Last night was my last class of NT Survey at Indiana Wesleyan University (cincy campus) for this cohort. They took their exam, handed in their final paper and then I gave them my last lecture which was on Revelation. This has been a diverse class of skeptics, seekers and followers. They shared that this class was one of the ones in their program that they were terrified of because of all their negative church experiences. Instead they said it was one of their favorites. This has less to do with my teaching than it does the compelling nature of Jesus' life and teachings.
I explained the typical arguments and disagreements over how to interpret this apocalyptic literature. I gave them all sides to the discussion and then ended with about a 15 minute explanation of my overall view of the Kingdom of God. I proclaimed about the new heaven and the new earth and that we actually partner with God on their creation. That I don't believe the rapture is us leaving to go anywhere, but rather an unveiling of this new heaven and earth (parousia/apakolupsis). That the Kingdom has already come in the person of Jesus Christ. That the Kingdom is all around us in the same quality that exists in the heavenly realm. That death is a passage into the fullness of that Kingdom, now we have quality, then we will have quantity too. That the Kingdom is the natural way to live, it is the essence of being the human you were created to be. That the only way to experience the Kingdom of God is through the person of Jesus Christ. That heaven is not a place far away, but a realm very near to us now. That hell is God giving us over to alienation for eternity, which is what we've chosen all along. That heaven and hell are not so much places to go, but states of being. One in alienation, one in perfect communion with the Creator. And that there are "thin places" here on earth where the presence of God can be encountered in its fullness and it leads to total transformation. These portals to the Kingdom are the spiritual disciplines and any follower of the Kingdom needs to embrace these as breath and life. All of Revelation is a love story of Jesus longing for us and returning to us.
And then it happened . . . they clapped. Never had that happen after a lecture. I believe that they were agreeing with what their souls long for > Truth. God's unadulterated Truth revealed has a way of stirring your soul. I count it a blessing to be a conduit for His Truth and Power.
Its been a hard week, but this was a good night.