I love a good mystery. While I never read Nancy Drew mysteries (those were for girls) I did read a few Hardy Boys stories and listened to the Sugar Creek Gang some mornings. Later, it was the Sherlock Holmes stories when I could get hold of one, and today I still love a good book or movie with a bit of a puzzle or mystery to solve. That kind of curiosity led me to study out the Bible with questions like, "Where are all the 2,000 year old men?" answered last week.
What is even more curious though, is that the question answered last week was not where I initially started, but rather ended. For there was another verse in the Bible that sparked my curiosity, and led me to study out an entire chapter, which then led me to the verses talked about last week. When talking about those verses, I wondered, was it possible any one of them actually walked the earth today?
Practically, my study led me to believe that whoever was there was also simply taken to heaven as Elijah and Enoch were both taken to heaven, but I also wanted to know if it was even possible that "some of those standing here" were still around today. That question led me to a study of a special assignment, given to Paul, and his story of survival against man, nature, and beast. There, woven in the lines of the book of Acts, was this amazing account of how God preserved his life despite some of the most dire circumstances. In short, Paul was told he must go to Rome to testify before Caesar, and God would see to it that nothing would stop him from completing that mission.
Did you know, though, that there was someone else given a similar mission? That the person given such a mission was one of those standing there whom Christ said would not taste of death? Did you know that there was one person in the New Testament where it was actually rumored that this person would not die? It's true. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The verse that caught my attention actually starts in Revelation.
Revelation 10:4 "And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." You see, anyone who has studied the book of Revelation knows about the seven seal judgements, the seven trumpet judgements, and the seven vial (or bowl) judgements; however, here in this verse is where I first found the seven thunders, and what stuck me is that we are told about their existence, but not allowed to know what the seven thunders actually are.
No big deal, except there is one person who DOES know. John.
You see, John was allowed to know something that no other human on earth would be allowed to know for a very long time. As I studied out the whole chapter, I learned many interesting things, but the most interesting to me was four words in the very last verse: Revelation 10:11 " . . . thou must prophesy again . . . "
Chapter 10 in Revelation is also curious in that it is the only chapter in Revelation where the writer moves from observe/report to actually taking part in the action. He is told to eat of a little book, given a great secret known as the seven thunders, and finally given a special mission. Why? That is when the verses talking about "some standing here which shall not taste of death" began to ring in my mind. Then came these words . . .
John 21:20 "Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?"
Note: the rumor is that this disciple (John) will not die, but John corrects the rumor to the actual words spoken. What is great about this verse is that Christ sets the very groundwork for fulfillment of the other verses when He said "there be some standing here which shall not taste of death." He literally mentions John tarrying until He comes - the same language used in Matthew 16:28 - as though it is no big deal.
To you and me, that someone could actually be walking the earth for 2,000 years might be a big deal, but to Christ who was there when the universe was breathed into existence, it is but a small matter. Question is, who cares? If John actually is walking the earth today because of some special mission to which only he has been allowed to see in Revelation 10, what do I care? Well, for one, what do you think John would be doing today? Would he be doing what you are doing? Would his priorities in life align with yours? Would he seek to live the life you do, go to the church you do, and pursue the things in life you do?
No. I think John, if he was walking the earth today, would have priorities quite different from my own. I quite believe the rest of Revelation 10:11 may be what he would be trying to accomplish today when it says " . . . thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." As for you, forget about John's mission, how about your neighbor, the person who cuts your hair, the people you work with or see every day in some capacity. Do they even know you are a Christian?
While John may be on some special assignment given exclusively to him, we still have one of our own no matter where we are in this world, no matter who we are in this world: Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."