Today’s reading is Revelation 22.
John’s story telling expands even more. We’ve had the repeated cycles in the book. Further, we’ve seen how as he ended his story, he went back to pick up themes he used at the beginning of the book. Now, here at the end of our entire Bibles (can that be a coincidence), John goes all the way back to the beginning of the whole story. What we are witnessing is the restoration of the Garden, but it is a new and improved Garden. It is not just a tree of life, but a river of life surrounded by life-giving trees. There is no night because God is it’s light. And the inhabitants reign forever and ever without fall or failure. WOW! No doubt the ultimate fulfillment of this picture is in eternity where Christ’s church finds its ultimate victory. However, don’t miss the point John is making for his readers in their particular predicament. He is pointing out that this imagery is not merely the church in eternity. This imagery is Christ’s church at all times. Christ’s church, Christ’s bride is this garden city. As the Garden was God’s first sanctuary, His first dwelling place with man, the church is God’s final resting place with man. Whether on earth or ultimately around His throne in heaven, Christ’s church is His temple, His dwelling place, His city, His kingdom, His Bride. And here is the kicker. If you want to be part of the Bride, the city, the kingdom in eternity, you have to be part of it now. The Spirit and the Bride say come. Come now. Come drink from the fountain of living waters that flows from God’s throne, by Christ’s cross, through the Heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, the church. And never leave this refreshing stream. I understand, in its present form, we don’t always see it as this image at the end of Revelation. But this is what it is and, in time, it will be vindicated and demonstrated as such. So, get in now and stay there.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, thanks for hanging in there through this very difficult reading of Revelation. If this was your first time through it, I know it was odd. If you have been through it before, perhaps even with us in previous years, I hope it is starting to make more sense to you. It is different from every other book in the New Testament. But for all the confusing aspects of it, did you get the picture? Did you get the ultimate message? Do you remember what it is? Yep, that’s right. Jesus always wins! What a picture of ultimate victory we see here at the end. The city may be embattled. Sometimes it may even look like the enemies are going to breach the walls and bring it down just as happened to the earthly Jerusalem on multiple occasions. However, not so. The heavenly Jerusalem is unassailable. God dwells in its midst and the waters of life flow from His throne through our blessed city. Keep drinking from those waters. Stay in this city. Don’t ever leave. I promise, you’ll be glad you stayed. No matter what it looks like now, Jesus is going to win. Stay on His side. Praise the Lord!