But thanks be to God, who always leads
us in triumphal procession in Christ and
through us spreads everywhere the fragrance
of the knowledge of him.
For we are to God the aroma of Christ
among those who are being saved and
those who are perishing.
To the one we are
the smell of death;
to the other,
the fragrance of life.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Honest: I did NOT make that word up - apocalypticism! It harks back to the ancient Greek, where it meant to uncover, to reveal, or to take the lid off.
For movie producers, it means mayhem and devastation; great gore for the sake of the box office draw.
For the average man on the street, it's associated with hideous & terrifying global devastation - be it natural disaster or cosmic warfare - ostensibly the wrath of God.
Even for my dear friend Merriam the connotation is clear: the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.
From movie-makers and Merriam's perspectives, it is the classic Star Wars epic: The Force will triumph!
So what is an apocalypse, anyway? Is it ...
- something hideous to avoid?
- a man-made bogeyman to disbelieve?
- the stuff of fable & lore meant to keep the masses in check?
- the unique domain of the authors of the scriptural text?
- the dementia of a by-gone culture?
- all of the above?
And whatever it is, does it have anything to do with me personally ... and why should I care anyway?
Yes; because it's the good news about The Good News.
I believe it's safe to say that everyone loves the Gospel. The saved are humbled and awed by it; and even unbelievers find the love & grace it offers a sweet consideration (though for someone else).
Yet no Gospel-giving account is complete without the true and certain knowledge that God has a bigger plan than the saving of individuals (as amazingly marvelous as THAT is!). The story and it's implications are huge, and hopeful.
Anything apocalyptic from the scriptural text - whether we understand it completely or not - is meant to encourage people and nations - personally and collectively. We can stand in the face of every form of trouble - even cosmic cataclysm - and know that the best is yet to come. Oil spills and political folly leave us looking up, not down our noses.
I know there are some that consider this subject too difficult to understand, or even to bother wasting one's time in attempting to understand. They might even assess my writing, blogging or views as being too deep at times.
The latter may be true, but certainly the former is not. There's a fragrance associated with it - the very knowledge of Jesus - that is ...
- To the believer, the aroma of life.
- To the unbeliever, the stench of death.
While we much prefer the Star Wars telling of anything apocalyptic, the fact remains: there's a story that's bigger still; one that is yet to be told or, rather, revealed.
One Source tells us us the apocalyptic form was "used to describe the use of symbols, images, and numbers to depict future events... The purpose of such symbolism, however, was not to cause confusion, but rather to instruct and encourage followers of God in difficult times.
The Apocalypse will be the ultimate revealing of God, His wrath, His justice, and, ultimately, His love.
Jesus Christ is the supreme apocalypse of God, as He revealed God to us ."
I call that Good News!
... testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."!
P.S. Did you catch that: the ultimate revealing of God, His wrath, His justice, and, ultimately, His love? Yes, there's wrath involved, though it's hardly the tantrum-tossing-nose-thumbing action of an angry God Who's lost control of His temper. It's worth a post of it's own: What wrath is, and isn't. Another day ...