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Become a Lifelong Seeker - The Book of Revelation
Week 50, 2016
We have spent a year on this study and are barely through the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation—and we have covered these in a very cursory way. There is much more that we did not have time to delve into, but in the rest of Revelation, these periods are repeated with increasing insight into them. Having established principles and factors, we will be able to go back and fill in many of the details.
Do we have time to approach it like this? Yes, we have plenty of time. With the foundational principles laid out in the first three chapters, we will be able to go faster now. We can also take time to link everything to the practical, seeing how they apply to the unfolding events of today and where they are leading us.
When studying biblical prophecy, we become aware of how English translations of the Bible can be inaccurate. For example, words translated “world” may not mean the earth, but rather speak more of a time than a place, such as an age. Sometimes they are more accurately translated as “order” and speak of a specific order on the earth rather than the whole world, as the translation implies.
But isn’t a basic Reformation doctrine that the Scriptures are perfect and infallible? Yes, but in the original languages. The Greek and Hebrew languages tend to be far more detailed and expressive than English. For example, there are five Greek words for “love,” and each expresses a different kind of love. Most of these mistranslations do not affect the practical doctrine for basic Christian living, but when you get into understanding biblical prophecy, they can be challenging and take a deeper study for the serious seeker.
We have the great blessing of Bible computer programs that enable us to search out the meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew words in seconds. We also have many scholars and teachers who have spent years, and often decades, doing in-depth studies that they put into books that we can read in hours. Much of what I put into this study is the result of decades of study that I try to convey in a way that can be absorbed in a few minutes a week. This is part of saving the best wine for last.
Even though knowledge is increasing very fast—and we seem to be in the times when the seals are being broken and understanding is being given to ancient prophecies—there will always be a place for in-depth pondering and reflection on the word and taking our insights to Him in prayer. No amount of technology or resources can ever be a substitute for the Holy Spirit.
We must also keep in mind that as much knowledge as we gain, we only know in part. No one person has the entire picture. We must remain humble enough to learn from others. On my nearly half century journey in search of this to truth, I have learned that those who often have the next part that I need are those by whom I am repelled by at first. They may hold to some things that I disagree with, or even have methods of interpretation I’m not comfortable with. Yet when I have persevered in these relationships, I have inevitably found some real treasures.
This does not mean that I may not still disagree with them on what bothered me at first, but I have learned to respect everyone that is a genuine seeker because God has promised that if we seek we will find. However, this does not mean that everyone who has found something is perfect in their understanding, including myself.
In the next couple of weeks, we will wrap up our study of the Seven Churches and go on to the rest of Revelation—making where we are now, and where we going, more clear. Even though most of what was predicted in the Book of Revelation may have happened, the most important and most exciting of all events is yet to come. There is much work to do to get ready for them.
next week 51