God's Church must be effective; and to be effective the Church must recognize that Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church. He is the beginning and the end and He's knows the beginning from the end.
[Darris McNeely] There are many characteristics that we could say from the Bible that the Church of God should be. One of them happens to be effective. The Church of God must be effective in its mission of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. When it's not, there's a problem.
In the Book of Revelation, there are seven churches to which Jesus Christ, the head of the church, sent seven messages. Been thinking a lot about that lately and focusing upon that, and there's something that we should understand when it comes to not just the messages to the churches there in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, but really the message that Christ to giving to His church at all times. And that is He is in charge and He is leading it, and it must believe that indeed He is its living head.
In the Book of Revelation, there is a verse in 1:17, where Jesus Christ introduces himself to John in this vision and He's standing among seven golden lampstands and in all of His resplendent glory. And among the things that He says to John is that, "I am the first and the last, I am the Alpha and the Omega." That is repeated in 22:13, where it actually says there, "I am the Alpha and Omega." So, in the first and last chapter of the Book of Revelation, this great prophecy, we have Christ saying, "I'm the first and the last. I'm the Alpha and the Omega." In other words, He's saying, I know the end from the beginning, I'm in charge. I am directing and controlling history, the events of history, prophecy, and I'm controlling what happens in my church. The church must believe that if it is going to be effective.
You know, one of the things that people who read the Book of Revelation, scholars, and well-intentioned, and very intelligent people, they come to conclude, especially in the Book of Revelation with all of its symbols and images and beasts and heads and horns and plagues and everything, they conclude that it is a prophecy for the 1st century, for the first period in which it was given and has no application in history, and certainly, not to foretell in time events prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
That particular point of view is called preterism. I had recently need to go back and kind of review what preterism is. It's a view that interprets prophecies of the Bible as events that have already happened past mostly 1st century, and therefore, have no end time application. So, school of thought that not only is applied to Revelation, but the book of Daniel as well, and it really strikes at the very heart of understanding God and the beauty of God. And that is that God can predict history in advance. That's what Bible prophecy is all about. In all of its shades and nuances, God predicts what will happen and either He is right or He's not, and if He's not, He's not God. And it comes down to that. Scholars and Bible students must grapple with this. And I find, as I study and read all of my teachings and writings about this subject, that many people who look at the Bible in Revelation come to that conclusion and they, therefore, miss a great deal of what is there. They're different shades of preterism.
Some preterists look at Revelation as symbolic, largely fulfilled, but then they do believe that there's going to be a second coming of Jesus Christ. And some feel that the events of 70 AD, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, that inaugurated the church age. Or there's those like Augustine, the great church father who believed that the events of the day of Pentecost inaugurated this church age we are in at this time. And again, they discount prophecy and predictive prophecy contained in this book. But here's the key. Going back to Revelation 1, Christ standing in the midst of the seven candlesticks saying, "I am the first and the last." And then in Chapter 22 saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega." We either believe that or we don't. Either Christ has the ability to say what the end is going to be from the very beginning. In other words, the whole purpose and plan of God is mapped out and God controls history and will bring these events to pass, or He doesn't. And if He doesn't, then much of what we see in the Bible has to be thrown out and that leads to a great unraveling.
In the end, those who claim to be the Church of God, servants of God, preaching the gospel of God, they don't believe that Christ is the head of His Church and that He is in the midst of the Church, guiding it, and the Book of Revelation tells us the events that will shortly come to pass, then we are denying Christ. And therefore, we're ineffective. It can be an answer to a lot of problems that a lot of religious people find today as they look at what they do and feel inadequate. The Church of God must believe what God says. They must believe that Christ is. And they must believe that He is guiding history. All of this to be effective is very, very important.
That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.