? I am sure the honest answers to these posers would reveal the general apathy even believers have towards this last book, the book of Revelation. Why should that be so?
Satan, our archenemy, has suffered a mortal blow with the release of this final book. While it is true that Christ gave him a deathblow on the cross (Heb.2: 14), the defeated foe is still allowed to walk around (1 Pet. 5:8) till his due time when he will be chained to the bottomless pit (Rev .20:2,3). Mankind would have never known his humiliating end, had not God given us the book of Revelation. Hence he opposes its record and prevents people from reading it.
Yet God has reserved a special blessing for those who would open this portion of Holy Writ and read its sacred contents. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Rev.1: 3). Public reading of the Scriptures is a practice of the early New Testament Church borrowed from the Jewish synagogues. Jews in dispersion, in order to keep the faith of their patriarchs alive kept gathering in small groups on Sabbath days. The Scripture was then publicly read. A local synagogue may have in possession only a few Scripture scrolls. As the early Scripture scrolls were hand-written the copies were few and many Jews did not have the fortune of owning them as we have today. Hence hearers were equally blessed. One may not have a copy or be a literate, yet anyone can be a hearer and doer of God's Word.
The book of Revelation is addressed to the whole humanity -the reader and the hearer. It is interesting to note that nothing is mentioned about understanding. We overstep the limits of our creaturehood when we try to size up God and His revelations according to human rationale. Where reasoning stops, revelation begins. Faith is rendered superfluous when everything could be grasped at the bar of reason. This is true of all things pertaining to divinity. This is not to suggest that God is against reason but simply that HE is much beyond our best thoughts of Him. We are time -bound mortals but HE is eternal. We are limited by space but HE is omnipresent. We suffer great limitations to our understanding but HE is Omniscient "Declaring the end from the beginning" (lsa.46: 10) .The fitting response to such Sovereign Ruler is to bow down in worship and do gladly and unreservedly His bidding. "Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of this book".
Obedience is the organ of knowledge. God does not speak to merely inform but to impact us by the Word. Biblical knowing begins with mental comprehension but it does not end there. Biblical knowing is always experiential knowing. In His High priestly prayer of John 17 Christ tells us what it means to possess life eternal. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (17:3). Knowing is possessing and enjoying divine life. One possessed and governed by divine life sets aside his natural life and acts according to the divine life principle." For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom.8:2). Divine life liberates us. Divine life and Biblical knowing always go together and such a knowing is the result of implicit obedience.
The parable of the sower in the first three Gospels emphasizes the importance of "hearing and keeping" the sayings. After narrating the parable and its meaning each Gospel writer places great emphasis on the manner of hearing. The closing instruction in Matthew 13:9 is, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear". The spiritual hearing is in view here. The Psalmist declared in Psa. 40:6 "mine ears hast thou opened". This is God's sovereign act in the life of any repentant believer: 6,3; Mark's Gospel tells us to "Take heed what ye hear" (4:24). God speaks and He expects the hearer" to give the more earnest heed ...lest at any time we should let them slip" (Heb.2: 1). The solemn words of Jeremiah speak to us the seriousness of non-attentiveness. Listen to Jeremiah 13: 15-17. "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul , shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eyes shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock is carried away captive". Luke's emphasis is to "Take heed ...how ye hear" (8:18). God never speaks to amuse us or to add to our visiting fund of knowledge. He speaks to awaken, to stir us to positive moral action.
It is written of Noah in Heb. 11: 7 that he was a man of faith. One day the warning from God came to him about a worldwide deluge. Having never seen rains or floods Noah could only imagine this global catastrophe. He could not understand but he believed. His faith brought reverential fear, which in turn stirred him to prepare a ship. He was a farmer but God commanded him to build this biggest floating vessel housing the biggest zoo. He did so and saved his house. "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:37).
Are you ready? Have you entered the Ark called Christ prepared for you at the shameful cross? "Blessed is he that heareth and keepeth the sayings of this book." Repent and run into Christ for cover, for the time is at hand.
MY PEACE I GIVE UNTO YOU - 4 - BAKHT SINGH
Fear will make you restless and take away your sleep and hunger. Fear is much more painful than any painful sickness. It affects all your nerves and the entire system of your body, and the whole body starts trembling. When fear comes in, the heart starts beating fast. You begin to think, "What is going to happen? What is going to happen?" That fear in you makes you to say that. No man can take away your fear, but the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1). All these fears will be removed one by one when you have the peace of the loving Savior in you. This is the first kind of peace that the Lord gives, His own peace.
Secondly, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful" (Col. 3:15). This peace will make you feel one with every one else. No more Tamilians or Punjabis, no more rich or poor, no more white or black, no more Telangana or Andhra, no more Komati or any other caste. All differences are removed. That is what the Scripture says. We are called in one body. No man can bring that oneness. People have tried, but they have failed. But in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be perfectly one with everyone, anywhere everywhere.
I had the privilege to visit many countries have never felt a stranger in any country. I did not know the language, but I could feel one with the believers there. No question of difference amongst us. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can make us one like this. Also the verse says, Be ye thankful (Col. 3:15). Real peace will make you thankful. There will be a note of praise and thanks- giving all the time. Otherwise, you are never satisfied. You begin the day murmuring and end the day murmuring. Always you find something wrong somewhere, either in the coffee, or rice, or rasam, or someone speaking about your head, nose, etc. But if you have real peace the Lord will teach you to be thankful in everything, in all situations, circumstances and conditions in life. We can thank God for His love, grace and mercy. Eventually everything turns out for our good.
Thirdly, this peace is for all the time. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all (2 Thess. 3:16). God Himself will give you peace, and He Himself will be with you always. This peace will make you and keep you conscious of His very presence with you at all times. There are some people who cannot sleep at night alone. They are terrified by loneliness. If there is someone at home, they are happy. They are so afraid that they must have little bulb burning all night. They are afraid of darkness. Do not think that these things will give you sleep. The Lord says, I am with you, don't be afraid. That consciousness of His presence is a wonderful thing.
Fourthly, in Phil. 4:7 we read, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". This peace will keep you strong within. It is like a strong army around you. You are safe inside. God's peace will garrison you like a big army with weapons. Let there be famine, calamity, earthquake or war, you are safe and secure. Scripture says, "But the very hairs of your Head are all numbered" (Matt.10: 30) and your tears are bottled up (Psa.56:8). You are safe in Him. Let there be any change in the world around us, we are safe in our Lord, entirely and perfectly safe