Disclosure – I haven’t read any Harry Potter books. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe haven’t made it to my shelves. Books about dragons, plots with supernatural themes don’t capture my interest. Finally, I have never watched any Star Wars movies!
The book of Revelation then is a struggle but as long as I keep reminding myself of John’s opening words: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
We’ve read in past FDR posts that the imagery throughout this book is apocalyptic. This world as we know it will end whenever God decides the time is right. Unlike the supernatural themes in popular fiction (but what would I know about these…) which are figments of a wonderful imagination, this final chapter of Revelation contains a real message, God’s last message to all of us. To all humankind.
Here at the end of God’s word we have come full circle. We are reintroduced to the tree of life which featured in Genesis 3 with Adam and Eve. Paradise has been restored by this all powerful God. The opening verses are a beautiful description:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.
Beautiful images – clear, flowing water, bright as crystal, cascading from His throne reflect the glory of God. It is accessible to all. Tall trees, shiny green foliage, branches laden with ripe, juicy fruit in constantly changing varieties entice the passerby. Nothing tawdry or worn but everything beautifully crafted.
Another picture – the majestic throne of our Creator and the Lamb waiting for our presence, their face visible to all. Us being welcomed into His presence, worshipping Him face to face.
Every scene is lit by a wonderful bright light emanating from the glory of our Lord’s face. No more darkness. The curse on humanity and the earth because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience will be finished. No more sin. Paradise restored. That is worth reading!
Verses 6-21 form a conclusion or summary to the whole book. They emphasise the authenticity of the book as a revelation from God and the imminence of the return of Christ.
Verse 7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
I gather this is Jesus speaking and His return is imminent. I’m not sure how to keep the sayings of this book of Revelation as I don’t understand all the references or imagery. Perhaps it means I’m to have read and be diligent in keeping God’s words from throughout the whole bible. I think then that the purpose of the book of Revelation is not to entertain or satisfy the curiosity of readers about their future and heaven in general, but to reveal God’s glory and dominance over the world and encourage us to live for Him as we wait for His Son to return. These prophecies are to be proclaimed, not sealed up, so all people have the opportunity to know about God, so they will have no excuse when He comes to judge them.
Verse 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy is not a command, but rather a statement of fact and a warning. People’s characteristics generally are fixed and unchangeable, especially after a lifetime of habitual action. At the end it will be too late to change. Verse 12 Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.
Verse 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Let us all quench our thirst with this free gift of the water of life as we eagerly await the return of Jesus.
Thank you Lord God for your love for us and the grace you have poured out on us already. May our thoughts, words and actions honour you every day.