Theology

Snow Leopard Revelation


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I remember Mike Bickle once saying that one way of recognising that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us as we read the Bible (The Spirit of wisdom and revelation – Eph.1:17) is that you can be reading a passage you have read a hundred times before and then suddenly you notice something for the first time about it that leaves you touched/moved/challenged/corrected/rebuked/motivated or inspired.

I remember Paul Scanlon also once advising that when reading the Bible we shouldn’t be looking for rare ‘snow leopards’ of revelation but that we should read with more of an awareness of the broader strokes of revelation in Scripture and apply these to our daily living.

To me it makes sense that the more applied the more general truths of Scripture are in our lives, the more likely that we are to see the snow leopards of Scripture and be forever changed by them. And snow leopards are there so why not look for them?

I was reading a passage yesterday with my wife and was struck by just the faintest glimpse of a snow leopard as we read together. It was like seeing something strange and rare in nature that exhilarated my spirit but it was a sentence on a page – some ink on tissue paper. But it was a living sentence. If you actually did see a snow leopard in the wild, wouldn’t it make you stop, look harder and wait a while?

I encourage you not to rush on when you catch these glimpses of God’s heart to yours. They are significant. I find it helpful to spend time thinking and praying about why something caught my attention and wait to see what He says…Image

9 Comments

  • I’m want you to tell me about the snow leopard you saw now! I do agree with you but I also think Scanlon’s point is very helpful. Sometimes people can be just looking for the exotic and missing the obvious. I often hear sermons or read books that hang everything on one cryptic verse (or half a verse). I’m frequently in danger of focussing on a leaf or twig and missing the forest and the wider shape of the landscape. Seeing the broad brush strokes of redemption and grace and sovereignty and holiness and applying and enjoying and preaching that must be a safer way to go. Your post a few back on reading big chunks of the Bible is really helpful on that. But then I’m thinking surely it’s both/and. As you say – as we get the broader strokes then we’ll start seeing the snow leopards. In fact the broad strokes TELL US to look for the snow leopard. Right from Gen. 3:15 we’re being told to look for glimpses of the serpent crusher, the second Adam, the God-man-come-down-to-save.

    • Wouldn’t another way of looking at this also be to have the personal experience of personal application of these broader truths – God loves us – God loves me – God loves me now as I write….Rhema cf. Logos

      The thing with snow leopards is that they’re mysterious and difficult to see.

      “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Psalm 119:18

      • I like the personal experience thing. I think Bible reading should always be experiential. As experiential as reading a love letter. I’ve always been a bit unsure on the Rhema/Logos distinction. I get that there is a distinction between the veiled word and the unveiled word (2 Cor. 3:14-18). We need our eyes opened like you say (Ps. 119:18; Eph. 1;17; 2 Cor. 3:14-16). But at, the risk of being picky (in brotherly love) it is the Logos, Christ, to whom our eyes are opened (John 1; 1 John 1); it is the Logos that is living and active (Heb. 4:12), the Logos that brings fruit (Matt. 13:23), the living and abiding Logos by which we are born again (1 Pet. 1:23). Maybe you could share an example of a snow leopard so we know a bit more what you have in mind?

      • Absolutely with you on the Logos mate. Snow Leopards to me are simply passages of scripture that the Lord speaks from at a specific time and for a specific purpose. It’s not about seeing something for the first time in history or having a revelation that no-one else has experienced; snow leopards are when Jesus whispers something to me that I personally have never seen before. One example, I can remember when I was much younger seeing things in the Bible that I became excited and passionate about because once I’d seen them (Jesus showed me) I then started seeing the truth everywhere. I think specifically of verses that talk about everything being unto His glory…for example Ephesians 1:6. It was after these younger revelations that I read books like Desiring God by Piper who interpreted and clarified all the snow leopards I’d been seeing myself. That was encouraging!

      • Got you. I know exactly what you mean. A snow leopard for me in the last year or so has been 1 Cor. 15:47 – there are only two men in the whole of history – and then you start seeing glimpses of Adam all over the Bible. Another big thing for me was when someone said to me, 8 or 9 years ago, that God says “I love you” on every page of the Bible – so now I look for that – and I see it – sometimes a subtle whisper, sometimes a great shout.

      • On a slightly different note, perhaps there are snow leopards to be seen in Scripture regarding the end of the age as it gets nearer. For example, yesterday R T Kendall tweeted: “I happen to think that most of Revelation is not revealed to us because much of it has been too far in the future.” @rtkenmin

  • Hello Nick! Long time listener, first time caller here…(always wanted to say that)- loving this whole thing by the way; any provocation to sink deeper into Him and His word is welcome in world of endless distractions!

    I read this post and immediately agreed with both takes on scripture, and then immediately wanted to retract my agreement and wanted instead to take sides- to choose one or the other… But I was reminded in Hebrews that the Word is alive and sharp like a two edged sword… It’s dynamic, it’s living, it’s God breathed(Tim), it’s something too lithe to pass blanket rules over- not one way or no way- as Andy said- both takes have merit, without one you loose the power of the other. I think my life would be missing great richness without definite moments of ‘the snow leopard’, but the same to be said for not becoming a crazed Christian megalomaniac without the power of undertsanding the greater pictures painted into scripture… A very Divine balance. The Message puts it so well when talking about not forcing fixed measures on it all- (this is Jesus talking about burdensome laws and pharisaical ritual) //Matthew 11:28-30… Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you… // It works for this too- if scripture is alive, and if its a part of God, then the Word of God demands a dynamic approach… So yeah- we need both! Ha.

    GB

    • Mate! So good to hear from you – bloging really does = the more the merrier. I love hearing others’ views, thoughts, questions.

      Enjoyed reading your comment – particularly what you say about flitting between the snow leopard emphasis and the other. I appreciated your point about the richness of your life having come from snow leopard moments. I can think of ‘sofa moments’ when I will have been reading something and Jesus seemingly touched my heart and I was marked by something. I can’t imagine what it would be like now without the richness, as you say, that they have given!

      Divine balance – I like that too. It’s a voice of reason. Like John Bagg said in a previous post about wildness in the garden, it’s about recognising the way the pendulum has been swinging in the past and how it’s swinging now, often in response.

      What about John the Baptist – how would Divine Balance look in his life dya reckon? This isn’t my opinion, just a thought, but maybe Jesus is looking for more unbalanced disciples…in the sense of, how balanced is it in reality to leave everything, EVERYTHING, and follow a Jewish Rabbi? How balanced is it to not take more than your cloak and staff for the journey and trust in an invisible Man’s provision?

      I’m being very blessed by The Message at the minute bro – really helpful and enjoyable!

      Where’s your blog at?

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