Bethany Lutheran Church, Bigfork, MT


October 2017

By Pastor Christopher Miller

Dear Friends in Christ,

We arrive at the end of our series of the categories of Scripture with one of those books that often defies classification: the Revelation of John. When the apostle John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, he received many visions, which he recorded together in this book. Much of it reads like a book of Old Testament prophesy. There are images that are hard to decipher. There are parts that are downright scary. There are also parts that are rather familiar to us: God's words to churches that are not all working in the ways they are supposed to work.

The main topic of the book is something we all get obsessed with: the end of the world. Christians have tried to figure out exactly when the world was going to end by using John's words and visions. There have been so many books written and sermons preached over the years that claim to have the correct time of the end of the world. William Miller (no relation) said it would happen in 1844, a Pentecostal minister in Arizona thought it would happen in 1977, Hal Lindsey claimed it would happen in the 80s, and there's a book called "88 Reasons The World Will End in 1988." One of the most notorious "prophets" is Harold Camping, who predicted the end of the world twice, in 1994 and 2011. If you're reading this, they were all wrong.

But them being wrong doesn't calm our worry. I remember bringing a service group to St. Louis, and one of our chaperones was talking to the woman her group was helping. The woman said, "Oh, I don't like that book of Revelation. It's so bad I don't even want to read my Bible knowing it's in there." Our chaperone had a great reply: "Maybe look at it the other way: you know all the good stuff is in there, so it can help you deal with Revelation." That is exactly correct. No matter the fear, no matter the uncertainty, no matter the worry, Christ is still here. Christ is still present. Christ is still in control. And to paraphrase him, that's the beginning and the end of it.

In Christ's Hope,                  Pastor Christopher Miller


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