John must have been puzzled. Exiled to the lonely island of Patmos, he has just begun to receive what will become known as the most elevated vision of things to come given to any person in the history of planet earth. The vision begins with a resurrected, immortal Jesus of Nazareth dictating seven letters for delivery to the pastors of seven churches that existed during the latter half of the first century. With eyes of flames like fire and feet like bronze that glows in a furnace, the God-man – who once was dead and now is alive forevermore – is ill.
Call the dictated letter eschatological symbolism if you will. Label it literary allegory. Or classify it as apocalyptic literature influenced by Jewish visions of the end of the world from the time between the Old and New Testaments. You can even think of the story as mere literary license.
It really doesn’t matter what name we use to describe the event, because the reality of the letter to the church of Laodicea is that Jesus is sick of lukewarm Christianity. He is about to vomit, writes the Apostle John in Revelation 3:14–17:
14“To the messenger of the church in Laodicea, write: ‘The Amen, the witness who is faithful and true, the originator of God’s creation,’ says this:
15‘I know your actions, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16Since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, “I am rich. I have become wealthy. I don’t need anything.” Yet you don’t realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.’” (ISV v2.0)
Bluntly speaking, Jesus of Nazareth is sick of useless Christian lifestyles. But he doesn’t leave the Laodicean pastor without a solution to the problem:
18“‘Therefore, I advise you to buy from me gold purified in fire so you may be rich, white clothes to wear so your shameful nakedness won’t show, and ointment to put on your eyes so you may see. 19I correct and discipline those whom I love, so be serious and repent! 20Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. 21To the one who conquers [overcomes] I will give a place to sit with me on my throne, just as I have conquered [overcome] and have sat down with my Father on his throne.
22“‘Let everyone listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (ISV)
As I write the words of this Foreword on a rainy, blustery wintery day in early 2009 here in southern California, the United States of America and the world in which it exists is entering the most terrifying time in history. The economies of virtually every nation on earth are collapsing. Unwise American politicians are creating dollars out of thin air, voting into existence more than a trillion dollars merely by agreeing to loan them to businesses that would otherwise have been reorganized through the discipline of the bankruptcy courts and free enterprise business realities.
Meanwhile, the whole Western world that only six months ago was saying, “I am rich. I have become wealthy. I don’t need anything,” is now about to find out from personal experience what it will mean to hear the third horseman of the Apocalypse cry out, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, or three quarts of barley for a denarius” (Revelation 6:6, ISV v2.0).
All of this trouble has been allowed by a God who loves us and who corrects and disciplines those whom He loves. And that’s why Chuck and Nancy Missler’s The Kingdom, Power and Glory message is going to be your road map through the times of trouble that are about to refine God’s children and judge all of God’s enemies. God’s people need to read this book, from cover to cover. And then read it again. And tell all of their friends, family, and acquaintances about what is contained herein, for the time is at hand.
The counsel contained in this remarkable volume will explain what the life of faith is intended by its Author to lead to, which is divinely ordered preparation for rulership in the coming Kingdom. For those who are in the midst of that certain and inevitable God-ordained discomfort called adversity, The Kingdom, Power and Glory is just what you’ll need to make sense out of a world turned upside down.
With respect to Christ’s call to embrace our God-ordained adversity as a means to be trained on how to rule for eternity, may all of the readers of The Kingdom, Power and Glory learn to be firmly entrenched “overcomers” who have no need of exhortation. May we not be the cowardly ones who bury their talents in the ground, wrongly convinced that the God whom we serve reaps where He doesn’t sow.
Meanwhile, the ancient words of a centuries-old poem haunt me. They’re carved in a gothic, medieval alphabet on a towering, ornate cathedral door right in the heart of a small town in Germany. From the looks of that door, the words carved therein date back to the days of Martin Luther. For all I know, Dr. Luther read them one day, and maybe the message contained in that poem started him on his spiritual journey that eventually led him to reform first his own life, and then the Church of 16th-century Germany. Translated into modern English, the words take the form of a frightening poem. No. Surely I misspoke. It’s a terrifying poem. Here is what the poem says:
You call me eternal, then do not seek me.
You call me fair, then do not love me.
You call me gracious, then do not trust me.
You call me just, then do not fear me.
You call me life, then do not choose me.
You call me light, then do not see me.
You call me Lord, then do not respect me.
You call me Master, then do not obey me.
You call me merciful, then do not thank me.
You call me mighty, then do not honor me.
You call me noble, then do not serve me.
You call me rich, then do not ask me.
You call me Savior, then do not praise me.
You call me shepherd, then do not follow me.
You call me Way, then do not walk with me.
You call me wise, then do not heed me.
You call me Son of God, then do not worship me.
When I [sentence] you, then do not blame me.
May all of the readers of Chuck and Nancy Missler’s The Kingdom, Power and Glory heed the warnings of this poem, embracing that necessary virtue we call spiritual bankruptcy, which is that certain, mandatory, and abject condition of total poverty of spirit and soul that marks the beginning of true Christian maturity and fitness for service in eternity.
May we all allow God to carry us on to maturity and fitness for ruling as kings and queens in the coming Kingdom as we rightly respond to the circumstances and adversities of this present life. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).