Jan 6 is the Day of Epiphany, celebrating when the Magi visited the baby Jesus and realized He was, indeed, God come in the flesh. This ‘realization’ is what we now call ‘an epiphany.’ A knowing, given to us by God, thus supernatural.
As we grow we experience numerous epiphanies. Things we didn’t understand become more clear. Like algebra!
I experienced a strong epiphany a few years ago while reading through Ecclesiastes. I didn’t like the Book, and I felt guilty about it. It’s God’s Word, right? Obviously I was in error, but I couldn’t shake how I felt about the word Vanity and how it was used over and over. A newer translation used the word Meaningless, which only made me feel worse. I was having a crisis trying to understand how or why God would speak that way about life.
Finally I decided to do more research and discovered additional ‘meanings’ for the original Hebrew word translated Vanity and Meaningless. First came Vapor, which kind of softened things a bit, understanding the issues of life are like a vapor. But then came the epiphany, the revelation, the ah HA! Another translation of that word can be Temporary. Get it? Is the veil lifting? This life is not vain or meaningless, but temporary. Our hardships are….temporary. Our frustrations, hurts, etc., are temporary.
I won’t take the time here to develop this more, but you should. It’s amazing how the Book of Ecclesiastes will come alive to you with new meaning and understanding when you put ‘temporary’ in all the places it now has ‘vanity’ or ‘meaningless.’ It will absolutely change how you feel about God!
The most recent epiphany has come to me while studying the Book of Daniel, and all the other Bible ‘places’ you will be taken when trying to understand this amazing prophecy. It connects directly to my own personhood, in that I’m now dealing with a diagnosis of cancer.
The subject that comes up for Bible students is the study of the End Times. It’s interesting that so many write so much about what they know so little. We can’t help it. We are so intrigued just pondering the End Times that we put forth all kinds of speculations, all quoting various Scriptures to try to validate what we think is happening. In these current times we have all sorts of Doctrinal explanations of what the Bible speaks about the End Times, albeit guarded by the realization we may not have it correct!
Combine the Bible study with one’s own mortality and the End Times get personal. Do I get three-score and ten, or four-score because I’m ‘strong’? The older we get the closer to our personal End, so the End Times become even more applicable to us, and raise all sorts of questions. Some people don’t want to talk about it at all, and others can’t stop talking about it, but this is a big deal!
I remember getting the Summary from my doctor after my annual physical, and at the end, after all the lab results and comments, was an intriguing ‘mortality index.’ It gave a percentage estimate of years of life left, something like 90% to live 15 yrs., or such. I can remember thinking this was an odd thing to include, and gave it little mind. Now that I have a cancer it becomes more important to me. I’m no longer immortal! What now? Now, you see, my own, personal End Times come into more focus, and more conversation with others. The things ‘we don’t talk about’ start coming up, as do the concerns, as do the fears.
I don’t like fear. I don’t like being fear-based when approaching something. I also don’t like anger, and I’ve learned that anger is a secondary emotion, the primary emotion being fear, although this is often hidden. Thus, what makes you angry has a fear component, such that if you could eliminate or minimize the fear then the anger could resolve before you did something unfortunate.
How can this apply to one’s mortality, much less the Biblical issues with the End Times?
Epiphany! Ah Ha! Here’s the deal! (and any other way you can be enlightened)
When the Bible speaks of the end, what is it saying? End to what? End of whom? What is ending? Times, seasons, ages, periods, etc.
The thing is, truly, what is happening is that something is ending. Over. Done with. And all the wrangling about it doesn’t change the fact. All the anger doesn’t make it different, although whatever was feared is probably done with too!
Because, you see, something comes NEXT. For us Christians, what comes next is wonderful. Amazing. Exciting. Eternal. The so-called ‘end’ is just a segue [seg-wey] to the next! And the next is supernatural. Words can’t really speak about it very well, but ‘after’ the End Times, the Next Time begins, with God Almighty victorious, and with YOU a part of His doings.
Blow the trumpet. Make a joyful noise. Rejoice and be glad, not confused and sorrowful, because Jesus is Lord and He loves you. His ‘what’s next?’ for you is pretty spectacular, and not to be feared, but to be welcomed, because He knows best! The End Times include the end to suffering, to tears, to all sorts of lack. The End Times include the end of the enemy of our souls, by what happens NEXT. Heaven, in fact, is NEXT, which, come on, is pretty cool!