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May 2017

As the book of Revelation unfolds, it is filled with imagery and promises of many things yet to come.  There are the frightening passages as bowls are poured out, as trumpets are sounded, and as seals are broken.  While there are many things that frighten us, we understand that as time moves toward her end, these things must be.  Exactly what these things will look like, how they will touch us I do not know.  But, what I do know is that this book is teaching us that no matter what happens or how they happen, the good guys win! 

It is this victory that God brings to us through His Son that the closing chapters of this book emphasizes.  There are powerful and wonderful descriptions of what heaven will physically be like.  Although the things described are things that exist beyond our natural world, there is no doubt that heaven is a wonderful place.  Also, there are even more beautiful descriptions of how we will relate to God.  He will be our God and we will be His people!  He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more sorrow or pain.  There will be no separation between us and God, us and Jesus, us and the Spirit, and us and each other.  It is these relationships, lived in perfect harmony, that are the true distinctive of heaven. Yes, streets of gold, gates of pearl, a crystal river, the tree of life, and so much more are incredible, but the purity and completeness of our relationships that will be the true joy of heaven.  Also, I think that we need to understand that once these things are established they really won’t seem all that exceptional to us.  No, I think we will wonder how unexceptional the things of our previous life were.

Then as Revelation closes, there is an invitation and an appeal.

The invitation comes from the Spirit and the bride (the church).  Revelation 22:17 says: “Both the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And anyone who hears should say, ‘Come!’  And the one who is thirsty should come.  Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.”  This is a summary of the Christian invitation.  Jesus, alone, is the living water that brings life.  The Spirit convicts people of their spiritual need.  The Church is compelled to extend this invitation to all people. (The Great Commission)  Everyone who has taken advantage of this Living Water must share the Good News.  Then all who are thirsty should come.  Those who do will be given new life.  Those who do not will continue on in their suffering, despite the availability of this Living Water springing up around them.

Then there is the appeal.  This appeal comes from us.  When we come to understand as John did as these spiritual truths were revealed to him, we will join him is his appeal to Jesus. Revelation 22: 20 says: “He who testifies about these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!”  John could not wait for Jesus to return and fulfill all he had just seen.  Likewise, when we begin to get a glimpse of what Jesus has in store for us, we will join him in his appeal and pray to God, “Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!”

When all of this is accomplished in our lives, then the benediction of the book will have its real power and meaning flow over us.  Revelation 22: 21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints.  Amen.”

We find the truth of God’s love for us in Christ alone.  His grace and peace will indeed be with us for He has transformed us from sinner to saint.  And His grace will be upon us.  Amen!


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