Wednesday, November 04, 2009

That's nice, but I'm a realist.

Perhaps you've heard somebody say this: "that's nice, but I'm a realist." What they're really saying is that death is winning; in the end the world is still governed by the powers of darkness. Their mindset is pessimistic. A pessimist views reality in a negative light. An optimist views reality in a positive light. Therefore, when somebody says, "I'm a realist" they're really saying that their world-view is dominated by the negative.

Christians who are pessimists, cannot take the resurrection very seriously; the resurrection is all about hope [after all, death has been defeated]. Constantly in the New Testament we see references to a new humanity, a new creation, a world now governed by the hopefulness of the resurrection. We see this in John 20. The author says, "One the first day of the week..." This is not just a comment about which day of the week it is, this is a conversation about creation. The author is hinting back to the first week of creation, a creation that was governed by sin and death, but this is now the first day of the new week [and a new creation]. The world is not the same, the resurrection has changed everything.

I love Daniel chapter 7. This chapter is written to post destruction of Jerusalem Jewish people. Their best years as a nation are now behind them. They have been defeated, their independence stripped from them, and now they are lorded over by people who are not concerned with Yahweh. The world is now being ruled by the great empires of the ancient world -Bayblon, Persia, Alexander the Great & his legions, and Rome- and Israel is merely a pawn in their real life game of Risk. This is the people who are God's chosen. They have been called the Sons of God, trusted with the very words of YHWH given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and a part of God's healing and restoration of the world. Yet now they're just a very small province in the corner of a very large Empire. Is Yahweh still in control? Daniel chapter 7 is written with this question in mind.

Daniel sees a vision of these massive beasts roaming around this plain; each bigger, each stronger. These beasts roamed this plain destroying everything in sight. Daniel feels nothing and nobody can stop these massive beasts! In the heavens, the Ancient of Days sits watching all this unfold from his throne in heaven. Yet suddenly one who appears to be a son of man appears in the clouds, and he is given authority over the beasts. Not only is he able to rule over these beasts, but we don't even get a record of a battle; he just wins! To a people subjugated, this is would be a story of hope! The rulers of the world only appear to have power and authority, there is one sitting in heaven who really is ruling the world. This is a message of hope; this is a story that would force somebody to be an optimist.

Now there are tons of pessimistic people out there who look at the world in a negative light; the world is falling apart; good is on the way out; the cup is half empty. But to them I like to say, "That's nice, but I'm a realist!"

Long live the Lamb that was slain!

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