Spiritual Puzzling for 2021

Scripture Resource Passage: Revelation 11 As always, please the Scripture passage first and maybe even, again at the end of reading the post. You don’t want to be lost or lured into the inadequacies of my mind or any else’s.

My confession: Numerous passages in the Bible leave me puzzling. Three puzzles always show up especially when reading the book of Revelation. First, “What’s happening in this passage?” Number two: “Is there a message here for me?” Number three is a variation: “What is the message for all 21st century disciples?” Honestly, those who tell me they have everything in the Book of Revelation charted, fail to convince me. They will sometimes say, “Look at this chart!”

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                  Today, I’m seeking to discern the astounding images in Revelation 11. I feel like a kid at a circus midway overwhelmed by colors, smells, sonic blasts of uncertain origin and very loud voices. In spite of these feelings, however, I begin with full confidence that Revelation’s descriptions are the providence of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1). 

                  Confessing my limited mental spiritual acuity and being aware of my kid-like mind emphasizes my three original questions. If you find yourself likewise struggling, here’s my strategy: I seek to identify the certainties.

                  The following paragraphs are three examples of Christ’s certainties I find in Revelation 11:1-14. I trust you’ll find them helpful.

                  Certainty of place–Revelation 11 provides me with an understanding that the abode of God has the certainty being a specific place (Revelation 11:1). If a place can be measured, which is the instruction in the text, then it has substance. The temple of God is a place and time I hope to see. I believe eternal life is wherever God resides.

                  Certainty of evil–Revelation 11 emphasizes, as do other Bible passages, the certainty of a spiritual and personal evil. Revelation 11:7 speaks of the certainty of the opponent of God, cursed be his name. Life occurs with evil around us. Crushed beneath Messiah’s heel, life will flee from him (Genesis 3:15). Finally, to my faith, the greatest certainty.

                  Certainty of God’s sovereign power–Revelation 11 encourages me that the certainty of God’s power to bestow “the breath of life,” persists (Revelation 11:11). Echoes resound throughout eternity’s halls encouraging us to reminisce on passages like Genesis 2:7, Ezekiel 37:5-14

                  These things being said, I commend those of my friends who are not content to remain with my meager list of certainties. I am speaking of those who honorably, and with passion, seek greater understanding in the precision of Christ’s Revelation through our brother John. For me, and my most limited mind, I find rest, assurance and faith in God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is the strongest certainty I find in the entire text of Revelation. Truthfully, for me and possibly for you, the certainty of God’s sovereignty is a resting place.

Life Application

  1. Where do you discover a disciple’s call to obedience when Scripture’s metaphors/images are vivid and strong?
  2. Aiding my understanding and deep look into Scripture’s images has been helped by the work of various individuals. Here are three I find reliable: E.W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible—Though somewhat dated this work remains a classicRobert A. Lowery, Revelation’s Rhapsody; Listening to the Lyrics of the Lamb; D. Brent Sandy, Plowshares & Pruning Hooks, Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic. An online search will provide further publication information and purchase opportunities.

Published by Andrew Simkins

Dr. Andrew Simkins provides spiritual direction for individuals and small groups through the regular blog posts found on this site. He resides in northwest Indiana with his beloved, along with nearby children and grandchildren who are the adornment of his life.

2 thoughts on “Spiritual Puzzling for 2021

  1. Thank you! What a great start for 2021, to be reminded that there are absolute certainties! God is! God is and will always be faithful to His word! And there is certain victory ahead that will be manifested in a number of ways! (And there is the certainty that some passages of scripture will forever leaving me searching for greater understanding!)

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