Home » Posts tagged 'reward'
Tag Archives: reward
Revelation is cast with vivid imagery, influenced by the backdrop of “volatile times” in Jerusalem and Rome. By illustrating a cosmic struggle with satirical exaggeration, Revelation employs symbols intended for his first century audience, not clearly understood by subsequent generations. To illustrate, the Roman instrument of execution would not be found in the “seven churches;” the symbol of the cross is not found anywhere in the text. The “beast” (Rev. 17:7) and the “antichrist” (1 John 4:3) were understood to be Rome and Nero and Peter had already designated Rome as “Babylon” (1 Pet. 5:13). Demystifying the symbols allows the reader to again focus on the central figure, the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), the One “who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8).
This powerful portrayal of the incarnation is coupled to John’s warning to the churches of the dangers of false “Gnostic” teachings, which inevitably lead to a lack of concern for Christ’s mission to all humanity. John reveals that the One who “emptied himself…being born in human likeness” (Phil. 2:7) is eternally incarnate, “every eye will see him” (Rev. 1:7). However, he is not merely physical; he does not only “seem” to have suffered physically. Likewise, he is not only spiritual. He is personal, a living soul who “became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). The revelation of Jesus’ incarnation confounds false teachings of dualism; he is God and human enthroned.
Today congregations are caught in a similar conflict between two extremes: One is the “secular” materialist view, which denies the miraculous, including the resurrection; and the other is the “super-spiritual” view, which tends to minimize Jesus’ incarnation and an ethical commitment to the surrounding world. The book of Revelation is about the “time” of “wrath” and “reward” for “all who fear [his] name, both small and great,” and included in that time of wrath is the destruction of “those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18). The severe warning to John’s audience and churches today is this: distorting the truth of the incarnation will separate followers from Christ, from the reality of this life, and from responsibility for all of life. Failing to teach the incarnation leads to idolatry and immorality.
See more at http://johnthenry.wordpress.com