Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dr. Mark Rutland Speaks at Chapel

By Amanda Morad | May 31, 2013

Dr. Mark Rutland

Campus may be quiet this time of year with students on summer break, but Regent University is keeping spiritual community a priority at bi-weekly chapel services. At a special combined CBN/Regent chapel service on Wednesday, May 29, Dr. Mark Rutland spoke from Isaiah chapter 6 on the prophet's vision of God.

Rutland, a former missionary, pastor and university president who recently retired from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., enthralled and entertained attendees as he applied the vision to modern life.

"Isaiah was afforded one of the most incredible visions ever given to man," Rutland said. But often overlooked in the chapter's introduction is the phrase, "in the year King Uzziah died," which refers to the curse of leprosy the late king had succumbed to.

"God could have appeared in any form, but He appeared on the throne to show Isaiah that though the earthly throne sat empty, the King was still alive and reigning," Rutland noted. The vision of God "high and lifted up" was a symbol of restoration during a tumultuous time then and now, he said. "The vision restores our sense of the majesty of Godyes, we are the friend of God, but we must also remember that He is as terrible in battle as a mighty army."

On the other hand, the vision also quells fear about the future. "I believe evangelical Christians are addicted to fear," Rutland said. "So many people are just waiting for the next terrifying event."

But the vision responds to fear of the future by restoring a sense of history: "The most impressive movement of the Spirit and growth of the Church happened under a one-world government [in Rome]," Rutland explained. "We've already been there; we have no reason to fear."

He offered further comfort on this note. "History is not happening to God," he said. "History is unfolding in the palm of His hand. The decrees of Christ carry humanity forward."

Though Christians debate the meaning and implications of the Book of Revelation in the Bible, Rutland drew one overarching theme: "Revelation's message is the revelation of Christ," he said. "At the end of everything, what remains is a Lamb on a hill."

Until then, he continued, Isaiah's vision restores depth perception in life. Rutland guided the audience in an exercise to illustrate, having them place an extended thumb in front of them and draw it closer to their eye. The perception of size changes with distance.

"Satan wants to take your triumphs and your trials and press them against your face so that they block out the light," Rutland explained. "He wants you to hold your glories and your grief so close that losing them would mean losing everything."

The vision of God exalted on the throne places experience and reality under God, he said. Rutland used the King James Version of the passage because the first line reads "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord..."

The "also" is important, he explained, because it highlights Isaiah's true perspective. "Isaiah is not in denial, because denial is not faith," Rutland said in closing. "He saw the reality of the world around him, but he also saw the Lord."

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