Many of you know I am heading into surgery tomorrow. Thank you for the prayers, songs, notes of encouragement etc. that you have already sent my way! While I’m hospitalized, I thought I would share with you the introduction (“Off the Clock”) from my new book Revelation Deciphered (which is now available in softcover form to my readers only. After I am released from the Hospital, I will make the eBook available as well and release it to the general public.)
BTW – Just as a note of encouragement, for one day, Revelation Deciphered was the number one new Eschatology book on Amazon with Dr. David Jeremiah’s new book second. That was only one day, but it was encouraging that the insights in this book are getting out to the Church.
Order on AMAZON HERE
So here is the introduction which mentions the event that landed me in the surgical suite of the hospital:
A Beginning Word
Off the Clock
I believe you are about to embark on an exciting journey into the most controversial book of the Bible — the Book of Revelation; the book of the Bible that best explains God’s plan to bring about the return of Jesus. Being of a category of biblical literature called “apocalyptic literature,” much like the book of Ezekiel or Daniel, Revelation features visions of strange colored horses, dragons, thrones in heaven, scenes in the starry sky, etc. God has placed them in Revelation as a message to us. What do they all mean? In Revelation Deciphered, we are going to visit and make sense of these things.
But I don’t want them to just make sense to you in some “academic,” “head-knowledge” way. Head-knowledge is interesting, but knowledge we can apply is useful. Knowledge we can apply in the Love of Jesus will minister. I want this book to affect the very core of your being, to affect your relationship with the risen Jesus, King of the Universe. I wrote this book to change your life. Let me tell you a brief story about an event that just happened in my life, and how life change can happen. I use stories like this throughout Revelation Deciphered as metaphors of the biblical passages and ideas this book explains.
I glanced down at my watch. The battery was dead. With as many things as had just happened to me and around me, I wasn’t surprised.
August 5th was my day off. Even though it was only 6:30 AM, the Carolina sun promised it would be a great morning. I was sitting outside of the office of my Primary Care Provider awaiting my yearly physical, and even the thoughts of being prodded and poked weren’t upsetting me that fine morning.
My PCP went over my blood test results, perfect, perfect, perfect. I was really feeling blessed until he said, “Everything is about as good as could be expected, but you have a low grade fever. Do you feel alright?” I told him I felt good, not just okay. The only thing bothering me was my left elbow was warm. I had a cyst on that elbow that my PCP and I had watched slowly grow over the past month.
“Let me send you over to the orthopedic surgeon and have her drain it,” he suggested. “Then we can put you on some antibiotics. It’s probably infected.”
On my way to the Orthopedic Surgeon for this “minor procedure,” I began to feel worse. By the time I got to her office which is next to the hospital, my fever was 103°. She immediately admitted me to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. Despite her immediate action, my blood had become infected and one of my heart valves was damaged.
Compared to the hospitalizations and open heart surgery that ensued, a dead watch battery was nothing. This was the first time I was able to wear a watch since that fateful day. “It must have been dead for a while,” I thought. Then I glanced at the time the watch died: 6:30 AM August 5th. The exact moment that my odyssey had begun! What kind of crazy co-incidence was this? Or was God sending me a sign?
God had saved me, of that there was no doubt. What if I hadn’t had my regular yearly physical scheduled on that exact day? What if my PCP had only placed me on a mild antibiotic instead of referring me? Would I have survived or would I have been as motionless as my watch? God showed his infinite grace to me. He holds the entire universe together, each atom and each proton. Every breath we take is his grace after all, and by his grace he allowed me to live on for his purposes.
What were the odds of me being in my PCP’s office at the exact hour my infection became noticeable; approximately 1 in 10,000 (about 365×24)? What were the odds of my watch stopping at that exact moment as well; also approximately 1 in 10,000? Combined the odds are 1 in 100 Million. Those are odds to make even the staunchest atheist take notice.
What are the odds of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation occurring in the exact order and timing God has ordained? Is the universe large enough to contain this number? Yet with God, the odds of my event occurring as it did was 100%, and the odds of Revelation’s prophecies being fulfilled is also 100%. Are we willing to live in the reality of those odds?
I realized a possible second meaning in the stopped watch. Did God “take me off the clock?” All of us would probably say we are living sold-out lives for Jesus, but had I been partially living on the world’s time instead of 100% on God’s time? This event was certainly a wake-up call; a time to reflect and re-evaluate my life. This is an aspect of God’s grace as well.
This event has also been an enormous source of testimony for me about God’s grace. In Luke, Jesus spoke about the coming persecutions and hard times that will come upon the earth and said, “They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.”
Can reading and studying Revelation help us re-evaluate our lives to better use them for his glory? I pray that this book will do for you what my infection did for me: take you off the world’s clock and put you on God’s clock 100%. Time is short; God has an incredible plan proposed that will lead to the glorious return of his Son as King of the Earth. He wants every one of his bond-servants to buy into his plan 100%. He wants us all to be a part of His plan.
For that reason, you will find that this book (Revelation Deciphered) is different than every other commentary on Revelation. Indeed, the Book of Revelation itself is unlike any other book of the Bible. It is not a stand-alone book, but rather acts as a compendium of the other end-time prophecies found throughout the Bible. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ and by Jesus Christ to us his bond-servants, but was written down by John to organize and chronologically arrange these other end-time prophecies. It accomplishes this by quoting them within the text of Revelation. There are hundreds of Old and New Testament references found in its pages that point the reader to these other prophecies, and these references give Revelation a Bible-wide-panoramic scope. In addition, of course, Revelation expands these other prophecies gives some new insights not contained in other scripture.
Most commentaries on Revelation are organized as a verse-by-verse description. That approach might work for commentaries on other books of the Bible, but there are inherent problems with that method for deciphering Revelation. A verse-by-verse approach adds to the confusion caused by Revelation’s scripture-wide basis for its teachings. Attempting to jump back and forth from a verse in Revelation to a reference in another book of the Bible and back again to Revelation can be hopelessly perplexing. Additionally, the Book of Revelation is not totally chronological in its layout, but, as is common in Hebrew literature, some later chapters are further descriptions of previously described events.
Hence, Revelation Deciphered is not a verse-by-verse traditional commentary on Revelation, but rather it provides an all-encompassing, sweeping canvas of the end times. I think you will appreciate this difference. Because it is not a verse-by-verse view of Revelation, as you read through Revelation Deciphered, it is helpful to have in mind the overall organization of this book. It is primarily organized around the Pattern of Seven Events; the seven events that chronologically define the “end times.” This commentary will assist the reader in uncovering and understanding this new insight of a foundational, chronological configuration of seven events or occurrences found throughout scripture that describe the period our culture calls “The Tribulation.” Amazingly, this Pattern of Seven Events shows up over and over in scripture.
Following this introduction is a summary of each of the five Parts and all the Chapters of this book. These summaries provide a feel for how this commentary is put together and how the Pattern of Seven Events is crucial to deciphering Revelation. This organizational understanding will assist you in reading through the text.
As stated, Revelation Deciphered is unlike any other commentary — organized in a different way, as well as having hundreds of unique and helpful insights into Revelation. These insights help us understand the message that Jesus is giving to the Church during the last days. In essence, the following summary of the Chapters of this book allows you to see the “forest among the trees” and how all the insights, relating to the rest of the Bible, are connected together in understanding the amazing Book of Revelation. This chapter summary explains these unique “pieces of the puzzle.” This is helpful in deciphering Revelation.
My great desire is that through this study of Revelation, you come to know and love Jesus more; that you go “off the clock” to become completely sold-out for him, and then that you become part of his plan to return and restore the world.