Todays readings… Job 35&36, Zechariah 11, Revelation 12&13
“Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” [Rev.13 v.10.] The A V Bible uses the word “patience” here, one of seven significant occasions when the word occurs in this book. – we should best read it as “patient endurance.” This statement was true then – and it is just as true today; it is vital it becomes the guiding principle in our lives. Honesty should compel all dedicated students of God’s word to admit that a good number of things in the Bible are a “challenge” – in particular- to understand and try to be specific in expounding prophecy; all to often time has proved such efforts misguided. We can see the wonderful framework, but filling in the details has led all expositors into trouble at times.
That said though, it is clear from what is written that there is to be, and has been throughout history, continuing frustration in learning and understanding that which is true and right in relation to what God has revealed. All too often human perversions threaten to confuse our understanding. It was so in the time of Jesus and we read several times of Jesus condemning the religious leaders for teaching their own traditions. [Matthew 15 v.3-6] Such are represented in Revelation by a dragon and a beast. We read of a beast that looks somewhat like a lamb [13 v.11] but when it opens its mouth it is clear it is not.
A lesson in life is that one never judges simply by appearances! This is why it is essential to read and absorb the teachings of the Bible for ourselves. In past Centuries, those represented by the symbols of the beast and the dragon, often persecuted those who followed the lamb and sometimes they became martyrs – which is what happened to some of the first disciples.
Today, we also have to contend with more and more dogmatic statements by those who believe in evolution! Only a fool believes life has developed by pure chance – by an incredible countless number of accidents – and there is no Creator! The outcome today is a world abounding with even greater immoral behaviour. There is “no fear of God before their eyes” [Rom. 3 v.18]. So the call for “endurance and faith” is more important today than ever.