Would you consider yourself an observant person? I used to be—especially when it came to actors in different roles. I could spot the same actor in a different movie or TV role no matter how their hair, makeup, or even age had changed them. I told my husband for years that “Goose” in the movie Top Gun (Anthony Edwards) was the same guy as Dr. Mark Greene on the TV show, ER.
When the fantastic website, www.IMDb.com, showed up, I could finally prove all my theories. But here’s the bad news. I’m getting old enough that I’m no longer as observant as I once was, and those great instincts I once had are often WRONG! Now, my hubby and kids prove they’re right with the weapon I used against them. Oh dear.
There is a bright side to all this hawk-eyed TV and movie watching. We’ve all become very observant. We study not only the faces of every actor but their voices and body language. I’m hoping it makes us observant in other ways as well…
Observing John’s Revelation
I’ve been playing a lot of Bible Roulette lately for my morning quiet time—you know, letting your Bible fall open and reading the first passage your eyes fall on. Then…Bang!…the Lord pops you in the head with some great truth. It’s AWESOME (unless you land in Ecclesiastes three days in a row). Anyway…
One day my Bible fell open to Revelation 14, and I began reading about The Three Angels. For me Revelation is worse than Ecclesiastes because I try to dissect it like other biblical books, and it simply wasn’t written to be studied piece-by-piece. It was meant to be read aloud so the imagery could come alive in our imaginations.
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 (emphasis added)
If you have your Bible close-by, I would encourage you to read Revelation 14:6-13 right now—aloud.
Panicked About the Details
So the morning I read this passage, my mind immediately started spinning about which nation is Babylon and how I’ll avoid the mark of the beast. I mean the burning sulfur and torment forever and ever is outstanding motivation to steer clear of God’s wrath, right?
- What book could I buy that would decipher the truth?
- What teacher actually knew the keys to the imagery of Revelation?
- How could I be certain I was following the correct plan?
When no answers came and that panicky feeling (that often comes when I read Revelation) began to swell, I knew it wasn’t from the Lord. So I read the passage again—and again and again—until I saw an answer that WAS from the Lord.
“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 (emphasis added)
My job isn’t to figure out all the end-times details. My job is to keep God’s commands and remain faithful to Jesus until the end comes.
On the other hand, it is also my job to recognize the signs of the end times as they appear…or I might miss God’s commands as did some of the Jews in Jesus’s day.
Watching and Waiting
In Matthew 24, Jesus told His disciples to watch for specific signs of the end times: wars and rumors of wars, false messiahs, famines, earthquakes, the Gospel preached to the whole world, and much more. Almost every generation has witnessed these signs. I personally believe God planned it that way to keep every generation watching vigilantly for His return.
But what if we become weary in waiting and perhaps ignore things that become too familiar—war, for instance. How many famines and earthquakes have you seen in your lifetime? It would be easy to become numb to these signs and miss unique markers pointing to imminent change.
It seems that might have happened to the Jews of first-century Palestine, those who missed Jesus’s first-coming…
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’…When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written…’” Matthew 2:1-5
Jewish chief priests sat in Jerusalem with their knowledge and scrolls, while foreign star-gazers from Babylon traversed the deserts to announce the long-awaited Messiah.
But would I have done better than the chief priests? WILL I do better at reading the signs of Jesus’s second-coming?
By God’s grace, YES. How? Maybe the same way we recognize aging movie stars in newer movies. Huh?
You see, it’s not just one or two characteristics we look for—not just facial features or hairstyle or clothing. We listen to the voice, study body language, and watch for unique mannerisms. Something that makes that actor utterly distinguishable.
So it is with our God. By living out Revelation 14:12 (keeping His commands and remaining faithful to Jesus), His coming will be utterly distinguishable.
It won’t be one sign or two that sets off bells and whistles. We’ll know because we’re walking closely with our Beloved—and He’s about to return for His Bride. It means keeping our hearts soft, our hands open, and our eyes on the skies. That’s it. That’s all. That’s enough.
- Chief priests sat with their knowledge and scrolls while foreign star-gazers announced the Messiah.
- We remain watchful while signs of His 2nd-coming visit every generation? #keepwatching
- Living Rev.14:12: Keep hearts soft, hands open, and eyes on the skies. That’s it and that’s enough.
- How do you feel when people begin talking about Christ’s second coming? Excited? Scared? Confused? Anxious? Did today’s blog improve or worsen your attitude?