by Maria Rudolph
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And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Have you ever tried to explain the taste of unfamiliar food to loved ones? ‘This crocodile meat tastes a bit like chicken, but the texture is slightly different’ is something I have been told before. It is curious: We can only use the language we know to describe the unknown. The mind seeks comparisons with familiar things to capture the new and the unfamiliar.
The gospel writer John must have operated in this way when penning the Book of Revelation. God had shown him visions about the end of time. It was all too grand, too outlandish, to put into words that could capture what he actually saw. And here we are today, reading the words, which would have made sense to an audience 2000 years ago, with a mind of the 21st century. John sees books opened before the throne of God. Immediately, my modern mind imagines printed and bound books made from paper like we are used to and have plenty of ourselves. But there was no printing press and, in fact, no bookbinding as we know it in John’s day. The ‘books’ must have been scrolls of parchment.
I wonder now what other details in the description of his visions match up with my mind’s eye. And yet, despite that, John obviously describes events of monumental dimensions. The dead will be judged, some will be thrown into the fire, and then heaven, earth and the sea will not exist in the way they do now. It’s way too much to take in. But what we can take in is this: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. That’s it. We are not required to understand mind-boggling concepts as we try and make sense of God, the past, present, future and the end times. We are simply required to have a child-like faith, put our trust in Jesus and let God do the rest. With that, the Ancient of Days seated on the throne at the end of time will welcome us into his eternal glory.
Whose salvation are you concerned about when you consider the end times? How could you reach out to them with Christ’s love today?
Mighty God, seated on the throne and surrounded by the seraphim and cherubim, I adore you. I am so thankful that you are also the same God who has made me and knows me intimately. Guide me back again and again to have a simple, child-like faith in you. Whenever my mind gets convoluted with too many airy-fairy concepts of you, lead me back to the simplicity of fixing my eyes on you and trusting you in everything. In Jesus’ name. Amen.