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Browsing a Book

CONCLUSION (Armageddon book)

Seeing the word conclusion as my topic makes me feel intimidated. How can I conclude anything about an effort to understand the book of Revelation? Revelation is open-ended. How I feel about it can’t be settled once and for all. The book changes with the times.

Yet it seems good to reach some conclusion about why I wanted to teach a class about Revelation at all. First, it was the book in the Bible that made me afraid that my God isn’t good. I didn’t like that feeling so I needed to try to understand the book.

During the seventeen years, I have been teaching the Bible as Cultural Literature, I have learned a lot. I stopped blaming the God of the universe for the problems of the world. Discussion topics promoting honest self-examination left everyone free to question their beliefs without fear. It was clear the Spirit of Love is not injured when humanity questions its goodness—or even its very existence. We all know honest questioning is an honorable act.

Motivated by that atmosphere, I tackled Revelation. I spent lots of time looking up all the scripture references in the margins so I would understand what John’s vision was based upon. Then I did the rest of my homework and prepared the course.

After studying, preparing, and teaching the course, I realized the popular Western belief that God stands ready to destroy his creation is only a belief. It is not substantiated by the book of Revelation.

Many careless readings of John’s message made me hold on to the preconceived notions of Armageddon that drowned out good reading comprehension.

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was  a  white  horse,  whose  rider  is  called  Faithful and True. With justice, he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns . . . He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations." (Rev. 19:11-15, NIV)

When I decided to teach Revelation, I had to understand Armageddon. I realized Christ’s weapon was the sword of truth carried in his mouth and that his white robe was stained with blood from his own self-sacrifice. Seeing Christ’s army dressed in spotless, fine white linen, I understood Christ’s army doesn’t have bloody victims. Their uniforms are spotless white.

My conclusion is that the Battle of Armageddon is a different kind of war, a war fought daily by Christ and his army of truth-bearers sharing the goodness of God with people everywhere. How long is it going to take for the sword of truth to change collective thought? We don’t know, but fortunately, the book of Revelation will be around to point the way to New Jerusalem!

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