I looked out at the congregation. That is, if you could call what I was seeing was a congregation. I was looking out at a lot of snapping snouts! I was looking out at what seemed more to be an exhibit in a zoo. There were a whole gaggle of crocodiles in front of me. Technically, the term is a “bask” of crocodiles. I am definitely not basking in the prospect of preaching to a group of crocodiles. I feel more like I am going to be gaggled by the group of them. Mostly, what I see is gaping snouts and a host of gigantic fangs and tusks. I can hear dripping saliva and the loud slippery sound of greasy leather against hard-wood floors.
Why do I feel like I’m going to be eaten? I have preached in all kinds of situations. I knew I could handle this. I don’t recollect that Billy Graham had ever preached to a group like this. But then, again, he had never preached in the Tribulation times. If this group did eat me, I’d have to forgive them. They had no choice. And God had promised to protect me.
I looked out to see if I could find Nels. I could see him in the back of the room. He was the one who had asked me to preach this week. He told me he hadn’t felt very well. I could understand that. He sure didn’t look like himself. In fact, he didn’t look very human! His skin had erupted in hives or maybe it was scales. I knew he had purchased a gun and he had brandished it though he was hiding it in the folds of his robe.
I knew this was the end of the end times but I couldn’t imagine how scary this was becoming. Oh well, I was called to preach the gospel and that was what I was going to do.
I think I was being introduced by the person, I mean, the thing, that was at the front of the sanctuary. I think it was one of the elders. All I heard was a few crackling sounds which sounded like Verrrbb McCracckkken. There were a few hundred snaps in response. I think it was time for me to speak.
“Well, ‘hi,’ to everyone! It’s good to see all of you this wonderful morning!” I lied. I was about to wet myself.
“You may have noticed some very unusual occurrences in the recent days. There have been earthquakes, tsunamis, and many wars. There have been many strange events over in Israel. Though you may be comforted that even many of our favored leaders have been close friends with the leaders in that land.”
“We don’t like the Jews!” many snapped. Oops. I had forgotten that Nels and some of his friends didn’t favor Israel. How could I be so stupid as to mention God’s chosen people.
I tried to collect myself. “Many that you thought were Christians have disappeared. You have probably wondered where they went. You didn’t think that could happen. But it did. So where does that leave you?”
“We live in special times. I feel like God has a special word for all of you. You had felt that the schools in Pergamum were elite centers of learning. But, in fact, they were synagogues of Satan.”
I had gotten hit by spitballs before but now I could actually feel real sputum dropping off my face. The crocs were spitting at me. Ew. I should have expected as much from them. After all, they were animals.
“Much of what was taught in those schools was good but as you know, Satan uses what is good. Then he subtly twists portions of what is good and sours the whole thing.* That is what the devil did in these schools.
The sovereignty of God is a good thing. Twist it slightly and God’s love becomes completely corrupted. Trusting God is a good thing. God’s complete control of the universe is a good thing. Turn it into God controlling all salvation including our ability to choose and sovereignty morphs into something satanic.”
I could see their gigantic tongues wagging. Saliva sailed out of their mouths. It speckled my face and dripped onto my lips. Ew, again. They seemed very uncomfortable and started swiveling back and forth, their tails wagging to disperse their extra anger and energy.
“This was the trick of ancient Balaam. He brought pagan women into the Israeli camp to corrupt the pure godly atmosphere.** Just a bit of corruption that spoils the entire environment. Just a bit of what seemed to be a good thing but it had to be dealt with. Phineas had to thrust a spear through both a man of Peor and his girlfriend to squelch the uprising.*** That put an end that though 24,000 people died as a result of that curse.”
“Are you saying our doctrine is corrupt? Who do you think you are?” they whined. “We have been the center of Christianity for ages!”
“Then why have you been left behind? Maybe you’ve missed something in your doctrine. Maybe it’s ‘choice’!”
“You are the corrupter of God’s supreme doctrine: Sovereignty! You sniveling drip.”
“I may be wrong. But it appears that you are the ones who are sniveling!”
They started swiveling their way toward the pulpit. I backed away from the lectern. They were an imposing force. Suddenly, a light -bulb seemed to be turned on in their little reptilian brains. And some of them started being transformed. They seemed to be new creatures!
Their scales started to drop off. Their skin dried up and their epidermis became supple and soft. Their appearance was like a bright shining smooth, white stone.
They backed off the front of the sanctuary. Their appendages turned back into arms and legs. Their snouts shrunk back into human faces. Their visage was angelic. They started reciting the gospel of grace to each other. The began confessing their sin of pride and how God had allowed them in grace to confess Jesus as their Lord.
Though there was a racket, everyone could be heard individually. After several minutes, they broke into a chorus of “Just As I Am.”
“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”
And just like that, many crocs were turned into communicants. Multiple saurians changed into worshippers.
Nels put away his gun. He now had something to live for.
And Purgamum was purged.
(To be continued . . . .)
- Check out on how a bit of evil can effect a lot of purity from the Living Bible in Ecclesiastes 9:18, “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one rotten apple can spoil a barrelful.”
** Num. 22-25; 31:15-16 tells the story of Phineas and the evil influence of pagan women
*** For the story of Phineas, you can read Num. 25:6-12, “Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. 9 Those who died by the plague were 24,000. 10 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 11 ‘Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.