With the conclusion of chapter 31 we have now come to the end of our study of THE STORY. Thanks for joining with us on this journey. We hope and pray that you have enjoyed our study and that you have been blessed. Stay tune to more great things from this blog in the future. May God be with you all…Michael Cox
The Revelation…..where to begin? It’s possible to say that there isn’t a more controversial or debated book in all of scripture. Revelation is a confusing read, made even more muddy by preachers, prophets, and heralds claiming to have “cracked the code” of this book and declaring all sorts of dates and times for the apocalypse. There is plenty of discussion to be had in regards to the apocryphal elements of John’s Revelation, and they have their place. In my mind, the most meaningful, relevant, and painfully clear words in the book come in chapter 3, specifically verses 14-22. Go read them, and get back to me when you’re done.
I get very uncomfortable reading these verses. They force me to ask some difficult questions. Do I rely on God to deliver me? Am I even living in a way that might require delivery? Have I constructed walls around me for my own comfort and protection – walls made out of a career, retirement plan, social group, or anything else that makes me feel safe? Do I rely on these man-made walls instead of the Father?
“You say, ‘I’m rich, and I’ve grown wealthy, and I don’t need a thing.’ You don’t realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked.”
I am 100% convinced that Satan’s greatest tool in his war against the modern church is comfort and complacency. He’s told us all that the ultimate goal here is to be safe and content and we’ve bought it. The modern American church has become a comfortable, predictable, and undemanding routine designed primarily to make people feel good. Check in on Sundays, drop off your contribution, and try not to mess up too publicly during the week. The passion for a love relationship with the Father has been replaced with faith in our own ability to “appear Christian” to the right people and follow the right set of commands. We give God lip service, but our hearts speak the truth. They say “we’re strong….we can handle most of this, and we’ll get back to you when something really big comes up.” We are lukewarm in so many ways.
“So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.”
The image intended by “spit” is not a pretty one – consider the last time you had a really bad case of food poisoning, specifically all the retching, heaving, and vomiting involved. That’s the image…my ridiculous self-reliance on my possessions and abilities really does make Christ that sick. Fortunately, there’s a better way. All we have to do is open the door – running to Him with humble and broken hearts, confessing our lack of faith and begging for change. He will change us. It might not be comfortable or easy – “I correct and discipline those whom I love”- but it will be worth it. We will get to sit with Christ on His throne! Christ then immediately reveals exactly what that will look like. Turn to chapter 4 and read the breathtaking description of the throne of God, with all the praise, honor, and glory involved. Incredible. Imagine giving all this up for some measly possessions and a misplaced feeling of comfort. Let’s submit to God – lay everything on the table and offer Him our lives, trading our rags for His gold. Trust in Him – He won’t let you down!
W.B. West, Jr., founding dean of the Harding Graduate School of Religion (now Harding School of Theology) used to say of the book of Revelation that we must put on our first century glasses to read it. Its original recipients lived in the first century. For us, the 21st century readers, Revelation, among other things, reveals to us the worthiness of both God and Christ, as well as the true victor.
Often times in a football game, the team with the lead will gain possession of the ball with less than a minute left on the clock, and they will line up in a victory formation. Many commentators will point out that this is the best formation because it means that particular team is only seconds away from winning the game. All the quarterback has to do is receive the snap and kneel down on the ground, thus running the remaining time off the clock and gaining the victory.
God has afforded us the opportunity to line up in victory formation.
Before a football game begins, no one truly can know who will win.
We do know who has won the Great Battle. God’s victory is concrete.
John’s vocabulary in Revelation proves that words can’t describe what we are able to look forward to in the end.
Like Frank Sinatra used to sing, “The best is yet to come.”
We have reached the end of “The Story”, and I have greatly enjoyed this enlightening journey through the Bible. But believers know that THE STORY never comes to an end – God has opened the door for us and shown us the way to eternal life. His mercy and grace go on and on forever and are available to anyone who is willing to receive them. What a glorious gift our Father has given us! Let’s continue to share it with everyone we meet as we travel the Way that God has laid out for us.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The Story, Chapter 31
Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and be their God.
When John wrote Revelations, he was coming to the end of his life on earth. The revelations that he received from Jesus must have been very comforting to him.
Jesus gave John a small peek into the beauty of heaven and the joy of being with the Lord.
All through the book of revelation John wrote about the battle that Satan is waging against God. There are many things that John writes that I do not truly understand,( these are on my list to ask God about when I get to heaven along with, did Peter have red hair, and did the dinosaurs turn into snakes?). Through all the symbolism and descriptions of beasts, Jesus told John over and over ” God will win out over evil”. This is the one thing I do understand, Jesus will return one day and be victorious over evil. Then He will take His people home to heaven for eternity.
If you get the chance to read chapter 21 and 22 of Revelation this week, see what your mind’s eye thinks heaven might look like.
Have a great week!
Can you remember a time in your life that you were so hurt, you couldn’t stop the tears? Maybe this hurt was so deep that even after a long time, tears may come to your eyes just by remembering!
In Revelation 21:4 we are assured that God “wipes” away old things. That word means “to erase.”
Verse 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Now that it’s very close to Thanksgiving, what an amazing gift to be thankful for! Through God’s grace, He gives an eternal home to those who have believed and obeyed.
We might find it hard to understand such love. After all, haven’t we failed Him so many times? How can He accept ME, with all my hurts, failures and sinful nature?
God will take from us all the heavy burden of our hurts, habits, failures, feelings, and sins. All we have to do is surrender and obey.
At the end of “the story”, what a relief it is to understand that old things will pass away, and “he will wipe away every tear”.
In this weeks chapter of the story, ch. 31 The End of Time, we hear the final words of the greatest Story ever told.
If you have ever sat and listened to most preachers or speakers, they usually tell you when they are about to wrap up. They typically say something like “and in conclusion” or ” I would like to conclude by saying this”. This is to let everyone know that the final words are near. God did the same thing with his spoken word through John, by informing all of us what the final days were going to be like.
I love at the beginning of this chapter how the angel of the churches of Ephesus, Sardis and Laodicia wrote these things warning each church about forsaken the love they first had, how they had a reputation of being alive but are now dead, and finally how they are neither cold or hot and are simply lukewarm. These same warnings go out to us each and every day.
Wow judgment day is coming and we must all face our creator on that day and answer for all the things we did or did not do while on this Earth. For me it is very hard to imagine what exactly that day will be like if it were to take place while I am still living. What day of the week will it be? What time of the day? Will it be sunny, cloudy, warm or cold? I do not know what it will be like but I truly believe it is coming.
So in conclusion, I would like to leave you with a final quote from our Savior, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Rev. 22:12
Nothing else to say except for be ready because ALL things come to some type of Conclusion, how will the conclusion of your story be written?