Turn to the Lord, submit your life to Him, He cares for you.

At the end of the book of revelation we read these encouraging yet unbelievable words:

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

The gods of other nations are always distant. They don’t have time for humans. Human’s are second class in their mind, servants who were created through various means for their own pleasure and use. Gods don’t typically come to take up residence with their creation, just as kings typically don’t take up residence with their people. No, they live in a castle distanced and protected from the people.

The God of Israel, the God of the Scriptures, does not distance Himself from man. We are the pinnacle of His creation, created in His image to reign and rule on His behalf (Genesis 1-2). He placed the first humans in the garden in Eden to work and keep it on His behalf. They were to serve as little “k” kings, reigning and ruling over all creation. They, however, didn’t recognize their privileged place and sinned against the Lord. You can read about in Genesis 3. Their sin plunged the whole world into a corrupted state.

God did not give up. He went on a rescue mission for His people, even sending His own Son to die in their place as a means to bring His people back into fellowship with Him and so He could tabernacle among us once again. Here, at the end of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we see God doing just that. He brings His kingdom, described as a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1), so that He can live among us once again. 

We don’t become His slaves, instead we are His children who live a blessed life. A return to Eden, if you will, takes place when God’s holy city drops out of the sky. The promise in verse 4 is amazing, awe and hope inspiring: 

Revelation 21:4 reads,

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

What an amazing God we serve! A God who actually cares for His people. Don’t turn to the counterfeit gods of the world who cannot and will not deliver on their promises. They do not care for you, nor will they provide you what they say they will. Only heartache and death results from following the gods of the world. But life and peace is the result of following the Lord our God. 

Turn to the Lord, submit your life to Him, He cares for you. 

We serve an amazing God who will bring His purposes about!

And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

(Rev 17:16-17)

There is a vivid and scary scene near the end of the book of Revelation. In chapter 17, John sees a vision of a prostitute arrayed in purple and scarlet with gold and jewels and pearls. She has a golden cup in her hand and she is drunk on the blood of martyred Jesus followers. She is Babylon’s the great. She is riding on a scarlet beast with seven heads and 10 horns who has come from the bottomless pit (Rev 17:1-13). The beast with seven heads and horns represents nations and kings who have power. Who wage ware against Jesus and His followers (Rev 17:14).

The interesting part of John’s vision is not so much the vivid imagery but what happens to the prostitute. She is destroyed by the beast and the kings who are represented by the ten horns (Rev 17:16). But why? Why do they war against one another? Verse 17 reveals the answer:

for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.”

(Rev 17:17)

Her destruction occurs due God’s providence. God works His will even in the hearts of evil men who completely and utterly oppose Him. God is that great! He is absolutely sovereign, turning even the hearts of wicked men to accomplish His purposes. As one commentator puts it:

“You cannot overcome such a God! They are his enemies, and he puts it into their hearts to carry out his purposes by doing their wicked deeds. God is holy, righteous, and good. He is not evil. He is not tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone to it. He never does evil. But no evil is outside God’s control.”

(James Hamilton, Revelation, 331)

We serve an amazing God who will bring His purposes about!

Christian, you can, must, and will endure!

If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” 

(Rev 13:10)

No one is promised an easy life. Especially those who live contrary to the world system. 

In the middle section of the book of the Revelation John sees a vision of two beasts. The first beast was allowed by God to make war on the saints and to conquer them (Rev 13:7). Not only is the beast able to conquer the saints but all who dwell on the earth end up worshipping the beast. Everyone except the saints “whose names [have] been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Reve 13:8). 

True Christians cannot and will not be conquered. 

Their allegiance to King Jesus cannot be changed. They have and will continue to follow Him, even as two beast are terrorizing the world. 

A Christians assurance of eternal life with King Jesus is guaranteed but a comfortable life and escaping death in Jesus’ name is not. Those who have been destined for captivity and death will face captivity and death (Rev. 13:10)

Where is the comfort? 

The comfort comes in knowing our names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world. The comfort comes in knowing God is not only a sovereign God but a providential God. In other words, His sovereignty is purposeful and His purposes are not and cannot be hindered. Though we might be taken captive or slain, we continue to trust in the providence of God. In His purposes and will along with His ability to bring His purpose to pass. 

Knowing who our God is, what He capable of doing, and what we could possibly face, we are called to endure (Rev 13:10b). To remain steadfast in the face of whatever may come our way in the future. That is not an easy proposition because the future is unknown to us. But it is what we are called to do by the Lord God. 

We can endure! We must endure! We will endure!

Revelation, a mystery and a certainty

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation  11:15)

Revelation is a mysterious book. At times, well most of the time, it is hard to understand. I like to refer to it as the final exam of the Bible because it pulls in imagery from all the books before. In order to understand Revelation, you need a good handle on the rest of the Bible. Reading Revelation in and of itself will be difficult if you have not read and do not have a good grasp on the meta narrative of Scripture. The overarching story of God’s Word that follows a trajectory from Creation to Restoration.

While Revelation may be difficult to understand, there are parts that are clear. Today’s text is one of those texts. We learn that Jesus’ kingdom will reign forever and ever. It will never cease. It will always be. We can count on it because the Creator of the universe promises it. The Creator of the universe we read about in Scripture. The One who has fulfilled countless promises throughout redemptive history.

Do you believe and trust that God will establish His eternal kingdom one day on this earth? Are you convinced that everything will be restored? That sin will be wiped away and we will live in the world in which we all hope? The book of Revelation is difficult in many ways, but it is clear that Jesus will return, His future kingdom will be established, and we will live in the world for which mankind longs, if you are a follower of Jesus.