Thursday, November 2, 2017

Book Review: When Christ Appears

When Christ Appears: An Inspirational Experience Through Revelation. David Jeremiah. 2018. [January] 196 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Many people think of the book of Revelation as an enigma, a mystery, a puzzle to solve--or a puzzle that can't be solved! But the word "revelation" is a translation of the Greek work apokalupsis, which means "to reveal, to disclose, to uncover." The purpose of Revelation is not to conceal, but to reveal. The message in the book of Revelation seeks to more fully reveal Jesus Christ to us--who He truly is, in all His glory. The book of Revelation is written both about Jesus and by Jesus. It tells us that He is coming again, how He is coming, and what condition the world will be in when He comes. It unveils the Lord Jesus Christ as the Sovereign King, ruler over all the earth.

David Jeremiah gently guides readers through the book of Revelation in his new devotional. He writes, "There are two primary purposes of the book of Revelation: to describe the triumphant return of the King and to detail the victorious rule over the kingdom."

Each entry in his devotional is short. He covers a few verses--a paragraph or two--at a time. Each entry ends in prayer. Each entry BEGINS with Scripture. These are all good things to have in a devotional.

I do wish that each entry did not include a reminder to READ THE STUDY NOTES FOR THESE VERSES IN THE JEREMIAH STUDY BIBLE. I felt it would have been more appropriate to encourage readers to read this devotional alongside his study Bible once in the introduction or foreword. But to include this as part of each and every devotional was a bit tacky, in my opinion.

One of my favorite entries was "How To Recover Your First Love" (Revelation 2:5-7). Here David Jeremiah offers some practical advice. Devotionals don't always do practical, which is why it's worth noting here.
1. Remember. Restoration begins with remembering (Rev. 2:4). We remember why we gave our hearts to Christ in the first place, and what our relationship with Him was like when we were first saved.
2. Repent. To repent means to change our minds and turn to go in the opposite direction. If we find that we have forsaken our first love, then we make the deliberate choice to change direction and turn back toward Him. We turn our hearts and our minds--and anything else that needs turning, anything else that need re-orienting--back to Him. It's a conscious decision, an act of the will.
3. Repeat. We do again the things we did at first. (Revelation 2:5). We practice again and again the faithful steps of discipleship that we once took eagerly and voluntarily as new believers. We make a point of reconnecting with Him, rebuilding the relationship the same way lovers and friends do. We engage in those activities that used to bring us close to Christ and bring us joy.
At times, David Jeremiah can be very thought-provoking. Here's one of my favorite insights:
In heaven, the Church will experience an intimacy in worship that the angels can't know. It's something only those who have been rescued and redeemed can understand. We were lost and now we are found. We've been forgiven and set free. 
I didn't always agree with him, however. He called Revelation 5 through 11 dismal. And it seems he views the book as a whole as dark. I have an entirely different reaction to the book. It is one of great joy. It is bursting forth with WORSHIP because one gets perhaps the best glimpse from the entire Bible of GOD'S SPLENDOR AND MAJESTY. The book never fails to awe me.

Loved this quote by C.S. Lewis:
"There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan." C.S. Lewis
Overall, I would recommend it as a devotional. But there are better books on Revelation out there.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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