Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. – Revelation 21:1
Recently, I spoke with a gentleman who was full of praises for his optometrist. He said that he was having a lot of vision problems and was planning on traveling abroad for help, but decided to stay local. He further told me that he was ordering the frames for his eyeglasses and I jokingly told him to go Gucci, Pucci or Fendi.
In view of what is happening in our national scene, tell me what is it that you are seeing? Are you seeing newness, prosperity, kindness, honesty, love, cleanliness and awareness? Or pain, suffering, poverty, lawlessness, and doom and gloom that is so severe that your “future vision” is totally impaired?
The Book of Revelation is a prophecy – and like prophecies of the Old Testament, it has dual meanings. It first addresses the problems of the day, and then it rolls over into the future and tells of what is to be. Notice today, wherever you go, if you are just preaching the John 3:16 message, the congregation will not be overcrowded, but just announce that there will be prophetic utterings and you will have to be extra early to get a seat or parking spot!
Yes, I do believe in the prophetic word, but I tend to be like the newspaper boy who is only responsible for selling the papers and not being the writer of the editorial or the headline. The prophet gives you the straight message and does not in any way change it to suit the receiver. God said it, I believe it, and I deliver it!
I borrow from Fred D. Howard a noted theologian – John introduced and set the stage for his cosmic drama in chapter one. As a revelation or apocalypse, it was a disclosure or unveiling. Its source was God, its subject was Jesus Christ, and its purpose was to show to his servants what must soon take place.
The verb translated “must soon take place” indicates a moral and spiritual necessity. The word “soon” (with speed) may mean suddenly or certainly, but not necessarily immediately. Time from God’s viewpoint is relative. A day could mean 1,000 years – and 1,000 years as a day!
So, John is banished to this deserted island for the preaching of the gospel and without any provision for his survival. It is concluded at some time that he surely will die and rot in the sun at the pleasure of the crows. It is not until situations of indignation, oppression and total disregard for human suffering become unbearable that God out of the abyss of enough is enough comes to the aid of a people. To keep up with the sufferings of humanity at the hand of heartless leaders, drives one to the “mercy seat” on their behalf. Television is the story of the half that has never been told – but what a half!
Today, our text brings hope to decadence, despondency and despair for believers. From exiled territories by enemies of peace, love and prosperity, God is getting ready for a people to see complete newness for the now, the tomorrow and the future. Our nation must become the bastion for righteousness, peace on earth and goodwill toward all men. We must destroy hate and resurrect love. We must destroy highways of deception and build bridges of harmony. We must fill in personal pools of selfishness and construct dams that will bring dignity, decency and decorum to our people. We must arrange the head and place it in its rightful position, and no longer hail the tail to lead the way.
Father God, I thank you that I am looking far ahead of the petty things of life that lead souls astray and like John on the Isle of Patmos, see newness all around, thus displacing the darkness of strife and sadness.”