I am on holiday, in Cook’s Ferry, and thinking how much more simple life is with only a couple of bags. But even then, we have internet, even then the TV is on and the memes of this world flood in: and fairly stiff and tired after a long drive, a long walk and a good meal we ended up watching some.
I am also thinking how nice it is to sleep well, and wake up refreshed. And how beautiful this part of the world is: this was taken with the phone from where we had dined last night.
But this has very little to do with the text for this morning. The text is ugly, but needed. We have been taught about false teachers and how they can destroy a church and damn souls. For such people will compromise with the world and all its works. When we should not: when we can not. Be very clear here. We will be damned for our own actions and sins. But this generation, this world will either repent or share the fate of Gog and Magog.
Yeah, right. I thank God that my ex was not like that: I cherish my sons, I cherish my daughter and her children. And I want none of them to worship the beast. Be not deceived: we will be told it is progressive, for justice, and righteous. Within our churches.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
(Revelation 20:1-10 ESV)
Many read this in the context of modern geopolitics. I am not so sure: what worries me more is the warnings than the methods. Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the OT — but not as the Pharisees thought he would in their learned commentaries, and the end will come when we have forgotten to teach Revelations at all.
Because it talks about punishment and judgment, and that makes us feel ick.
Which is no argument. Baby poo makes me feel ick, and I changed my fair share of nappies, including full body diarrhea. I have held the heads of people while avoiding their vomit. Because it was my child, or my duty, or because they are human, and their experience is one I may have.
And part of being human is being accountable. For not what we do, but how we influence. We leave waves behind as as we walk through the water that is the peoples of our family, our village, our country, our world. And we need to seek, in these fallen times, that crown that comes from walking away from the beast and all its temptations, lest we are accounted in the hordes that come from wherever God and Magog are.