Who's On First?
I'm going to keep this real short so you can read it quickly. Lately the Lord has had me "chewing the cud" over the verse "my sheep know my voice..." Like all the scriptures, this one is like a finely cut jewel. It has many facets, and all of them are real and true. Because we look at one facet more than others does not make the others any less true.
I've been thinking of that as I watch a lot of posts. These are very uncertain times, times of change, times of import, times which lead us to ask "are these the beginning of 'the day of the Lord?' " As I have said before, these times remind me greatly of the late 60's and the 70's. We were at a fever pitch then, too. We were at the height of the cold war, there were earthquakes, volcanoes, famines, and wars galore. And yeah, it was amazing how many people's names you could make equal 666.
Then today I was watching a clip from a teacher who has a great deal of knowledge ref Biblical eschatology. His thing was reinterpreting the number 666. "What if," he asked, "if this wasn't a sum but a symbol"..." and he went on to show how it could resemble Muslim symbols. As I watched it, it struck me how close his method was to that used by the UFO shows in History Channel. All questions and what ifs. This isn't to disparage the guy, I happen to like him.
But something kept giving mean itch and I kept asking the Lord what it was. What He gave me was this: note the verse in Rev 13:6. I checked it out and then looked at the Greek. The word for count is a technical term for computation, literally using pebbles to do some cipherin'. The word for number is an arithmetical term. The verse definitely does not reference symbolism but a definite counting process. Neither the Hebrews or the Greeks used the Arabic numbers we use. The used a system whereby certain letters could have numeric values. The Roman numeral system you are familiar with. It was a little funny - the teacher's researchers must have been real young - they didn't check their work...the letter with a value of six was sigma, not stigma. Interesting theories do not always good theologies make. There is a reason why some of us insist that theology should be done carefully.
The other thing the Lord impressed upon me was the verse "My sheep know my voice." In uncertain times we look for answers. We look to the scriptures to guide us. This is as it should be; however, many miss the point that there are some things the Lord has reserved to Himself. We are given some big major clues, but then there are a lot of little details that are open to interpretation. We should be very careful in trying to nail down some things that are very elusive in meaning. That being said, we should also be very aware of how much attention we are paying to the end time events and the players involved versus how much time we are paying attention to Jesus. Jesus should be the focus of our attention, nothing else.
Jesus said my sheep know my voice. Our focus should be on our relationship with Jesus and knowing Him and knowing His voice. If we know Jesus, and if we know His voice, than any impostor will have a hard time fooling us. If we know His voice, then a false voice will be apparent.
I share this in this way because I know from experience trying to figure out the what's and when's and why's and wherefore's will in the end drive you frantic. You end up with a lot of knowledge which yields a certain measure of edification, but there is an accompanying danger of getting "puffed up," or as we would say, getting off on a personal spiritual ego trip. Conversely, focusing on Jesus yields life and peace. Where would you rather be?
Finally, remember that the Antichrist and his prophet ARE GOING TO BE VERY VERY GOOD. Their deception is going Io be on a level we have not encountered before. Jesus warned that there was a real possibility that "the very elect" could be deceived. So just naming names will not cut it. Remember, the Jewish experts in the scriptures were good. They knew exactly where the Messiah was to be born, but missed entirely His birth. In the same manner, scripture knowledge may yield us some great clues and insights, but we could still miss their import. In the long run, we will be much better served by concentrating our efforts on knowing Jesus and His voice. It is much better insurance against deception.
Be blessed, everyone.