Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#563. Who can read this Small (apocalyptic) Bible of the Lamb and not be genuinely impressed? The Apocalypse is without an equal in the entire history of literature. Where has any human mortal ever written anything to compare to it? Can it be seriously thought that this old man at the end of the First Century, a former fisherman on the waters of Galilee, could compose such a document himself? Read all the religious and inspirational literature in the world, and find a single one that can even approach this monumental work. It does not take much for sincere believers to see within the Apocalypse the breath of God in inspiration. (2 Timothy 3:16 KIT)
#564. We reflect for a moment in concluding our journey through the Apocalypse and we remember what we have not heard or seen. It may have come as a surprise we have not found the phrases “last days” or “end of the world.” We have not seen within these inspired pages a description of a conflagration in which the whole world ends. We have not found the word Antichrist. Nor have we seen one particular sect identified as the only true religion. We have seen there is no chronological system for computing the end of the world, or the Parousia of Christ pinpointing the year 2,001, or 2012, or any other year. Those years in the past which were proclaimed as the “day and hour” of Christ’s Arrival or Return -- 1820, 1844, 1874, 1884, 1914, 1918, 1926, 1940, 1975, 1984 -- have provided broken dreams of a “great disappointment.” Four times the Lamb says, “I am coming suddenly.” (Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 12)
#565. This does not mean there will never be “last days” or an “end-time.” That will arrive within that “generation” which lives to experience the Great Oppression and the Return of Christ. (Matthew 24:29-31) This does not mean a “world” will not “end.” That “generation” of lamenting tribes who experience the celestial darkness (Matthew 24:30) and the descent of that Cubic City New Jerusalem will witness the collapse of all earth’s cities. (Revelation 16:19) However, the Lord’s words ring in our ears: ‘Take heed you are not deceived, for many will come in my name, professing, “I am the Anointed,” and (proclaiming), “The Time Is At Hand!” DO NOT FOLLOW THEM!’ (Luke 21:8 BY) This ought to give us the balance to be on guard against those modern “prophets.” Against those who claim to be “channels” for God or Christ. Or those with their bold assertions that they are “the anointed,” and predict we are already in the “last days” and the “end of the world is upon us.” The Nazarene has told you what not to do: “DO NOT FOLLOW THEM!” Certainly, that would include not supporting their false platform financially. There are too many orphans and widows in real need to continue these false prophets in their lifestyles. (James 1:27-29)
#566. Well, are we nearing those foretold apocalyptic events? Of course, we are “nearing” them because we are moving historically forward, toward that apocalyptic future. Do we long for our own relief and the Return of our Lord as he promised? Yes, and we cry out with John’s same passion: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Or, in Paul’s simple call, Maranatha! Are we authorized to predict a certain generation as the last one, so that we can assert all of this will be realized in our own lifetimes? We answer firmly, based on our own conviction in the Nazarene’s warning at Luke 21.8, “No!” How can we know more than God? More than our Lord? More than the angels? (Matthew 24:36) Who could be so presumptuous to claim to be a prophet while their prophecies have proved false? (Deuteronomy 18:21-23) One claimed1103 to actually be the Lamb of chapter five, only to die in a fiery conflagration near Waco, Texas. Who could be so arrogant to insist in the tyrannical authority that they alone have calculated some time-chronology which would pinpoint the Parousia of Christ? One claimed to actually be the Angel of Laodicea, not realizing such an angel came in for Christ’s denunciation. (Revelation 3:14-18) “DO NOT FOLLOW THEM!” Could anything be plainer?
|1103||CLAIMED. There are four religions which are considered truly American in that they were originally “formed” in the United States from about the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Today they all have millions in their membership. It is interesting that three of the founders were former “spiritualists” and the fourth trusting in pyramidology to confirm his prophecies.|
#567. Some will argue here that though one may not know the “day and hour” the “season” can be known? Many prophets speak on this. But, what did the Nazarene say? Compare Acts 1:6, 7: ‘When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: "Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?" He said to them: "It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.’ Can any Christian Saint know the “season”? Why believe, or follow, any charismatic leader who contradicts the Lord himself?
#568. Christians around the globe hold firmly to a great conviction that those things foretold in the Apocalypse will finally come true. Do we long for this in our own lifetimes, yearning for it with eager expectation? Of course, we do. No matter when the Lord arrives, it will come “suddenly” (or, quickly) on that “day you did not think it to be.” The Nazarene taught his Return as the Master of the Household of Faith would arrive on such a day, or evening, during various watches of that day (afternoon, midnight, or dawn), that could not be predicted. (Mark 13:35, 36)
#569. There is a powerful tension between our eager expectation of his Return and our ignorance of the exact timing. However, if disciples of the Nazarene remain on guard -- alert, awake, and in expectation -- then when the Christ Arrives he will not find us asleep in our convictions. Certainly, many Christians who live in expectation of Christ’s Coming draw some comfort from the ongoing trends in world events. It would seem the planet is being prepared for those things we have seen in the Apocalypse. As one sees the development of a powerful one-world government, without any military competitors, who has the ability to economically control the earth, and who can call fire down from heaven, then one could expect the Great Oppression is not far behind. If that coming holocaust made its obvious appearance, then, and only then, could the Christian Saint begin to rise and look upward for the dimming of heaven’s light.
#570. While awaiting these momentous events we can enjoy those apocalyptic happiness promised in the Seven Beatitudes. Think about them.
#571. (1) READ THE BOOK! Revelation 1:3: ‘Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and who observe the things written in it; for the appointed time is near.’
#572. (2) KEEP AT YOUR LABORS! Revelation 14:3: ‘Happy are the dead who die in union with the Lord from this time onward. Yes, says the spirit, let them rest from their labors, for the things they did go right with them.’
#573. (3) STAY AWAKE! Revelation 16:15: ‘Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments, that he may not walk naked and people look upon his shamefulness.’
#574. (4) REMEMBER YOUR INVITATION! Revelation 19:9: ‘Happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb's marriage.’
#575. (5) KEEP THE HOPE! Revelation 20:6: ‘Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.’
#576. (6) OBSERVE THE WORDS! Revelation 22:7: ‘Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.’
#577. (7) BATHE IN FAITH! Revelation 22:14: ‘Happy are those who wash their robes, that the authority to go to the trees of life may be theirs and that they may gain entrance into the city by its gates.’
#578. What are we to do now? Where are we to go? The Apocalypse has presented a well-defined outline of that character which marks a true Saint, one of the “people who are the Saints of the Most High.” (Daniel 7:22, 27) Those Christine Epistles in chapters two and three, as well as the numerous exhortations throughout the body of the Lamb’s Small (apocalyptic) Bible, have highlighted what is to be done. This definition of the Nazarene Saint [or, Friends of the Nazarene] has nothing to do with that part of Harlot Religion. It has nothing to do with what you belong to, but what you are. It is not a question of where you are to go, but to whom you should go. (John 6:68)
#579. What is required of you could be summarized by 1 John 3:23: ‘This is God’s commandment: believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ; and, love one another.’ When viewed this way it is no longer a matter of a certain religion, church, sect, or organization. It is a matter of who you are: a person of faith characterized by love. This faith and love will manifest itself in certain primary ways.
#580. Paul wrote with such strong conviction: ‘I believed and so I spoke.’ (2 Corinthians 4:12, 13) One of the strongest evidence of faith or conviction is enthusiastic speech about one’s beliefs. The deeper this faith, the more you will talk. You will not be able to help yourself. Nothing will frighten you. Just speak your faith and others will come to believe it also. If a Christian begins to speak less and less about the Nazarene and his hope, it may indicate his faith is ill and needs to be strengthened by letting those spiritual waters flow through him.
#581. Endurance and faith are words which occur often in the Apocalypse and often in association. It is not enough to begin the Christian faith with enthusiasm and zeal. The Christian race is not a sprint but a marathon. There is a balance one must maintain between the desire for the Lord’s Return and those many years of life which may still be ahead. There are many trials and temptations along that road called Life. And it cares not whether you are a Christian. You must take Life as it comes with the indwelling Christ providing you that daily strength.
#582. How does one endure in faith? Remember God’s grand eternal purpose is summed up in Paul’s phrase, after all enemies have been conquered, that “God become everything to everyone.” (1 Corinthians 15:28) Is that true of your life now? Think: does my life demonstrate that God is my absolute Center? Is this true in all layers of my life’s activities? Home, work, school, play, community, worship? Yes, God remains the Center of the faithful person.
#583. The second matter regarding love is also manifest by certain attitudes and characteristics. There are only two groups to love: those who love you, and this is normal but without “credit” (Matthew 5:46); and those who do not love you, and where rests the challenge. (Luke 6:32-36) The Nazarene taught four ways to love those who do not love you: 1) do good to them; 2) lend secretly expecting nothing in repayment; 3) greet those strangers; and, 4) pray for your enemies. (Luke 6:32-36; Matthew 5:44, 47)
#584. One need only read the parable of the sheep and goats at Matthew 25:31-46 to determine how important are good manners, human kindness, and Christian charity. Read from time to time the following two verses and make every effort to put them into practice: James 2:14-17: ‘Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says to them: "Go in peace, keep warm and well fed," but you do not give them the necessities for their body, of what benefit is it? Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.’ And, 1 John 3:16-18: ‘By this we have come to know love, because that one surrendered his soul for us; and we are under obligation to surrender our souls for our brothers. But whoever has this world's means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.’ Say to yourself, “My kindness is my worship.” Go now, dear Nazarene Saint, and do these.
#585. You may find yourself anywhere in the Lord’s “field” growing among wheat and weeds. (Matthew 13:36-43) Among Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Orthodox, Unitarians, Quakers, Mormons, Baptists, Pentecostal, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, or among those millions of generics, Non-denominational. If you may speak your faith in those truths among these friends and are able to show love to all, then remain where you find that spiritual strength which comes from gathering with others of like mind. If you are unable to speak your faith, then find others who share these views. Meet with them once a week and enjoy Bible discussions, perhaps using Nazarene Principles© or Nazarene Apocalypse© as a guide. Only make your meeting one which focuses on our Lord, Jesus Christ the Nazarene.
#586. If you are alone and can only find one or two friends or family to meet with, draw courage from the Nazarene’s own words: ‘For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.’ (Matthew 18:20) The Lord knows many throughout the ages have been alone, even as were Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jeremiah, and a multitude of Christians in these two millennia of Dark Ages. Today, one can usually find a family member, a friend, or a single person by means of mail or the Internet. Find just one who would benefit from either Nazarene Principles© or Nazarene Apocalypse©.
#587. Your faith will not allow you to be silent. Speak to others in that spirit of 1 Peter 3:15 and Colossians 4.6 and your witness to others will be marked by respect, mildness, and graciousness. If you are confrontational and pushy you will only create more enemies. There are no rules and so you may present the Christ of your faith as you find suitable, without undoing your best efforts by your methods. Either copy a portion of the above mentioned works, or create your own. If you need a witnessing tool contact the Friends of the Nazarene for several. Distribute them to friends and relatives. To strangers in market places, street corners, school, work, recreation. Today many are involved in what are called multi-level marketing and their key is “networking.” That is simply beginning with those within your own circle or sphere of activity. Imagine how the Nazarene began with just two. Note this in John 1:37-45 and how in days this spread to a handful of others. And then twelve. And then seventy. And then one hundred and twenty. And then thousands. And then millions. And then billions. Who is to tell how the Lord Jesus the Nazarene may use you; or, rather, how you may let yourself be used by him? (Isaiah 6:8, 11) [Compare the work Nazarene Community© for commentary on Christian association and evangelism.]
#588. We leave you then with these words and trust you will follow the exhortation of the Nazarene’s greatest missionary:
‘Now if your experience
of Christ’s encouragement
and love means anything to you,
if you have known something
of the fellowship of the Spirit,
and all that it means in kindness
and deep sympathy,
do make my best hopes for you come true!
Live together in harmony,
live together in love,
as though you had only one mind
and one spirit between you.
Never act from motives of rivalry
or personal vanity,
but in humility think more of one another
than you do of yourselves.
None of you should think only of his own affairs,
but each should learn to see things
from other people’s point of view.
Let Christ himself be your example
as to what your attitude should be.’
--- Philippians 2:1-5 PME
“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved