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Revelation 21-22 What makes for a happy ending? Let me suggest four factors:  The good guys win.  The bad guys get their just deserts.  There’s a wedding.  And you finish on a song. There’s something immensely uplifting about a story that wraps up with this kind of victory.  But the bible claims that history is […]


Revelation 16:12-21; 19:1-21 Armageddon is well known in our culture as the “final battle” for the future of the planet.  But the way people imagine this battle differs greatly from the biblical reality. According to Hollywood, “Armageddon” is a special effects punch-up where the outcome is doubtful right up to the last minute.  According to the […]

Bottomless pit

Revelation 11:1-12:17 The word in Greek is “Abyss.”  Jerome’s Vulgate left it untranslated.  John Wycliffe rendered it “the pit of depnesse”.  But it’s been William Tyndale’s turn of phrase that has endured: “bottomless pit”!  Rightly, the KJV decided it could not improve on Tyndale.  The phrase occurs seven times, all in the book of Revelation (where sevens […]

Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:1-20 What is the book of Revelation?  Christian psychedelia?  Religio-political prognostication?  End-of-the-world prophecy? In chapter 1 we see that it’s a letter from John based on visions of Christ. “I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that […]

God is love

1 John 4:7-5:21 It’s universally popular.  You can find it cross-stitched on Granny’s mantle-piece and emblazoned on a rock star’s T-shirt.  It tumbles from the lips of bible-thumping fundamentalists and soft-spoken gurus.  But what does it mean? Let’s consider four points… Because God is love, there is relationship, radiance, room and response. Relationship 1 John […]

Dearly beloved

1 John 3:1-4:7 Imagine two scenarios. Scenario 1:  We are on a ship.  It springs a leak and starts to sink.  While we’re fleeing to the life-rafts, you manage to grab a bag.  Unbeknownst to the rest of us, your bag contains a bottle of water and some canned meat – tuna, spam, etc. We […]

Gold and frankincense and myrrh

Matthew 2:1-12; Psalm 72 What do you buy the man who has it all? Advertisers pose that question this time of year.  And usually they answer: some kind of razor.  But here’s the one occasion where the question is not hyperbole.  Jesus really is the Owner and Inheritor of the universe.  As Colossians 1 puts […]

Behold, there came wise men from the east

Matthew 2:1-12 The wise men and the shepherds tend to get mixed up in our recollections of Christmas.  But actually they couldn’t be more different.  The shepherds were poor Jews.  The wise men were rich foreigners.  For the shepherds, the birth of Christ was a ‘bolt from the blue’ as they went about their ordinary […]

Mine eyes have seen thy salvation

Luke 2:21-40 —  “Old Testament folks were not particularly Messianic in their faith. And even if they were, it was very confused.” –  “Expectation for Christ revolved around a conquering Warrior who arrives on a white horse.” –  “Believers BC wanted the Messiah to come and defeat the nations oppressing them.” It’s common to hear […]

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night

Luke 2:8-20 In science fiction, alien life forms are always showing up from another world.  Most often they come to destroy and dominate.  In Luke chapter 2, there is a very different kind of alien invasion: “8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by […]