Friday, June 30, 2006


Jesus loves me
This I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so

Sometimes, it's great to be reminded that the most basic truths are still the most profound ones.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday, June 26, 2006


I love writing music. It's how I unwind, ponder, question, and muse. I didn't imagine or dream of anything outside of playing for those I love in an upstairs room of a church or a coffe house. I sang this morning at my church, here in Waco. My song was about where God is in the suffering of people throughout the world, especially the children in Northern Uganda. I didn't try to answer the question, but pose it.

I plugged Invisible Children before singing, just to get the message out - the children were my reason for singing this morning. So, I plugged in my Yamaha, and let it go.

My voice was scratchy; I've had sinus problems since Thursday. I don't much care for my voice in the first place. While it's gotten better, I still don't think it sounds all that good. My singing voice has been known in the past to scare puppies and small children.

But I sang. And after the service I was approached by a good friend of mine. She works as a radio DJ and her bosslady person was also there in the service this morning. Somehow (only God it could have been) I was asked if I would be interested in having my music played on air at KBDE. The people that make those descisions are aparently the ones who made this decision. Aparently they like my music, and they really will play my stuff on the air if I get them recordings. The station is part of the American Family Radio Network, and it's a local branch, but apprently have some influence/control with other stations. It would be played in the evenings, and then eventually thoughout the day on several stations throughout the country, as I understand it.

Honestly, this scares the mess out of me! I'm confortable with the Common Grounds (you Waco folk know what I'm talking about) arenas. I like small intimate atmospheres. I'm guess just not really confortable with large audiences - of course I've never had experience with really large audiences before to get used to the idea. But oh well, God doesn't call us to comfort, right? He calls us to make his glory, name, and grace known to everyone we come into contact with.

And if this is a way to make God known and praised, then it's worth a leap of faith. It just kinda weird, different, and cool at all the same time. (Sort of like

It's really hard for any idie artist to get airplay on any radio stations, even local ones - let alone regional or national stations. Indie CD's that are delivered to stations are usually filed in the trash can upon arrival. I'll walk through this door (although my foot is shaking as I write this), but I'll need some prayer. This really was not the direction I thought God (actually I) wanted my music to take. But still, here I am - with this opportunity.

I think I'm just expecting to wake up with my Snoopy alarm going off and the whole 'it's a dream' thing to set in. I'll keep yall posted on what goes down. I'd appreciate your prayers as well.


Sunday, June 25, 2006


This weekend, I attended a Youth Evangelism Conference in Dallas. It was exactly what I needed. God showed me not only the reward of being a youth pastor, but also he provided encouragement. God knows our strengths and our weaknesses and he used both to further his kingdom.

Saturday morning, the speakers talked about the importance of youth pastors. I felt so frustrated last weekend. But God used this conference to renew my energy and show my a little more of why he brought me here. My mission is not completed. God has brought me to this point in my life (as he will other points throughout my life) so that HE alone can be glorified.

God is bigger and any one person, or any many persons. God is bigger than anything I can hope for, dream for, or imagine up. God is God, and I am not.

I just needed to be reminded of that.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


God answered my prayer/song I posted in the previous post in a huge, awesome way this weekend. More details to come.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I wrote this song tonight. I've tried to upload a rough recording to MySpace or Tagworld, but I have been unsuccessful. Here are the lyrics:

It’s only You I follow
It’s only You I need
If I tell myself that enough
Would I finally believe it?

It’s only You I long for
It’s only You I crave
Cause You’re my only master
My God, my everything

It’s only You

Life me up out of this place
Let me see You’re smiling face
My cup is empty
And my well’s run dry
Though I’ve followed You in everything
Seen Your footprints right beside of me
Won’t You pick me up and mend me now
There’s only You

It’s only You I cling to
It’s only You I need
Though my world may fall around me
Still You’re my only thing

There’s only You
It’s only You

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Can't Think of a Good Title

We've had a busy past couple of days. Went to a Texas Rangers game last night. We had a blast - it was a church-wide thing with folks from all ages, so it was pretty neat. The Rangers played the San Diego Padres. They lost by a point (6-5), but oh well, we had a blast.

Today we began our summer service project with our youth group. After we finished that, we went to the theater to watch Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (not worthy enough to attach a link to). It was an experience. I actually loved the first Ice Age, it's one of my favorite animated movies, but this one, well, let's just say that I spent two hours of my life I will never get back. It's really made for children; while the first was appealing to people of all ages. But we did have fun at the theater! (You always do with youth groups)!

Please continue to pray for Western Heights Baptist Church, I think God is starting to work some great things, but this transition time will be tough. Pray that we allow God to do His will on His timetable.

Thanks for prayin'
- cruz-control

P.S. the quote at the top is from a King of the Hill episode; I just couldn't get it out of my head.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I was saved when I was 6 - as saved as a six-year-old could be. I didn't understand all the theologies, the trinity, etc. (I'm still not sure I do). But I knew I loved Jesus because Jesus loved me enough to take my punishment for me being a bad boy. I was saved and I knew I loved Jesus. Over the next several years, I grew to understand better what Jesus had done for me and what being saved meant.

Then, I went to a youth conference in San Antonio, TX. The speaker was Ken Freeman. The conference began with a Praise & Worship band. All was well; then Ken got up to speak. "Do you know that when you die you will go to Hell!!!" he shouted. "...if you're not sure of your salvation!!!!" he continued. What??? I was trying to process everything he was saying. Hell had always been a real, literal concept to me. But that had nothing to do with the reason of my salvation. I chose Jesus because Jesus love me - I thought. I wasn't saved to get out of Hell. But now that he mentioned it, I sure didn't want to end up in Hell. And if I'm not sure of my 'salvation,' I could go to Hell?? Well, then.

"If you walk out of here tonight and get hit by an 18-wheeler," he shouted as he pointed to the exit not far from where I was, "you will go to Hell, unless you're sure you're saved by Jesus. And if you go to Hell, you will burn forever in fire you can't ever escape from!"

I freaked. There's no other way to put it. I was overwhelmed by a fear of Hell and 18-wheelers. I didn't know anymore whether or not Jesus had actually saved me. The idea of being 'sure' had never really crossed my mind - and now I'm told that my salvation is condition upon it. And at the same time I was kicking myself for doubting. I can still remember, "If you walk out of here tonight..." being shouted by a man with More Precious Than Silver playing on the keyboards. I walked out of the church afterwards with everyone else. But I wrestled with all this through the night until daybreak. I didn't know what to believe, or why. Inside, I began to have a new relationship with God - one centered around my getting out of hell instead of knowning my Creator.

That night in San Antonio was the first time I had ever left a church doubting my salvation.


"If you had asked the apostle Paul, 'If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you would be with God in heaven?' I'm certain Paul would have said yes. But he probably would have given you a funny look and wondered why you were asking this question, because to him it missed the point."

- from Adventures in Missing the Point by Brian McLaren.

Y'all hit the nail on the head in your comments, last time. I'm just not sure what we consider salvation to be is what we present it as. More discussion to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


This morning our pastor resigned - one week to the day our Education Minister resigned. Please pray for the Western Heights Baptist Church in Waco, TX.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


When Christians say salvation, what does that mean to you?

Leave responses under 'comments.'
(Remember, you don't have to have a blogger ID to comment.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Random Funny

The reason I need a new-to-me automobile:

These are the prices at a gas station in the Houston area. The couple that owns the station thought the sign was appropriate. (As do I.)

Quotes: Albert Einstein
"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax"

"If one studies too zealously, one easily loses his pants."

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

"So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me."

"God doesn't play dice."

Einstein was amazing - many of his quotes even moreso and profound. CLICK HERE for more.


I don't like change. I guess it's part of who I am. I naturally have an aversion to doing things and having things different than before. Actually I tend to think of it as a human thing, as we all kinda feel this way (at least I hope so).

Anyways, our church is about to go through a transition, which will no doubt affect our entire family. I remember leaving several churches throughout my growing-up days; my dad pastored a number of churches and I can recall the last day we spent at each of them.

We are also looking for ways to revamp many things in our student ministry - change some stuff up and to make the ministry more effective. One of which can be seen HERE. But nonetheless change, even changes we want to make (like the new stuff for the youth ministry) doesn't come easy.

Please pray for the Western Heights Baptist Church in Waco, TX next time you talk to God. We'd really appreciate it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Shotgun Rules

(According to Austin Family Magazine)
1. The first person who calls "shotgun" gets to ride in the front seat next to the window.

2. "Shotgun" must be spoken loudly enough to be heard by at least one witness.

3. A person may only call "shotgun" for one way of a trip.

4. "Shotgun" must be called while outside of the vehicle. (No arguments or calls inside the car).

5. The owner of the vehicle may make up his/her own rules for "shotgun" and is the final judge.

6. If a passenger in the "shotgun" seat leaves the car for a break, the break can not last more than five minutes or that passenger will lose the "shotgun" position. Long lines at the restroom are part of the five minutes.

7. Crossing any country's border changes the "shotgun" claims. So going into Mexico or Canada would change who owns "shotgun," but going into Oklahoma does not (go figure).

8. The "shotgun" passenger has responsibilities such as: pumping the gas, spotting speed zone signs for the driver, spotting radar on the side of the road and spotting law enforcement officers for the driver.

9. All ties for "shotgun" shall be decided by one round of "rock, paper, scissors."

10. To avoid arguments inside of the restaurant, all calls for "shotgun" must be made in full view of the vehicle by the passengers.

The full set of Official Rules & The Website of Shotgun can be found HERE.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Here are two great organizations dedicated to helping children around the world in Christ's name. Both are trustworthy. The first is called Invisible Children. They are dedicated to helping the children in Northern Uganda in the midst of the Sudan conflict. The second is Compassion International. It is a program that links up children with sponsors. For $32/mo a sponsor pays for a child's education, which includes God, and provides clothes and other necessities these children need.

Please pray for these organizations and help them out if you can. CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO ACCESS WEBSITES

Monday, June 12, 2006


Any one know any cures for insomnia?

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Continuing our series through the Beatitudes, tonight we will talk about Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."

Each beatitude is meant to be radical and life-changing. Purity is consistant throughout the Bible as a condition for looking upon the face of God. The Jewish temple was setup in levels of sorts, to keep all but the holiest priests from getting anywhere near the Holy of Holies.

The New Testament also urges us to be pure. Paul tells us to seek what is pure, admirable, lovely, and right (Phil. 4.8). Having true, pure honest hearts is not something that comes naturally to us. It requires us being single-minded for God alone.

It is also not something the world looks at favorably. Having pure hearts to the point that we place oursevles in danger of being used is not something that this world commends.

Purity of heart involves innocence and honesty because our hearts are "unmixed," whatever the cost may be. If you're in the Waco area, join us tonight at 5:30. We meet at 6301 Bosque Blvd, in Room 208. See you tonight.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I read two books about a year and a half ago, Resident Aliens and The Cost of Discipelship. They challenged eveything I believed and had been taught. When I went back to Matthew 5-7 and read it in a new light, many of my long held beliefs about Christianity, and Christianity in America changed.

One such belief had to do with Matthew 5:7. I always believed 'mercy' to mean forgiveness. And that's great to forgive people, but it actually goes further than that. Mercy is grace. Mercy is not only forgiveness but compassion as well. It is giving to those who do not deserve it. Much like Christ showed us mercy at the cross, he gave us something we did not deserve.

Growing up in conservative America, I often held to the notion that homeless people, for instance, were homeless because of the 'drunken' lifestyle they'd chosen. Then I worked at a homeless shelter for a week when I came to college. I got know guys like Ron who told me his story. I got to see the honest, hard working men who were just trying to get by. I stayed that the shelter that week - not in a hotel or church. And because of that, I learned something about the face of God: he is merciful, and we are called to be merciful too.

Justice is not a Christian concept; it is an American one. Justice demands fairness. The score is settled; the wrongs avenged.
But Jesus teaches his followers to be merciful. Give what is undeserved to those we are taught are undeserving. Christians are not to demand justice; they are to offer grace.

True, justice is in the Bible, especially in the OT. But the OT is a Jewish work, justice is a large component of their beliefs. The very nature of sacrifices is to fulfill justice; to atone for wrongdoings. But Jesus strengthened the demands of the OT in the Sermon on the Mount. Instead of fulfilling the demands of justice, we are to go further and offer grace.

Every time the word justice is mentioned in the NT, it refers to Jesus as diety. God alone is to exact justice, because it's no longer our perogative; it is God's alone. As followers of Christ, we are to offer grace, as we were offered grace.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. We are to offer grace, not justice. Justice demands fairness. But grace demands love.

Friday, June 09, 2006


The Face of Love is not a pretty one. It is covered with scares and bruises, from repeated blows it did not strike back from.

It is not adorned by the latest fashions, because it gave clothes to those who had none.

The Face of Love is pale from growing hungry, because it gave others its food.

The Face of Love is strong, its eyes are scary - displaying strength unimaginable. Its smile is mysterious.

The Face of Love is gorry. Blood flows down from it, from an execution it did not deserve. It forgives and shows compassion, but it is not a pretty one as we like to think. It is the face of Christ.


I don't often talk much about myself. But I've noticed that I've wanted to hear more about who the people are that I offen correspond with via the blogs. So, I'm practicing what I'm preaching. Here's some stuff about me and who I am. (If this bores you, CLICK HERE).

First off, I am the person you see. My online life is not any different from my regular life, except for the fact that I live in the real world and not on a blog, so you don't see all of who I am. But I am not a different person online than I am in real life. I am still the same mildly-humorous (at least I try to be) nerd who aspires to be a soft rock star. =-)

But seriously, I am the same person you would talk to in real life. I don't pretend like I'm someone else online. I like talking about God, music (anything but rap), and the Loch Ness Monster. I am not dating anyone as of now, I haven't in quite some time actually (hence, all the time I have to blog). I write music - mostly songs, but the Music Composition school here at Baylor requires symphonies and the like - so I write those as well. I actually was able to write one love song, with a friend. I took us hours trying to chisel out a lyric that's romantic (for 2 guys this is a tough chore). But I haven't got to sing it to anyone yet, a girl that is, because they usually run off before I can start. (jk)

But that's OK, I'm comfortable where I'm at in life right now. God's plans are best, I really shouldn't interfere.

My favorite places to eat include: Chick-fila and Backyard Burgers. I work at a church, but I seriously have the best job in the world. I'm a youth pastor. So, my job includes a lot of chillin' with high school students.

I really like old movies, like Black & White stuff. Tonight was a double feature on my TiVo, I saw 12 Angry Men and Strangers on a Train (an excellent Hitchcock picture). Reeses and Dr. Pepper rock my face off. I don't care much for video games. Favorite NFL team is the Tennessee Titans. And of course, with respect to college ball - Baylor Bears have my loyalty.

And as far as personality, let's just say that I'm a musician. That usually has a bad connoation, but I don't mean it to. I'm just introspective and 'artsy.' Large numbers in any form scare me. I guess I can just say I think alot, about life, people, meaning, and God.

This is who I am. I am really the person who writes this blog - I don't assume some kind of fake persona. This actually bothers me when people do that actually - I mean, what's the point? I've noticed a lot of MySpaces that have quite some disturbing things on them from people I know well in real life. Why I ask them about it, they just say, "It just online, everyone knows that's not who I am." Really??? Could've fooled me. So, I just want to reassure you that I am honest on this blog (and hopefully let you know a little more about myself)... and I hope you are honest too.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

If You're Late to the Party...

So in case you haven't visted in the Cruz-Control in a while, or didn't feel like reading these posts when I wrote them, here are all the entries I wrote about the "End Times" and the Book of Revelation. Read them at your leisure. Feel free to print them out and go through each post with your Bible. I've tried to be as concise as possible, yet pithy at the same time. It would probably be most effective, if you read them in this order. If you have any questions at all feel free to comment or e-mail me.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Church Sign Fun

Here are some signs churches have posted on their marques that I thought are worth a chuckle or ten. The first one is very similar to one at a church here in Waco after a Hooter's opened earlier this year. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Many people assume that the number 666 is a literal mark of the beast. However a close reading of Revelation 13 shows us something quite different.

First, we must remember that we are reading an apocalyptic work - its numbers are symbolic, as is nearly everything else. 7 = perfection. 6 = imperfection. The number 6 three times (666) means Ultimate Imperfection in the apocalyptic tradition. The beast is imperfect to the ultimate degree; this would jive with John's view that Roman Imperial Power (specifically, the Emperor) was antichrist.

However, Revelation is full of double-entendres. John writes symbolically in the apocalyptic tradition, but he also means for his audience to draw a person's name from the numbers (Rev. 13.18). People have tried to match 666 with different people throughout history, including tapping Ronald Reagan as the Antichrist. However, to understand what John wanted his audience to understand, we again have to turn to the ancient traditions.

Letters in greek and hebrew are also numbers. While 666 doesn't come out to much in greek, in hebrew 666 spells the name Neron Kaisar (Nero Caesar). Drop the "n" at the end of "Neron" to spell "Nero," and you get the number 616 - which is a popular replacement for 666 in ancient manuscripts for Revelation 13.18 (check the footnote in your Bible to see). Some argue that John was writing in greek and therefore to make the switch to hebrew is ludicrous. However, John seems to have a keen interest in Hebrew words for things throughout Revelation (for example 9.11, 16.16). Also some of his readers would have come from Jewish backgrounds, so this practice would not seem strange to them. John does, after all, say that it requires wisdom to calculate the number. "Wisdom," once again reveals yet another double-entendre: (1) one who can understand the calculation of the Beast's number/name, and (2) one who can discern who is antichrist (those who oppose God).

We must remember that we have two beasts: Roman Imperial Power (esp. the Emperor Nero) and The Roman Imperial Cult. The second beast forces worship of the first. Rev. 13.16 says that is causes all to be marked with the mark of the first beast (who is represented by 666).

However, the mark is not a literal mark. Is it a seal of ownership - much like God puts a seal on his people in Rev. 7.3, 9.4. (This is also reminicent of the seal God placed on Cain after he killed Abel - a seal of ownership and, therefore, protection). The greek word used for "mark" is charagma. Charagma is the technical term used for the imperial stamp on official documents and coins. Basically, this mark showed ownership. Placing a seal on the forehead or right hand made this ownership public (as with slaves). John is not talking about a literal mark; he simply means anything that makes this ownership public. Taking the mark of the beast is not a literal bio-implant computer chip; it is anything that publically shows to whom you belong (in this case: the Beast). Worshipping the Emperor as god, therefore, obviously is "taking the mark of the beast." It shows everyone that you belong to the Emperor (as opposed to God). John also writes that one cannot buy or sell without this mark. This was true. It would hurt Christians financially if they did not accept the "mark" by participating in Emperor worship.

The seal is not a literal one, but it is a real one. By accepting a role in Emperor Worship, a person would violate the first commandment of God. We need not worry about the government instituting a mark of 666 via bio-implants, barcodes or social security numbers. We need to worry about accepting the mark of the beast John talked about: displaying ownership of our lives by someone other than God, by worshipping someone (or something) other than God.

Also in this series:


Modern theologians who subscribe to the theology set forth in the Left Behind novels, believe that there will be a Devil incarnate - a man who will be Satan in the flesh. In the Left Behind novels, his name is Nicolae Carpathia. To get this idea of a single Mr. Diabolical, a way of reading the Bible called Dispensationalism is necessary.

Dispensationalism divides history (and the Bible) into, what else?, dispensations. Basically put, this interpretation says that God has dealt with humanity in different ways, at different times. There are seven dispensations, but they are not chronological. Sometimes one dispensation is suspended while another begins and is picked up again later. Some of these dispensations include the Dispensation of Law, of Conscience, of Innocence, and of Government. This idea has never been supported by scholars or those who know how the Bible came into existence. It was invented by a man named James Darby in the 1800's. The rapture idea followed because it was impossible to see how God's people who had received grace to experience a time of tribulation, spoken of by Jesus and written about by Paul.

In order to fit the Bible into these dispensations, you have to string texts together that had nothing to do with one another originally. Because of this, the apocalypse in Daniel (ch. 7-12) and the Book of Revelation then can be read as a single work.

This is where modern theologians get their notions about the Antichrist - by stringing together texts in the Bible that orginally had nothing to do with one another. Drawing on references to Antiochus Epiphanes IV and the Beasts in Revelation 13 - one can sculpt a disturbing mold of a future Mr. Dictator. However, this is not supported by a reading of Revelation that takes into account it's historical or literary context. Each author of a Biblcal book wrote for a specific purpose to a specific group of people. The canon as we know it did not exist - the authors did not base their works on what we now know as the Christian canon, but on what they believed about Jesus and God.

John wrote to an audience that understood what he meant, and his writing of Revelation had importance in their eyes - after all, they preserved his letter. First, John writes about two beasts. The first beast is Roman Imperial Power, and specifically (I believe) Nero. This is made obvious by the 'mortal wound' comment in Rev. 13.3. It is in line with a Nero tradition that his death was a ploy to further persecute those who didn't support him. The second beast (v. 11), is the Emperor Cult, who would force worship of the first beast. The first is out of the water... the second is out of the earth. This is consistent with the water evoking thoughts of terror, and the earth meaning the place from which things come. The Emperors were elevated to "god" status by the cult, which forced worship of them from all.

The problem obviously presents itself for Christians, who are supposed to worship only God. This is the point of John's writing. Christians were being coerced into worshipping the Emperor, but John is telling them not to assimilate into Roman Imperial Culture. He knows that it will hurt them financially if they do not participate (v. 17), so many are compromising their faith and worshipping the Emperor. He is writing to discourage this.

Further, the Bible does talk about Antichrist, but there are many not one. Antichrist figures are also common in apocalyptic literature, especially preceding the eschaton. 1 John speaks of many, Matthew 24 speaks of many, there is not one Mr. Diabolical at the end of time, but many will precede the end. I do believe that John saw Roman Imperial Power as being endowed by Satan (v. 2), and that he saw Nero as Satan's pawn. But John did not limit the role of Antichrist to Nero, he simply pointed out that he was one of many.

Also in this series:

Sunday, June 04, 2006

They're at it again...

Read this... CLICK HERE.

P.S. It's a pet-peeve of mine when someone calls the Book of Revelation the Book of Revelations. It's the Book of Revelation (singular). The NEWS people should doublecheck the title of the book.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Lock-Ins, Ice Cream Trucks, & Ninjas

This weekend we had our summer kick-off lock-in for our youth group. T'was uber-fun. Except for the fact that I got zero sleep last night. But we played sardines and Underground Church - two excellent games. And at the church, it's actually kinda spooky at night with all the lights out. There are a lot of rooms, crevices and closets to hide in - Yay!

So I got home about 9 am this morning. I showered, put on Phantom of the Opera on my computer and fell asleep... only to be awoken by an Ice Cream Truck playing Christmas Carols on its loudspeaker. Yes... Christmas Carols in June!!! It is now that I firmly believe that ICE CREAM TRUCKS ARE FROM HELL!!!! They drove by all afternoon tearing my body away from the sleep it craved. I left the lock-in quite inebriated from my lack of sleep. I finally slept until 6:45 this evening. Now I'm wide awake and it's all night time and stuff.

But to give you some enjoyment, SHLOG.COM pointed me in the direction of and the comic hilarity found there. I'm becoming surprisingly addicted. Here's two of my favorites, quite funny... enjoy:

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Because Revelation is Apocalyptic Literature, it uses the setting of the end times, the Shift of the Ages, to get it's point across. Therefore, Revelation's goal is to provide an antidote to Christians assimilating into the Roman Imperial Culture, mailnly emperor worship. It is not predicting a literal future, it simply uses the Shift of the Ages as a backdrop to remind Christians that one day, it will all end, and God will prevail. This is an essenatial component of most apocalyptic works. Also, Revelation is prophecy, which means it's goal is to tell forth God's truth, not foretell the future.

Revelation is ingeniously written. Bascially speaking, Revelation is broken up into Seven Letters to the Seven Churches of Asian Minor, and Seven Visions of the Shift of the Ages ("The End Times"). Each of the seven visions is a cycle that recaps the eschaton (the end). John uses recapitulation in each of these cycles. In other words, he tells of one Shift of the Ages, but in a different way each time, each with a different focus. The first group of three visions focuses on a tribulation experienced by Christians before the end, a common belief in Apocalyptic writings. The second group of three visions focuses on the impending judgment on Rome because of idolatry and it's role in persecution of Christians. The seventh cycle, is a picture of the consummation of all things.

Here's how it breaks down:

1:1-8 Letter introduction
1:9-3:22 Call of the prophet, and SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

4:1-8:1 CYCLE ONE: The Seven Seals
8:2-11:18 CYCLE TWO: The Seven Trumpets
11:19-13:18 CYCLE THREE: The Role of Rome (in the suffering of Christians)
14:1-20 CYCLE FOUR: Seven Angels of Judgment
15:1-16:21 CYCLE FIVE: Seven Bowls of Wrath
17:1-19:5 CYCLE SIX: The Results of Rome's Role (in the suffering of Christians)
19:6-22:5 CYCLE SEVEN: Seven Scenes of the Consummation

22:6-21 Epilogue

All seven cycles begin with an opening scene in heaven (4:1-5:14, 8:2-6, 11:19, 14:1-5, 15:1-16:1, 17:1-2, 19:6-10), a common element in apocalyptic writings. The seven cycles also have many other common elements, both among each other and apocalyptic writings as a whole.

Revelation cannot be read chronologically because John is describing one event from different angles. John uses the Shift of the Ages to get his point accross that one day God will destroy Rome and will prevail - therefore, there is no need to succomb to the demands of Emperor worship.

The author of Revelation relies on extra-Biblcial works for symbols and themes, and when read in context of other apocalyptic literature, Revelation makes sense. John wrote to an audience that understood his patterns and meanings.

To buy the book The Apocalypse by Charles H. Talbert - an excellent book that breaks down all this and explains it futher, CLICK HERE.

Also in this series: