Salvador Dali liked to use blow torches on clocks. Not to burn them, but to gently melt them. Once melted, he would place the clocks on trees, tables, and monsters. Sometimes he would place ants on the clocks. Then once he was happy, he would paint the scene, creating artworks like The Persistence of Memory.
Of course, none of the above paragraph is true, apart from that last bit. Truly I say to you, Dali did create artworks like The Persistence of Memory. Salvador Dali was an artist who had his own way of interpreting clocks, usually melting. Did the clocks actually melt? Or was he interpreting time by the medium of a clock? Clocks certainly exist and are real, a truthful part of existence on planet Earth. People often experience time as melting away, so a melting clock might be a true representation of peoples’ experiences. But does that mean that Dali’s interpretation of a melting clock is real? In what way is it true? We could argue about this if any of us cared passionately enough about Salvador Dali and his work, or indeed about clocks and time.
But I use this as an illustration to show that truth is variable, uncomfortably so. Truth is personal, based on our own experiences.
Having said that – truth also exists. Truth is real – unshakable, unmovable, constant and ever-present.
Truth is both undefinable and definite. Tangible yet difficult to put your finger on at times. Just as God – who is Truth – is both bigger than we can ever know, yet knowable as Jesus, the God-man, who embodies Truth on earth.
Reflections on Christ the King found in Revelation 1:4-8
Like Dali’s paintings, the book of Revelation is a very controversial book with many different ways of looking at it. Some read it and see end-time prophecy. Some read it and see a glimpse of a future with God where all will be reconciled, and that this book is one way of interpreting it, like an artist painting a vase might interpret the flowers. Some view Revelation as a code that we haven’t been able to crack, written to a church that lived during times of great persecution (much like the church in Syria and Iraq has been facing for the past two years.) Whatever your particular understanding of Revelation, there are certain truths about God and Jesus revealed within.
- God is. God was. God is to come. God is the beginning and the end of time. All time belongs to God and God is sovereign over all of time. Difficult to think when we see what is happening in the world during our lifetime, but truth is, no matter what ‘the times’ look like, God is the only one to exist before time and decide when time will finish.
- Jesus witnesses truthfully to God’s faithfulness, despite what our senses may tell us as we discern the times. God raised Jesus from the dead, so Jesus could reign forever, from within time to outside of time, throughout all time.
- Jesus’s leadership will lead us all back to God. Revelation 1:7 says that “all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him” (NRSV). This part of scripture refers to Zechariah 12:10. The prophet Zechariah wrote about how things will get bad, but Jerusalem will be protected and will be given “a spirit of grace and supplication.” When they see “Me whom they have pierced” then they will mourn (Zech 12:10 NRSV). Ever heard the phrase “one day this will happen to you, then you’ll be sorry?” It’s a bit like that, only God doesn’t want then to be sorry as “in a sorry state” and hurt, but rather God wants us to say sorry for doing things in an ungodly way and simply turning back to God and doing things God’s ways. It’s a kind of mourning that leads to changed action and reuniting loved ones. God wants us reunited with Him and each other.
- The time to act is now. Revelation is a clear warning that one day God will call “last orders” and he won’t ring a bell to warn us. Now is the time to accept Jesus’s offer of love and forgiveness. Now is the time to choose to live your life for God and do things God’s way.
People will tell you not to worry, that there is plenty of time for all that “God stuff” later. However, the truth is time melts. Time is soggy, sloppy and unpredictable. God, however, is the one constant. The Truth is – the time for God is now.