Part 1, The Return of Christ, How Should We Then Live.
In 2013 my autoimmune diseases sidelined me from all the ministries I had led or participated in. At that point, I didn’t yet have a diagnosis. I was devastated to discover that my brain fog, fatigue, and pain were now incompatible with the service I had participated in within the church and the prison. I had to stop.
The previous ten years had been spent writing the Bible study material for our church, in addition to working in many ministries. I had written the material chronologically through all of the epistles, and it had been an incredible blessing to study and prepare the material. But, as my illness grew worse, our pastor had to put together the material for Hebrews, for I was no longer able to sit at the desk for hours weekly. We didn’t get to study Revelation, the final book.
In early 2014 I found myself totally flattened. I had been sick for three years then, and I spent the day moving from bed to couch to soaking in Epsom salts and back to bed again. Typically, my laptop was with me, so I could interact with others outside my home.
Every book of the New Testament had been studied except Revelation, and I am a task completer. I wanted to finish my journey through the entire New Testament. Since I wouldn’t be preparing material for adults and teens, formatting it for printing, editing for errors, overseeing the printing, passing it out to all the groups during the regular Bible study times, and then leading a group myself, I could simply study the Word for my own enlightenment.
I spent the next three years in my recliner, examining the text of Revelation in the original language on Logos, making detailed notes in my working copy, studying each cross reference, and being challenged by the content.
The number of warnings and admonitions throughout the Bible, in texts our church had previously studied, jumped into my mind as I began my study of Revelation. These texts prepared us to be ready for Christ’s imminent return. These commands and instructions help us to come out of “Babylon the Great,” the evil world system that seeks satisfaction in power, wealth, and exploitation.
The Apostle John penned Revelation from the island of Patmos, writing: “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:9 ESV).
He addresses the need to come out of the evil world system, “Babylon the Great” in the 18th chapter of the letter.
“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her [Babylon the Great], my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’
8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”
This is where we live, within an evil world system where children are trafficked, abortion has been normalized to the point of being used as birth control, pedophilia may become a norm, the poor and the needy are neglected, prisoners are forgotten, the worth of human beings is often measured by their hue of skin, money seems more important than character, and the indigent poor are often unseen and neglected. Add to that wars, wars, and rumors of wars.
My goal for the next few months is to take apart the instructions scattered throughout the New Testament, which help us, both you and me, to prepare for the imminent return of Christ, informing us how we should live, what we can do to help others, and why. Each message will be about this length or shorter.
In these end times, these final days, these days of tribulation, we can definitely read, consider, and apply the instructions given in Scripture for how we should live.
The Lord bless you and keep you in the coming new year!In these #EndTimes, these final days, these days of tribulation, we can definitely read, consider, and apply the instructions given in Scripture for how we should live. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet Living for Jesus in the new year. My goal is to prepare for the imminent return of Christ, examining the Scriptures and uncovering how we should live according to Jesus' instructions, what we can do to help others, and why. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Looking forward to your new blog post series, Melinda.
For the past several months I’ve been challenged to read books of a similar vein. I highly recommend:
1. How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colson
2. Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme by David Kinnaman
Both books are excellent resources as we navigate life in “Babylon.”
I haven’t read these, Ava. Thank you for sharing! These look like powerful help for our time in “Babylon.” I did so much theological research during those years in Revelation in my recliner, mostly commentaries, Douglas Moo frequently as one of my favorite commentators because he shares both sides of a dispute. Darrell L. Bock, but also other commentators and other viewpoints were examined. It was a time of realizing that previous teaching I had received wasn’t entirely Biblical. And a time of recognizing that in the teaching I received, how to apply what we were seeing in the Scriptures was entirely forgotten. Therefore, how to live in “Babylon” is needed. It will be a great supplement to all of these posts coming up. Thank you, friend!
I’m looking forward to your messages in 2022. I always learn something new about Scripture and about myself. Thank you. Happy New Year!
Thank you, Melissa! This subject has been pressing on me to prepare for The Day. I love the Scriptural writing you’ve been doing, too!
Melinda, thanks for sharing a bit more about your journey in the days before your diagnosis. You were a blessing all those years to your church, but now you are a blessing to others and me. For we benefit from your committed study and insight to help us on our spiritual journey.
What jumped out at me from Revelation 18 is verse 7 and the phrase about Babylon, “As she glorified herself….” Isn’t that a picture of what we see in the culture around us?! I’m looking forward to your upcoming writings and living ever nearer to Jesus.
Thank you for your kind encouragement about those years of writing for our church, Karen, encouraging pastor’s wife. It was such a blessing to be invited by our pastor to do so, and I learned so much as I dug down deep, so I could write reliable and accurate content.❤️
That’s an insightful catch of a key word, Karen! We’re all about glorifying ourselves in these end times, trying to be on top, be the best, be the one seen and admired. And yet, Jesus is the One we are to exalt and glorify. That point is one very significant application in these end times.
Thank you, Melinda, for tackling this much needed study – how to live in the end times. We are here. The passage you shared from Revelation sounds like it was written for this time and place. We know that God ordained for us to live in this very moment. May we remain strong and steadfast in Christ and His Word, the Bible. And endure. Whether we live or die, may we bring glory to our Savior.
Melissa, thank you so much for stopping by to add your thoughts. ❤️ The Lord knows the day and the time of his return. In the meantime, we are tasked with the challenge of living in Babylon the Great in these end times, which square up with the prophecy that John recorded. He has made us and called us for such a time as this. And he will empower us for our calling!
What an amazing undertaking, Melinda! I join Ava in recommending Colson to you. Thank you for blessing us with your work. God uses all our struggles for His purposes.
May we turn from our Babylons, individually and as a nation. Thank you for your faithfulness and God bless!
Thanks for your kind words, Nancy! I’m so glad to be able to utilize the lessons from Revelation that I recorded from that recliner in 2013. I was so engrossed in discovering so much instruction sprinkled throughout the Scriptures to equip us for this end time. I look forward to sharing those truths from God’s Word.
What a beautiful goal and can’t wait to read your forthcoming works. May God bless and enlighten you as you write the words.
Thank you, Yvonne! I’ve written the first posts already, so I can stay ahead of the weekly deadline.
Melinda, this is the most powerful piece I have read in ages. I hate that you were flattened for so long by your illness, but at the same time I see how God has brought such good out of your experience… and you are right that His instructions to us on how to love are peppered EVERYWHERE in the Bible. I find myself reading and re-reading the Bible, and it’s astounding how my eyes are now open like never before. As you say, we live “within an evil world system where children are trafficked, abortion has been normalized to the point of being used as birth control, pedophilia may become a norm, the poor and the needy are neglected, prisoners are forgotten, the worth of human beings is often measured by their hue of skin, money seems more important than character, and the indigent poor are often unseen and neglected.” Yet we sometimes think this is all normal, that things are “good” and better than before. We must live in the deep knowledge that Christ WILL return and at any moment. I think Revelation is absolutely fascinating. I look forward to all you have to share!
Thank you, Jessica! The ability to study word by word through the entire New Testament and the time invested in the production of content for our church has proven to be a lifelong blessing, even if I’m still writing from bed or requiring physical therapy after working from my desk. Learning about the Lord, his dealings with us, his admonitions, and the Holy Spirit’s inspired words about the Lord’s return are rich and powerful blessings for life. This project allows me to go back through my previous study notes and Greek work on each text, which draws me ever closer to Jesus, reminding me once more of his instructions for these end times.