THE APOCALYPTIC VISION:
" Luke 17 and the coming of the Son of Man"
Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Vision and prophecy go hand in hand. The apocalyptic language of Revelation is no different than the language used in Genesis because its all about the Alpha and Omega, Jesus Christ. One of the things that is often overlooked when we deal with the issues of Eschatology is that the Bible is a covenant book that is pure prophecy. From the very beginning of Genesis to Revelation, the Scripture prophecies are about a redemptive vision woven within a covenant context. God's interaction with His chosen. Have we also forgotten that Moses, the man who penned and gave us the historical account of Genesis was also a prophet? The truth is other than Christ there was no greater prophet in all of Israel. A prophet who spoke to God face to face.
Deu 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
As an artist, I know that without inspiration, art will lack true vision. Every artist has a certain ability to create in some unique way. A lack of vision is what limits us in our creativity. This same lack of vision concerning the things of God will also have the same effect in our pursuit of Biblical truths.
Pro 29:18 Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.
Theologians can paint a very beautiful picture with their words. Yet, it doesn’t take a theologian to paint a beautiful picture. Luke 17 is about events that had the same thing all in common. The temple, the ark and the city of Sodom were local, historical events involving covenant judgments spoken of in apocalyptic language by Christ Himself. Concerning typology, Jerusalem is even compared spiritually to Sodom in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Which clearly ties physical Jerusalem with spiritual Sodom which historically ties these two local covenantal judgement through fire and utter destruction.
Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Here was the artistic challenge concerning Luke 17. Bring the three covenantal judgements of fire, water and the coming of the Son of Man together in the same painting using Christ’s own words. This has never been attempted before because the inspiration of Luke 17 was often overlooked in its localized (historical) implications.
Last summer I attended a Preterist conference in Springfield Ohio. On the book table there was a little brown book entitled, "Beyond Creation Science." It was the only book I purchased and after I read it, I believed it contained a vision of covenant and relationship that I have never seen before. Several months later I began a friendship with its author, Tim Martin. Tim is currently co-authoring a sequel to that book with Jeff Vaughn which will be published in the next few months. The painting you see above is the artwork for the book cover. It was conceived after our very first conversation on the phone. My vision was to place the ark right outside the temple walls in Jerusalem. Bringing the judgments of fire and water together. Flooding the outer courts and placing these two historical events together with Sodom in the background. The painting isn’t from Tim’s or Jeff’s or even my own vain imaginations but from the very picture words Jesus painted Himself in Luke 17.
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
Luke 17:28-30 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven,destroyed [them] all.
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Vision also includes a special courage and usually isn’t recognized as such until a "personal" cost is involved. Just the fact alone that Preterists see the hermeneutics of the scripture language as past fulfillment has set them apart from the majority of Christiandom. Yet I believe it is the inspired vision found within Scripture interpretation alone that sets Preterism apart. Only God Almighty can change a heart or open blind spiritual eyes. Only God can impart vision. What you see in your mind’s eye, revelation, wisdom, and truth will be accompanied by a vision when applied in the light of inspired scripture alone. This is what their book and this painting represents, An apocalyptic vision of Jesus Christ at the center of all creation from Genesis to Revelation.
"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision." Helen Keller
Most of us could never understand what it would be like to walk in Helen Keller’s shoes. This blind woman had more vision than most of us who have sight. The Bible itself is full of writers, poets and artists of all different sorts. King David is a great example of inspiration and vision because as a man after Gods own heart, he pursued a constant relationship with his creator. What is more interesting is that David was a warrior. Our God is a warrior. To have vision is to be a warrior. Warriors pursue truth no matter the cost. They don’t stray outside the biblical texts for revelation nor seek the knowledge of men to find their vision or truth. Truth and vision are an endless pursuit but the rewards can be great. Listen to God’s words of promise found in Isaiah.
Isa 45:3-7 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call [thee] by thy name, [am] the God of Israel.
The series of paintings I have been hired to do for Mr. Martin and Mr. Vaughn are very personal to me. They are personal because I have read their manuscript for the new book and they get their vision through the interpreted language of God’s inspired Word! Again, vision will let you grasp Luke 17 if seen through the inspiration of the anointed Scriptures. In this context I believe it is a good and noble pursuit to follow your vision. This doesn’t dishonor God. Painting the images on a canvas that Jesus speaks about in Luke 17 concerning the prophecy of the signs of His return certainly doesn’t dishonor God. I believe a lack of spiritual vision and inconsistencies found in personal assumptions apart from Scripture are the things that dishonor God. What man can defend Gods honor anyway? God alone will defend His honor and glory. As a matter of fact, it is a complete lack of vision that makes one think he can defend God’s "glory" found within the context of His exalted name.
Isa 48:11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
1 Sam 2:8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.
There are many friends of mine in Covenant Eschatology that I have a great amount of admiration and respect toward. I trust my illustration of Jesus’ words in Luke 17 doesn’t offend any of my brothers. I must paint what inspires me most. Preterists are visionaries of a different sort. We are looking at the Scripture with new eyes of fulfilled inspiration. I believe all of us have that same right to express our own vision only if it can be measured by the truth of Gods word. That alone is our standard.
So before anyone goes and gets their spiritual "undergarments" in a bunch thinking I’m accusing someone of lacking vision just because we see things different concerning the covenant judgments of scripture, I assure you I'm not. I am only saying that vision is individual and it is more than just seeing with your natural eyes.