Bruce Metzger

royal revelation

What do you think of when hear “Revelation”?  And yes, it’s “Revelation,” not “Revelations.”  It’s very easy to know the difference.  Just look at the name in the Bible!

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As might be expected, many people’s reflections deal with confusion, crazy creatures, future disasters, scenarios of the rapture—a theology, by the way, which is built on a single verse (though not in Revelation) and given an extremely questionable interpretation.  But I say, “as might be expected,” because much of the teaching on the book of Revelation presents horror-movie-like themes, including 666, the number of the beast.  Folks have all kinds of fun with that one!

And then, there are the timelines of the future.  People have taken plenty of tidbits from the book and devised their own interpretation of “what soon must take place,” as it says in verse 1.  I have heard many sermons in which sober reflection has been tossed to the wind.

So having said all that, we need an approach with humility.  “If you’re unwilling to live with any uncertainty, you’re more likely to read into Revelation things that are not there.  Beware of interpreters who appear to have all the answers to even the small questions.  ‘Experts’ who claim absolute knowledge about every detail of Revelation should immediately raise suspicion.”[1]

“Revelation” means “apocalypse.”  And apocalypse: oh, that’s another fun word!  What does our popular culture make of “apocalypse”?  What do we see in movies and on television?  The aftermath of nuclear war?  A global pandemic?  Zombies walking the earth?

2 rvApocalypse refers to a revealing, an uncovering, a showing of what was hidden: indeed, a revelation.  Pablo Richard adds that apocalypse “is not neutral: what the wicked and the oppressors cannot understand is revealed to the upright, to the childlike, to the oppressed.”[2]  It’s a gift to those who love God.

As the book begins in verse 1: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.”  The revelation, the message, is intended for the servants of the Lord.  It is sent, via angel, to God’s servant, John.

In fact, in Matthew 11 for example, Jesus uses the word “apocalypse.”  “Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants’” (v. 25).  The word has been “revealed” (απεκαλυψας, apekalupsas) not to those who think they know, but to the humble—to those who are as humble as infants.

And these humble ones are blessed.  There are seven beatitudes (“blessed”) in Revelation.  (In the book of Revelation, seven is a number that appears over and over and over.)  Verse 3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.”

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud.”  This was read to the community as part of worship.  That underlines something about the entire book.  Revelation, as much as anything else, is a book of worship.  Add to that, “blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it.”  Blessed are those who hear.  Blessed are those who, in church, stay awake and set their cell phones on vibrate—or turn them off altogether!

If it wasn’t clear already, “We were not the intended audience of Revelation,” as Eric Barreto says.[3]  It wouldn’t make sense to have a book directed to people in the distant future.  Verse 4 says John sent his message “to the seven churches that are in Asia.”

I think most of us understand that the scriptures were written for the people alive at the time.  Still, they have enduring meaning as the inspired word of God passing down through the ages.  Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying.

The problem with Revelation is the symbolism which would have been familiar to most of John’s audience, now speaks a language we struggle to understand.

Perhaps we weren’t the intended audience of Revelation.  Nonetheless, “This is the word of God for us today.  They are words for us, however, by the means of some of the earliest believers in Christ Jesus…  Thus, these opening verses invite us to read the rest of this text in light of the everyday experiences, struggles, and successes that marked these early Christian communities.”[4]

There’s a whole lot more in this introduction to the book, but I don’t want to spend too much time on it.  I want to consider what today is: Christ the King Sunday (also called the Reign of Christ.)  What is this day all about?  What does it mean to say Christ is king?

The book of Revelation is addressed to Christians near the end of the first century.  Two or three decades before them, the emperor was Nero, a man who insanely persecuted the church, as well as a bunch of other people.  Now, Emperor Domitian picks up where Nero left off.  He takes things even further in how he wants to be addressed.  He demands to be called “our lord and god.”  (Here’s a guy with a real messiah complex!)

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As you can imagine, Christians are put into an extremely awkward, even deadly, position.  Do you simply go along, do the expected duty of a patriotic citizen, even if your heart isn’t in it?  You could avoid the unwelcome attention of the state.  Of course, there is that little problem of allegiance to Jesus Christ.  How do you reconcile those competing loyalties?

John’s words are meant as both encouragement and expectation.  “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come” (v. 4).  Okay, maybe there’s no problem there—not exactly, anyway.

Then we have this: “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (v. 5).  There’s plenty of stuff there to give someone pause.

How much of this is set in stone, so to speak?  Isn’t there a little wiggle room?  Jesus is called “the faithful witness,” so this really is a message from God.  He’s also called “the firstborn of the dead.”  No one, not even Domitian himself, can legitimately claim to have been resurrected.  Here’s the kicker: “the ruler of the kings of the earth.”

It’s a common thing to hear it said, “Our church doesn’t get involved in politics.  We avoid political issues.”  I can go along that, if what we’re talking about is promoting one candidate over another.  But for the Christians in John’s time, “lord” and “god” and “savior” are not only spiritual terms, they’re also political terms.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is inherently political.  The good news of salvation is intrinsically political.

That’s not a bad thing.  “Politics” is a neutral term.  In fact, it used to be taught in every school!  What is “politics”?  What is “political”?  The way we structure our society—the way we shape our values in our social contract—that is political.  “Politics” becomes a dirty word when we act in bad faith, when we employ manipulation and deception in furthering our own narrow ends.

4 rvMany applaud the idea of a “private faith.”  But don’t you dare live that out in the world!

The choice between Christ and Caesar obviously didn’t begin with the church in the time of Domitian.  In John 18, there is Pontius Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus.  There’s a debate over whether or not Jesus is a king.  He says, “My kingdom is not from this world.  If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.  But as it is, my kingdom is not from here” (v. 36).

Pilate realizes Jesus isn’t scheming to have him overthrown.  Jesus continues, “I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  Pilate replies, “What is truth?” and then he walks out the door (vv. 37-38).  He’s really not interested in getting involved in this religious squabbling among the Jews.

Keep your faith to yourself; don’t bother me with it.

Of course, there is a problem with that if we follow the example of John the Revelator, who was exiled to “the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (v. 9).  He hasn’t kept his faith to himself.  The powers-that-be wanted him to go away.  He made his choice between Christ and Caesar.  For those who confuse the two, consider yourself as having received fair warning!

Bruce Metzger, in his book Breaking the Code, has his own cautionary note.  “Revelation…has a warning for believers down through the years.”  It speaks “of the idolatry that any nation commits when it elevates material abundance, military prowess, technological sophistication, imperial grandeur, racial pride, and any other glorification of the creature over the Creator.”[5]

So again, what does it mean to say and to claim Christ as King?

Do we affirm the inherently political nature of the gospel, the good news, in a way that is holy and ennobling?  Do we take a cynical, unholy approach in a way in which we worship our own tribe?  Of course we will have disagreements, but are we mindful of the one we would serve as King?  Do we celebrate the peace of Christ, or do we celebrate the peace of empire—be it Roman or as empire exists today?  (A lot of questions, to be sure!)

Claiming Christ as King means loyalty to one who redefines the meaning of family: “pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mt 12:49-50).

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When we are welcomed into the family of God—the one who is the Alpha and Omega—we receive a royal revelation that we belong to Christ the King.  That is an apocalypse to be celebrated.



[2] Pablo Richard, Apocalypse: A People’s Commentary on the Book of Revelation, English tr. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995), 37.



[5] Bruce Metzger, Breaking the Code (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), 88.

tepid water, please

Tepid water, please.  That’s a request uttered on The Big Bang Theory.  For those who don’t know, the show is about four nerdy scientists who are socially challenged.  Eventually, one by one, they start dating women who teach them how to behave like semi-normal men.  Sheldon Cooper, who is played by Jim Parsons, is the most intelligent among them but the least functional in dealing with other human beings.  A couple of his friends put his profile on a dating site, and they pressure him into meeting his match at a coffee bar.

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It turns out to be Amy Farrah Fowler, played by Mayim Bialik, who as a teenager starred in the 90s show Blossom.  She’s as socially dysfunctional as Sheldon, and she confesses her aversion to romantic involvement.  That actually piques his interest, so he offers to buy her a beverage, to which she replies, (guess what?) “tepid water, please.”

(By the way, later on, they do get romantically involved!)

Tepid.  That probably serves as an apt description of the church of Laodicea, the recipient of the seventh letter to the churches in the book of Revelation.  Verse 16 of chapter 3 is the one often considered to be the most colorful description of that church—or should I say the least colorful?  “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  That’s the message of Jesus Christ through his servant John.

But you might ask, “What are these seven letters to the churches in Revelation you speak of?”  That’s a good question.  It’s one I will try to answer.  In chapters 2 and 3, the letters are messages to churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and lastly, Laodicea.  All of these churches are in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey.  John, the author of Revelation, delivers words appropriate for every church’s situation.  They are the addressees of the book of Revelation.

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Each of the letters follows the same format; there are three parts.  First, it’s “These are the words of” followed by a description of the risen Christ.  Then it’s, “I know” followed by something about the church.  And finally, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

One more thing about the seven churches.  Only Sardis and Philadelphia receive no word of criticism.  All the rest are told there’s something against them.  With her request for tepid water, could it be Laodicea is the “Amy Farrah Fowler” of the seven churches?  (More about the water in a few moments.)

The first thing the Laodiceans are told is they’re hearing the “words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation” (v. 14).  “Amen” isn’t a sign you just finished the prayer!  It’s used to describe something as “true,” to say “so be it.”  This one is called “the origin [or the beginning] of God’s creation.”  Christ is the one through whom all things were made.

G. K. Beale says something about Christ being called “the faithful and true witness.” “With the image…in mind, the Laodicean Christians are indicted for being generally ineffective in their faith. Their innocuous witness is the specific focus.”[1]

3 rv“Their innocuous witness.”  Their witness, their testimony to the faith, the way they live their lives—it’s harmless; it’s inoffensive; it’s insipid; it’s lame.  Having said that, what would it mean for them to be harmful?  What would it mean for them to be offensive?  Are they supposed to get in people’s faces?  Are they supposed to make jerks of themselves?  If they threw a party, would anybody show up?

There’s something in the Wisdom of Solomon, one of the books in the Apocrypha, that I like.  It’s what the unrighteous say about a faithful man.  “He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord.  He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange” (2:13-15).

A faithful life, almost by definition, will be seen as offensive by those who are dead set against it.  It’s an unpleasant reminder that one does not have to choose a wayward path, a constant refusal, a constant saying “no” to the Holy Spirit.  There is a better way to be.  (“Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”)

What about this business of being hot or cold?  “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish that you were either cold or hot” (v. 15).  And as we saw earlier, their being lukewarm makes the Lord want to upchuck.  That might raise a question.  Could we see being hot as being aflame with the Spirit, being on fire for God?  If that’s so (and I’ve heard preachers put it in those terms), would being cold in the faith an acceptable option?  Why would the Lord want that?

Bruce Metzger in his book, Breaking the Code, suggests looking at it differently.[2]  He reminds us of the situation the Christians were in. 4 rv

Among them “were those who thought there might be a middle ground between worshiping God [that is, being hot] and worshiping the emperor [being cold] that in some way they could remain in the…church while at the same time obeying the emperor’s command to worship him.  On the contrary, in their loyalty to Christ they must be ‘hot’; those who were content to be ‘lukewarm’ might just as well go to the extreme of being completely ‘cold.’”

The book of Revelation was written at the end of the first century.  The emperor of Rome at the time was a fellow named Domitian.  He was a real piece of work.  He became so proud and dictatorial he demanded to be called “our lord and god.”  Of course, faithful Christians couldn’t agree to that.  That title was reserved for another.  They were considered to be unpatriotic, since that was part of the civic duty of a Roman citizen.  They were also considered to be subversives, enemies of the state, enemies of the people.  They became targets for persecution.

So viewed this way, it’s impossible to worship Christ and worship Caesar.  If you compromise on that, at the end of the day, you’re worshiping Caesar anyway.  Might as well be cold and give it your all!

Now, about the promise to return to tepid water.

The region around Laodicea was noted for its hot, cold, and lukewarm water.  Our friend G. K. says, “The hot waters of Hierapolis had a medicinal effect and the cold waters of Colossae were pure, drinkable, and had a life-giving effect.  However, there is evidence that Laodicea had access only to warm water, which was not very palatable and caused nausea.”[3]  The city of Laodicea was quite wealthy, and so was their water.  Their water was quite rich—rich in salt, that is.

Just like their water, the behavior of the Laodiceans makes the Lord sick to his stomach; he’s ready to vomit.

These folks are pretty clueless, because they claim, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.”  The Lord replies, “You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17).  It’s like the Emperor’s new clothes.  They’re strutting around, wanting people to “ooh” and “ahh” over their fine fashions—while the whole time, they’re as naked as a jaybird.

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But all is not lost.  With verse 18, we begin to see the way home.  The Laodiceans are counseled in how they can be truly rich and how they can be truly clothed.  And then there’s this.  Get some “salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”

Here’s one more quote from Beale: “The picture of ‘eye salve’ for regaining sight emphasizes the Laodiceans’ lack of spiritual discernment, especially their ignorance of the lethal danger that their association with idolatry posed for their faith.”[4]

Spiritual discernment.  What an opening into the interior life of faith.  The application of salve for vision happens when the Spirit anoints our inner eyes.  The Laodicean church needs cataract surgery.  Their vision has become cloudy.  They have been blinded by their pursuit of idols.  They are in danger and don’t know it.  Idols have focused them on the wrong things.

We aren’t immune from that.  We have idols which beckon to us.  Anything setting itself up on the throne of our heart is an idol.  It happens more easily than we think.

Here’s just one example; there are many.  We can see ourselves or others as a personification of a negative.  We can define ourselves, say, by a disease or a condition.  “I am cancer.”  “I am poverty.”  We can define ourselves or others with labels.  When we label someone, we have to be careful not to think we know them.  If we trust a label and think that sums somebody up, we are trusting an idol.

My wife has been reminding me of something I once knew, and truth be told, still do.  Whatever we choose to live into is made manifest in our lives.  Here’s one very trivial example, just to make the point.

Several months ago, I was watching television.  It was a lovely, peaceful night.  For some reason, I began thinking about bats.  I was thinking about how we hadn’t seen one for a long time, and there certainly are bats in that building.  I started wondering if there was in fact a bat somewhere, ready to fly into the room.  It was almost like I was conjuring it.  And guess what?  It wasn’t but a few minutes before one of those critters appeared out of nowhere and started circling the room.

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I’m not saying my thoughts manifested a bat.  I’m not saying I created one, but there is a sense in what occupies our minds, what we put out into the world, does in fact come back to us.

I suppose this has been a roundabout way of describing how the lack of spiritual discernment leaves us open to deception by idols.

If verse 18 shows us the way home, the rest of the letter to the Laodiceans is a loving, powerful invitation.  Telling us he reproves those he loves, he immediately says, “Listen!  I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me” (v. 20).  Let’s sit around the table and enjoy each other’s company.

We’ll be singing the hymn, “Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door.”  Once again, we will be drinking from the deep well of the African-American spiritual tradition—and that water is definitely not tepid!  “Somebody’s knocking at your door; / Somebody’s knocking at your door; / O sinner, why don’t you answer?  Somebody’s knocking at your door. / Knocks like Jesus, Somebody’s knocking at your door; / O sinner, why don’t you answer?  Somebody’s knocking at your door.”

If we open the door, we will be conquerors, fit to sit on the throne Jesus prepares.  “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (v. 22).

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We request, “Tepid water, please.”  Jesus says, “Forget that.  I welcome you to the banquet.  Sit down and feast with me.”


[1] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 303.

[2] Bruce Metzger, Breaking the Code (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), 44-45.

[3] Beale, 303.

[4] Beale, 306.

several sevens

As we approach chapters 19 and 20 in Revelation, we see the defeat of evil and death themselves. “Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire” (20:14). John tries to put into words the vision of what he sees.

In Breaking the Code, Bruce Metzger again reminds us how John’s language involves the much-more-than-sevenfold use of “seven.” It is a recurring theme throughout the book. We see seven uses of “then I saw,” starting with 19:11 and ending with 21:1, signaling “visions preparatory to the end.” (90) He says, “This is symbolism at its highest. No one imagines that such statements are literal.” (91) I wouldn’t be so quick to make that claim. There seems to be a limitless supply of timelines created by folks who see John’s visions as only predictions of the future, with nothing to say in the here and now.

The constant employment of “seven” in Revelation is a clear sign of symbolism at work. To cite only seven examples (there are plenty more!), we have seven churches, seven golden lampstands, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven bowls, and…seven beatitudes:

1:3. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.
14:13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”
16:15. (“See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame.”)
19:9. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
20:6. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years.
22:7. “See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
22:14. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.

Can we see how the book of Revelation is itself beatitude, a blessing?

this calls for wisdom

“This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six” (Revelation 13:18). In his book, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament, Heinrich Schlier says in a footnote, “It is clear that today we have not the wisdom which the Apocalypse [the book of Revelation] takes for granted.” (89)

That isn’t meant as an insult. (Though, with some of the crazy theories about the number of the beast, it might be well-deserved.) Rather, it’s a reminder that what we’re reading takes place in a series of visions. And visions have rules of their own.

In Bruce Metzger’s Breaking the Code, he says, “In the last analysis, it is always a choice between the power that operates through inflicting suffering, that is, the power of the beast, and the power that operates through accepting suffering, namely, the power of the Lamb.” (77) That speaks to the essential orientation within the human heart of fear versus love.

Elsewhere, John shows how fear and love exist as opposites: how one hinders and twists faith and the other edifies and enlivens it. In 1 John 4 we read, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love” (v. 18). Without the love that inspires from within, we are left with only “brute” force. We summon nothing more from ourselves than the beast.

This calls for wisdom!

(The top image is from

seven horns and seven eyes

Having spent the last two weeks discussing the messages to the seven churches, we now return to more lofty matters—in Revelation 4 and 5, we rejoin John in a heavenly vision.

Just in case you need more of the number seven, don’t worry. It appears seven times in these two chapters! But there are other digits to deliberate: four and twenty-four both make prominent appearances. And there are “myriads” to mesmerize.

Speaking of being mesmerized… In our accompanying book, Breaking the Code by Bruce Metzger, he gives us a nugget of wisdom. “It may seem paradoxical,” he notes, “to say that the description does not mean what it says; it means what it means.” (26) For example, in 5:6, when John sees a lamb “having seven horns and seven eyes,” we shouldn’t focus on what such a thing looks like, but what that means. Simply turning that into a picture makes Revelation seem almost cartoonish. (Still, having said that, I must admit that I don’t know the thought process of the artist whose image I borrowed.)

We can find much more value in asking questions like, “What does this mean for John and his hearers?” That helps greatly in the question, “What does this mean for us?”

come and go the horsemen

The four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Just hearing those words conjures up all kinds of frightening images of a world laid waste—and the vicious struggle for survival in the aftermath. Possibly no single aspect of the book of Revelation has been subjected to more “freewheeling imagination,” as Metzger puts it in Breaking the Code, than this. (11) Wait…who am I kidding? The number of the beast has them all beat! (But we’ll deal with that when the time comes.)

Who are these horsemen? At the beginning of Revelation 6, they appear when the Lamb opens the first four seals of the scroll.

In his book Apocalypse, Pablo Richard contradicts Metzger’s claim that the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls “essentially tell the same thing.” (56) Richard says instead, “In those passages (trumpets and bowls) we find successive plagues against the Roman empire, whereas here the seals present the oppression of the empire over the people and the community.” (68) Serious, clear-eyed commentators come to different conclusions—let alone the crazy, wild-eyed ones!

Speaking of the first horseman, who comes out “conquering and to conquer,” Richard notes, “This is the first and most terrible thing about the empire: it is a victorious empire that continues to enjoy victory. Such is the tragic reality for those oppressed by the empire. John, however, makes a critical observation: the empire is victorious like the barbarians (the rider is carrying a bow), and its victory is ultimately the victory of political violence (red horse), economic oppression (black horse), and death (pale green horse).” (69)

Without making too easy an analogy, I think it’s safe to say that, just as Christ and Caesar still vie for our worship, so the values of empire still tempt us. Can we see that at work in our own lives and in the life of our community?

(The images are Albrecht Durer’s “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and Bill Proud’s “Four Horsemen.”)

Revelation revelations

We’re about to delve into the book of Revelation in our Bible study. It’s probably the book of the Bible that has received the worst treatment. (By the way, it’s the book of Revelation—not Revelations.) We’ll be using as a companion Bruce Metzger’s Breaking the Code.

It’s understandable why this book so often gets mishandled and basically looks like the storyline for a horror movie. Apocalyptic literature has dramatic and vivid imagery. (“Apocalypse” itself means “uncovering,” “unveiling,” or “revelation.”) That’s why it lends itself so easily to misunderstanding and mistreatment.

Isn’t it interesting how a revelation can be so obscure?

Jeremiah, larger than life

During his lifetime, the prophet Jeremiah achieved very little that a cold-eyed observer could legitimately call “success.” In a way, God is already preparing him for a life of “failure” while still a youth. Regarding the people he’s being sent to, God warns, “They will fight against you” (1:19).

And fight, they do. The prophet is denounced, ridiculed, slandered, arrested, beaten, and basically abused in a number of ways. Not many people at all listen to him. Later in his life, he and his friend Baruch are kidnapped and taken to Egypt by a group hoping to flee the wrath of the Babylonians.

So Jeremiah lives a life without much success, objectively speaking—and then he dies!

But if people don’t listen to him during his own lifetime, they really begin to in the centuries after. He gains almost legendary status. In 2 Maccabees, he’s credited with nothing less than saving some of the most holy artifacts, including the ark of the covenant itself. It is said he climbs up Mount Nebo, (where Moses gets his look at the promised land) and hides the ark in a cave. And just as with the final resting place of the lawgiver himself (Dt 34:6), no one knows where Jeremiah stashes it.

That’s not the only tale told about him. Jeremiah is included in other fantastic stories. And speaking of fantastic stories…our next Bible study will be on the book of Revelation. We’ll be using Bruce Metzger’s Breaking the Code to help us along.