It’s the End of the World as We Know It


Apocalypse #1

What does the word “apocalypse” mean to you? To me it meant an ending by destruction.  Something like the blizzard we recently experienced in Michigan over Christmas, which “ended” a lot of family get togethers, church services and extended store hours. I heard the word “Snowpocalypse” used as people canceled events large and small and businesses and stores shut down. Instead, we shoveled and snowblowed, a cycle we repeated for days. The storm ended many expectations and plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

God’s definition of the word, however, is not an ending. He uses it in other books of the Bible, not just Revelation. The original Greek word is, “apokalupsis” which means, “an uncovering, an unveiling, a revealing or revelation,” according to Strong’s concordance. In Hebrew the word is “gala,” which means “an uncovering or a removing.”

An apocalypse is a moment in time when God says humans, “Listen, there is something that’s been hidden from you. I’m pulling back the curtain so you can see it.”  Why does any of this matter for you and me right now, today? Well, the exciting news is that God didn’t stop uncovering and revealing events and information to humans when John wrote the last words of Revelation. God is unveiling tons of things for us right now, but are we paying attention?

In the book of Revelation with the Apostle John, God pulled back the veil on time, space, and dimension. He allowed John to see future events on earth and in heaven for those who reject Christ and for those who receive him. Why? So, humans could understand the choice between life with God or eternity in Hell. Revelation is only one apocalypse, only one unveiling that is recorded in the scriptures. It happens to be an ending.

Paul’s dramatic apocalypse with God on the Damascus Road was a new beginning for the persecutor of new believers. Why did God do this? Because despite Paul’s terrible crimes, God saw something he could use in this man, something that could change the world. So, he knocked Paul off his horse and allowed Paul to see a physical representation of Jesus Christ.

There are many more dramatic, apocalyptic moments recorded in the Bible. Each one of these accounts uses either the word “apocalypse” or the word “gala,” to describe God revealing himself or exposing hidden truth.

Thanks to Tim and Jon of Bibleproject.com for their podcast series, “Apocalyptic Literature” for planting the idea in me about doing a series on this misunderstood Biblical truth. Their study taught me the true meaning of apocalyptic God-moments, where heaven and earth are occupying the same space in a way humans can see, or heaven’s viewpoint is revealed to humans.  Once I understood God’s definition of an apocalypse it dawned on me that we are living through a worldwide one right now.

God is pulling curtains back on long-hidden secrets all over the world. For example, are we not discovering truths about our governments as to the contrast between what leaders say they will do and what they actually do? Never in history have we seen so many resignations of government leaders around the world, as an example, how many prime ministers has Britain blown through in the past few years? This past July, 28 British MPs resigned within the space of 24 hours. In the U.S a record number of congress members abruptly decided not to run for election in this last midterm. In Russia and Lebanon, in 2020, entire governments stepped down from office.

The multi-billion-dollar industry of human trafficking and pornography is being exposed more every day with mass arrests occurring around the world. Many of us imagined this abomination existed on the fringe of society, only to discover that it is currently one of the largest and most profitable businesses worldwide.

If you are on Twitter, its new owner, Elon Musk, is dropping truckloads of documents, emails, and other paper trails to show us how social media has been used to cover up epic scandals in high places. He is exposing long-hidden corruption.

Not a week goes by that I don’t read or hear another tragic story of a pastor arrested and charged with solicitation of a minor or sexual abuse.  Right now, large, well-known ministries are shaking as revelations about the sexual immorality of their founders or lead pastors emerge. That type of news used to be rare and isolated to a few pastors gone astray. At least that’s what we thought.

We are living in a season of exposure and truth-revealing brought about by God. In a way, this cultural apocalypse we are experiencing can connect with the idea of endings. God is trying to end our wrong perceptions of many things and is bringing to pass one of my favorite verses, Luke 8:17.

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

I believe God is uncovering wicked things that have been tucked under rugs for decades, maybe centuries. He has chosen this moment in time to lift curtains all over the world and say to his people, “Look here at this, and look over here at that. Walk in truth not deception.” He is giving us an opportunity to end any false paradigms we are using to relate to out world.

An end of belief that most politicians want what’s best for their constituents.

An end of belief that child slavery and trafficking exists on a small level.

And end of belief that what is taught in all classrooms is generally truthful and beneficial for our sons and daughters.

An end of the belief that our children are safe with church leaders simply because they are church leaders.

I believe all of us have experienced apocalyptic moments over the last few years, we simply didn’t know that we should call them that. God has shown us things that were hidden to us before. He has lifted veils and said, “I need you to know this now because this situation is not what you thought it was and I want you to know the truth.”

God is always doing this to some degree throughout time, but my observation is that revelations about what I thought the world to be and what it truly is are coming in hard and fast. Some people will choose not to see, hear, recognize, and act upon truth. They don’t want their world and their beliefs shaken in any way. I urge you to remember that our God promised us that he would shake everything that could be shaken. If something CAN be shaken that is our first clue that it might not be grounded in God’s truth.

 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Hebrews 12:25-27

How do we handle the knowledge and truth God is revealing to us right now? Daniel and the Apostle John were terrified at what God showed them in visions. Daniel was so deeply troubled, as he was caught up to heaven in a vision, he walked right up to one of the creatures standing by God’s throne and basically said, “Hey, what does all this mean?” (Daniel 7:15)

That is one of the postures we need to take. Simply knowing new information as it’s uncovered is not enough. We need to ask God for meaning around what he reveals and ask him what he would like us to do with that knowledge.

 I don’t know how long this series will be but I am going to spend several posts on looking at apocalypses in the Bible and attempting to extract the meaning they might have for us today. We will examine the character, circumstances and response of many Bible figures who experienced moments of heaven on earth. I think by looking at the who, what, when, where, how, and why of their God encounters will help to tune our hearts and minds to the apocalyptic opportunities God brings to us. We do not want to miss what God is doing right now do we? We don’t want to be like the people who mocked or ignored prophets, visionaries, and Jesus himself.

Let’s take a quick look at one of the earliest apocalyptic moments in Genesis 12:7 when God appears to Abram.  In obedience to God’s voice and just God’s voice, no vision or anything, Abram uproots his entire family and heads out with no clear destination except the command, “go to the land I will show you.” In that place of obedience, God appeared in a physical way, to Abram, and made his great promise concerning Abram’s descendants.

Here’s the questions I’m challenging myself and you with today. What if Abram had not obeyed and followed God into the unknown? Am I currently missing something great and important that God wants to reveal to me because I’ve not obeyed an earlier instruction from God and I’m not where I’m supposed to be? If we want to be dialed in to the deep and secret things of God, I think we better be asking ourselves this question regularly.

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