Lighting Up the Apocalypse 36: New Heaven and New Earth

Rev 21:1-8;  Is 65-66; Col 1:19-20; Eph 3:10; 2 Pet 3:12-13;  Heb 11:10, 16; 12:22: 13:14 The last two chapters of the book of Revelation bring us to the eschatological mystery, showing us, so far as we are able to see it, our great hope. They concern heaven and earth, the past giving way to an eternal present, everlasting water, a high mountain, holiness, brilliance, God’s care for each of us, and…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 35: The Thousand Years and “Unto Ages of Ages”

Rev. 20:1-15; Psalm 85:10-11; Isaiah 66:24 Revelation 20 leads us not only into the vivid climax of the Apocalypse, but into two heated debates among those who name Christ. The chapter describes the subduing, the final hurrah, and the total demise of Satan (with those who adhere to him), the living rule of the saints, and the final judgment in which Hades and death are obliterated. As these elements are described in…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 34: Open Heaven, the White Rider with Many Names, and the Lake of Fire

Rev 19:11-21, Psalm 72/71:2, Psalm 44/5:3-5, Isaiah 63:1-3 Our passage for today, Rev. 19:11-21, begins with great drama.  So far, as we have beheld wonders through the eyes of John, we have seen a door open in heaven, the tabernacle of witness opened, and the temple opened.  Now we hear that heaven itself is opened, and we see its greatest treasure, the LORD Jesus himself, come to rescue His own.  Here is…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 33: Hallelujah Choruses, the Bride Who Clothes Herself, and the Invitation

Rev 19:1-10,  Isaiah 61:10, Genesis 3:21, Matthew 16:27, 1 Peter 5:5 After two chapters focussed upon the sordid state of Babylon and her condemnation, we move on in Revelation 19 to joy.  The passage includes three “hallelujah choruses,” a description of the glorious Bride of Christ to come, and an invitation to the blessed who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. We have already spoken about the danger of…

Liberty, Welcome, and Pastoral Wisdom: In Gratitude to our Fathers of the OCA Holy Synod

At the recent All American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, a resolution was put forward that fell under the purview of the bishops, rather than the entire enclave.  Many of us (not only in the OCA, but in other jurisdictions) are enormously grateful for the quick response of the bishops regarding these questions of sexuality and the teaching in the Church, and for the resultant statement (https://www.oca.org/holy-synod/statements/holy-synod/holy-synod-issues-statement-on-same-sex-relationships-and-sexual-identity?fbclid=IwAR1E-7wZi0Dh5ojr-d4VVFygBe3Z6eyuMojos5tk0ocxS02bSiT0thmB6NI). In contrast to…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 32: Babylon, Three Woes and a Funeral

Revelation 18:9-24; Amos 3:15-4:2 In the beginning of chapter 18, we witnessed God’s judgment upon Babylon.  Now, in verse 9 and through the rest of chapter 18,  we hear the response of those who colluded with her, and the response of those who are loyal to the LORD. Much of this chapter presents itself to us as a threefold lament such as one might hear at a funeral, though without the usual…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 31: Three Speeches About Babylon

Revelation 18: 1-8,  Is 13:21-22, 47:7-9, Hosea 2, Malachi 3  Many of the disturbing scenes viewed in the Apocalypse give the sense that this is “just the way the world is:” godly people, as well as faithless people, can expect suffering.  The devil has “come down,” after all, in wrath, with the intent to destroy as many as possible (Rev 12:12).  But in chapter 18, the tide is turning.  In chapter seventeen…