There is a line in The Book of Revelations that I’ve had conversations with people about over the years. I think the first time I had a conversation about it was actually in a college level English or Philosophy Class when I was working on my bachelors degree. It’s the line that says, in essence, ‘Don’t mess with what I’ve written.’
Revelation 22:18 – 19 contain words of warning about changing the prophetic message contained in the book. It’s interesting to note that the same warning appears in Deuteronomy 4:2 when speaking about the commands of God.
The warning is about not adding to or taking away from what is written. This is an interesting discussion not only for the people who were writing and discussing then, but also for those of us who read and expound today.
Seeking understanding and wisdom requires a lot of patience. Especially because, as our Parish Priest reminded us today, language changes over the years – new words are added to the dictionary and not only that – but meanings of words are sometimes changed over the years. That’s why it’s good to have people who enjoy digging into Scripture and going back to the Hebrew and Greek translations when trying to gain a fuller understanding.
How do we understand the Scriptures from the Old Testament in light of the New Testament and how does the English language in 2014 or any other language, compare to what the original Hebrew and Greek writers were communicating?
According to Wikpedia there are over 96 English translations of the Complete Bible. Some denominations ‘approve’ of the use of only one particular version and other denominations approve of a selected few or several.
And it’s interesting that this occurs because while having these different versions occur in an effort to help people of each generation and perhaps mental or psychological type of comprehension come to understand what people have heard, thought and believed about God, Creation, Humanity, Jesus, the past, the present and the future; this same occurrence of revising has in some ways caused division. Sad and confusing isn’t it?
But the summarization of the commandments that hasn’t changed is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament – Deut. 6:5 and Luke 10:27. It is the command to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. and the second command Jesus said was like it – and that is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus gave us a great example teaching how to love God, self and other people. It’s something he very much wants us to continue to do.
There is a melody for the summarization of the two commandments in the book. It came to me in answer to a prayer in which I asked God what message he had for me to share and could he keep it simple and give it a melody if possible. When I find myself stressing out about things – and I do get stressed – this song helps me to calm down – sometimes I sing it outloud, sometimes just in my heart, sometimes I just hum the melody.
Love cannot be revised and God does not want us to compromise His vision of us becoming a loving people. I Corinthians 13 is a letter written by The Apostle Paul to a church located in a city where people had a difficult time loving each other and of course since the church is made of people who live in the area, the same problem was existing in the church. Some people have called this a Love Letter to the Church – but I think it would be more appropriately titled A Call To Love . . . . I hope you will read the letter, especially if you want to become more like Christ or more Godly in character. Then, don’t come down too hard on yourself or other people. Remember – God is Love, we are people who are called to this excellent way . . . we fall short in every way – but God’s love will protect us and persevere for us anyway. We simply have to keep trying over and over again . . .
Lord, forgive us when we are not patient, when we are jealous, rude and selfish. Help us to forgive, to rejoice in truth, to protect, to trust, to hope and to persevere in becoming more like you. AMEN