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The struggle is essentially between those who trust in power and violence to achieve their ends and those who trust in the power of love and good will supported by the power of God. The former were representatives of the Roman Empire at the time of the author but they have heirs in every generation, sometimes even within the churches.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 167

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Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another End Times post.

I’ve been posting lately about Flowers in the Desert by Demetrius Dumm. It’s an excellent book. If you’ve been reading my recent non-End Times posts then you’ve read about it. I enjoyed this book a great deal because it was so insightful about so many parts of the Christian life.

The end of the book discusses Revelation, and ponders the meaning of it. I don’t agree 100% with what the author says, since he implies the events of Revelation will not be literal. We can see now, in the 2020s, that the events in Revelation are actually happening for real. Revelation will come to pass in literal events.

Even so, what Demetrius Dumm says about the Book of Revelation is still important and valid. He talks about how we distort it for our own ends, which is sadly true. But he also talks about the true identities of the forces of good and evil we see in this final battle in Revelation. It is those with Faith in Jesus on one side and all other people on the other, yes. But who are the people who have true Faith in Jesus??

It’s an important distinction. So today, let’s hear what Demetrius Dumm has to say about it.

The Roman Way or the Christian Way

Demetrius Dumm starts out with what all can agree on. Revelation is about a climactic battle between good and evil. But some disagree on who these forces are. Demetrius Dumm warns against applying Revelation to literal people and places in contemporary times. This is misrepresenting the text, he says.

Probably everyone will agree that the Book of Revelation is about a furious and decisive struggle between the forces of good and evil. There is less agreement about the identity of those forces. Those who make specific and literal applications to contemporary events are almost certainly misrepresenting the text.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 167

This reminds me of how many Christians label so many people as the antiChrist. A lot of Christians said it was Barack Obama, when he was president of the United States. But Barack Obama came and went without ending the world. Then, a lot of Christians started calling Bill Gates the antiChrist. Alright … look, who is it?? Who’s the antiChrist?? You have to pick one, you can’t just keep calling each new person you don’t like the literal antiChrist. I wrote about this all the way back in End Times Part 24. Check out Part 24: Don’t Cry “Antichrist.

But anyway, it goes to show how Demetrius Dumm has a good point. Applying Revelation to contemporary events isn’t always a good idea. It doesn’t always work out.

So who are the forces of good and evil in Revelation?? Demetrius identifies them as those who follow the teachings of Christ—loving self-sacrifice and non-violence—versus those who follow the world. The way of the world is power, violence, and domination. Enforcing your will on everyone else through war. The true Disciples of Christ don’t believe in that. They strive for Jesus’ example of non-violence and sacrifice. They seek a life spent for others rather than for themselves.

When Revelation was written, the ones who believed in the worldly ways of power and violence were the Romans. Their empire did get its power by violence (but violence couldn’t save it from collapsing). The Romans have “heirs” in every generation, and these “heirs” are those who believe in violence as a means to an end. They embrace the ways of this fallen world, and ignore the teachings of Jesus. They hate the idea of turning the other cheek, because they don’t trust God enough to put their life in His hands and live by non-violence. They don’t have Faith, in other words.

That makes it extra sad that, as Demetrius Dumm points out, sometimes the “heirs” of the Romans are in the church.

The struggle is essentially between those who trust in power and violence to achieve their ends and those who trust in the power of love and good will supported by the power of God. The former were representatives of the Roman Empire at the time of the author but they have heirs in every generation, sometimes even within the churches.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 167

Too many Christians have let their love grow cold now. Too many Christians believe in violence. Not enough Christians today believe in Jesus’ non-violent, self-sacrificial love for others. If Jesus wanted us to learn violence from His example, He would have used violence. But He showed us the opposite.

This is most obvious when the crowd came to arrest Jesus. He told the Disciples He could call angels for His own defense if He wanted to. He could have killed the entire crowd, or blown up the whole country if He wanted to. He didn’t want to. And the reason He didn’t want to was because it wasn’t God’s Will. Jesus desired the Father’s Will above everything else, and violence and murder are not God’s Will.

(52) Then Jesus said to him, “Put the sword back into its place. All those who use the sword will die by the sword. (53) Or do you think that I’m not able to ask my Father and he will send to me more than twelve battle groups of angels right away? (54) But if I did that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this must happen?”

Matthew 26:52-54 (CEB)

Make Your Choice

Of course it’s painful to live by nonviolence. In Jesus’ case, it led to His humiliating and painful death. But Jesus was looking beyond the short-term, and taking a long-term view. Actually an eternal view, because Jesus had His eyes set on Eternal Life after death. Since He had Faith in that, He knew that what happened to Him in this life didn’t matter in the long-run. God would have the final say, and that would be Eternal Life.

So Jesus submitted to unjust human “justice” and a painful death in the short-term, out of love for all humanity. It was a choice He made, and in the short-term here on earth it got Him killed. Well, every choice has consequences. But true Christians are called to make the kinds of choices Jesus made, with the same motivation of love for God and others. Everyone in this world has to make choices, actually. As for Christians the model for our choices is found in Jesus, the nonviolent Prince of Peace.

Christian faith requires that one make choices and live by them.

It is tempting, of course, to indulge one’s own favorite prejudices in deciding who are good and approved by God. In fact, those approved by Revelation are the ones who make the basic choices required of Christians by Jesus himself. They are to be the followers of the Lamb, who is the very symbol of the one who loved all and gave up his life for their salvation.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 167

Well, I don’t need to explain how trying to make these kinds of Christ-like is painful and difficult. It can cost us everything here on earth—money, friends, family, our peace, even our life. But it’s better to accept the pain of doing things the way Jesus showed us rather than claim to follow Jesus but actually live selfishly. Jesus lived and even lay down His life for others, and we can’t truly follow Him if we live for ourselves and pursue our own interests over God’s Will. We can say we follow Jesus, but that’s the thing: Anyone can say anything. We don’t actually follow Jesus if we live for ourselves and are unwilling to sacrifice our life for God.

This, says Demetrius Dumm, is why Revelation condemns every form of deceit and calls for full honesty:

To love in this way is so difficult that one is constantly tempted to substitute appearances for reality, to claim to be a follower of Jesus but to continue to live in a self-centered way. It is for this reason, no doubt, that Revelation condemns every form of deceit and calls for absolute sincerity and honesty. The final judgment will expose all the many forms of hypocrisy and reward genuine virtue. Those who have struggled to rid themselves of illusion and to embrace the painful but liberating truth will be vindicated by him who is all truth.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Pages 167-168

But take heart, everyone. The final judgment will expose all forms of hypocrisy. Those who shattered their self-illusions and followed Jesus’ painful path will be vindicated. Like Jesus looked beyond the short-term in His life, we must do the same. We have to keep our eyes on Eternity, because in the end that’s all that matters.

But on top of that, we have to be real about living this life. We have to be real about making these choices. We have to truly believe and follow the nonviolent teachings and example of Jesus, even to the point of painful death. If we won’t do this then we’re not being genuine. And if we’re not genuinely on Christ’s side, we’re on the wrong side of what we see in Revelation ….

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99:9

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2 comments on “Do Not Fear the End Times Part 131: Be Christian or Be Roman

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