In the Bible it Says… or Does it?

Ben Schoettel   -  


Have you ever heard of The Mandela Effect? Once I heard of this theory, I became fascinated by all the different evidence of its existence throughout culture. The former South African President Nelson Mandela, who this theory is named after, died in 2013. However, countless people distinctly remember him dying in prison in the 1980s. This is just one example of what can be summarized by a collective false memory of a past historical event, figure, document, or image. A more light-hearted example would be Jiffy peanut butter… oh wait… Jiffy peanut butter never existed… or did it? Unfortunately, this also has happened when it comes to our memories of certain phrases that are in the Bible… well… at least ones we thought were in the Bible.

Love the sinner, hate the sin? Not found in scripture… Be in the world but not of it? Not found in scripture… God works in mysterious ways? Not found in scripture… God will not give you more than you can handle? Not found in scripture… God helps those who help themselves? Not found in scripture… Sure, some of those may contain a fragment of truth, but not nearly enough to justify us presenting these statements as Gospel.

There are also statements made in the Bible that need to be seen through different literal and contextual lens to be able to find the truth within the text. For example, in Psalm 19 we read the words of David describe the sun coming out of his chamber to move across the heavens from end to end. Of course, there is important truth in Psalm 19, but it certainly isn’t that the sun revolves around the Earth. So, what do we learn? Context matters.

When it comes to our current sermon series, it is important to understand that there are many false memories and misunderstandings that have been gathered regarding the Book of Revelation. Two quick examples would be “The Antichrist” and “The Rapture”. Neither of these words are found in the Book of Revelation. The word “Antichrist” is found in 1 John but is not translated as a specific character that is going to rule the “end times”.

The book of Revelation, and this series, is not meant to confuse or spark controversy. We just need to remember that we serve a Savior that is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) which means we need to make sure our words and actions are filled and fueled by truth. Not half-truths. Not false memories of truth. Just Truth.

The hope is that we can discover together what this portion of scripture actually reveals about us as followers of Jesus and what He desires for His church as He is continuing the mission of redemption.

As Michael Gorman writes, “Revelation is not about the antichrist, but about the living Christ. It is not about a rapture out of this world but about faithful discipleship in this world. That is, like every other New Testament book, Revelation is about Jesus Christ- “A revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1)”

I encourage everyone to lean in during this series with fresh eyes. Let’s take this time to see what the Lord wants us to know about Himself and His desires for us. Let’s come together as one church that worships one Savior, and see what He wants to reveal to us so we can continue to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World, here and now.