Monday, August 25, 2014

DAY 825 - Don't Make This Big Mistake! (請按此處收聼廣東話Cantonese podcast click here)

                         Today's Reading: Revelation 17:9-18

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Please click this link to read Revelation 17:9-18

Bible Study

     You can look at today's passage from a human's angle and would go deep into a black hole of never ending guessing about who would be the seven heads, seven kings, ten kings and other mystical figures. The terrible work of the beast and the whore is to bring in all those destructions through those kings. 

     The wonderful and miracle work of God is to bring salvation through the lamb.  So, how about looking from God's angle just to focus on Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings? We as human beings have been making lots of huge mistakes and today's passage can give us one clue of one of the biggest mistakes. Bishop N.T. Wright gives us a powerful explanation about a big mistake the Anglican Church made a few hundred years ago in the high altar in Westminster Abbey. A really big mistake and it is still there if you visit Westminster Abbey. Actually Michelle and I saw the Queen of England there in the front door of Westminster Abbey this May, just 3 1/2 months ago. 

Let's take a look at what Bishop N.T. Wright says ( ) :
      Inscribed over the high altar in WestminsterAbbey, one of the most famous churches in the world, is the King James Version translation of Revelation 11, verse 15, which reads, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.'  It is an impressive text for an impressive location, looking down as it does not only on the altar and its magnificent surroundings but on the Cosmati pavement in front of it, where for a thousand years kings and queens have been crowned.  The text is designed as a solemn reminder to these monarchs, and to their subjects, that their crowns are at best temporary and in any case borrowed.  The sovereignty, the kingdom, belongs to the one true God and to his Messiah.
     However, the Greek text which King James's translators were using was wrong.  As virtually all other Greek manuscripts of the New Testament indicate, the word 'kingdom' should be singular, not plural.  In any case, as the translators knew, it only occurs one in the verse; they put the second 'kingdoms' in italics, to show that they were adding it to help the sentence to make, in English, the sense it clearly made in the Greek.
     My point in drawing attention to this curiosity is not simply the mild frustration that Westminster Abbey should have a wrong reading in such a prominent and powerful place.  It is, rather, that it matters quite a lot that 'kingdom' here is singular.  The vision which John is passing on is a cosmic, global vision and the 'kingdom' which God has established through his Messiah is not simply a collection of kingdoms, ruling over this nation and that.  It is his universal rule, scooping up 'the kingdom of the world' as a single entity and claiming it back as his own rightful property. 

N.T. Wright. Revelation for Everyone. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011, p.102-103.

Then, let take a look at what bishop Wright says about today's passage:

    The lamb will conquer them, because he is 'King of kings and Lord of lords', and those with him are called, chosen and faithful.  The lamb will conquer them, of course, by the same method by which he has always conquered: by his own blood, and by the blood of his own, the martyrs who remain faithful…
    Those who are caught up in the resultant battles need not feel that they are merely part of a dangerous confusion, of ignorant armies chasing by night.  They are part of the lamb's victorious army, who will conquer the monster in the usual way, by his blood and by the word of their faithful testimony.  Thus it has been, and thus it will be.

N.T. Wright. Revelation for Everyone. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011, p.156-157.

      Let's take a look at the picture below, especially those small letters from Revelation 11:15 on top of the altar. The high-altar of Westminster Abbey. What have you got? 

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe":

Spiritual Journal

    The title I heard from Jesus today is: Don't make this big mistake!

    What I receive today is a big shock to me with lots of tears and really physical trembling all over the body. The Church has been making a big mistake since the 4th century when Christianity became Christendom. Kings and queens of Christian nations ruled over the world for centuries. And, those kings and queens made their kingdoms more important than Jesus' Kingdom. More than that, many Christian leaders have been leading the Church in their own way, building their own kingdoms! They stepped into the trap of the beast and the whore leading the Church into a culture on money, sex and power!

     Let's not make this big mistake and let Jesus be our Lord and King, He is surely the King of all kings and Lord of all Lords! Let's focus on Him, follow Him daily and we won't be frightened by any of those seven kings, ten kings, ten horns and what so ever. You don't need to be frightened by those threats, they will surely fight each others, "evil will turn on evil and destroy itself in the process." (N.T. Wright p. 156)

Dear Lord Jesus,
You are our Lord and King. Lead us each day that we can join in your vast army to lead a mighty victory.  In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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