(Can you believe we’ve reached the end of this time of devotionally studying Revelation?? I hope that is has encouraged you, and you’ll be motivated to continue studying more.)
Chapter 22 gives us a final picture of our final destination, and is the conclusion of the message Jesus gave to His friend, John, for us.
In the city of God (where we will live!) there’s a river of the water of Life (remind you of anything? John 4, Jesus calls Himself the Living Water!) and trees that always bear fruit with leaves us healing for the nations.
Now, if you had thought of Heaven as a place where …well, we don’t do anything – and you thought it was kind of boring . . . there’s a clue here about the true nature of it. Of course it will be glorious and beautiful. There will be no pain (of any kind), and life truly WILL be perfect. We will live eternally in glorified, resurrected bodies. But, bored, we will not be!
We will be a people that serve (v. 3). He will have things for each of us to do! And, I imagine it will be exactly what you long to do in your heart, and that which you will take complete joy in doing without an ounce of struggle or frustration. If you have inordinate love for animals, perhaps you’ll be one who gets to care for the animals (who, by the way will all get along and we’ll have no fear dealing with any of them). If you really love to cook, perhaps you’ll get to run one of the (I’m assuming) many banquet facilities where we’ll all fellowship with each other and the Lord. If you love to do build/design things, maybe you’ll get to design new supernatural modes of transportation — who knows?! What would you love to do?
We will be those that commune with God (v. 4). Our lives will be lived out in face to face intimacy with God the Father and the Son.
We will govern the earth (v. 5). We will carry out the leadership of Jesus in all affairs of life, in many different positions of “reigning”.
As we contemplate the glories of this place and time that the End Time drama makes way for — two sobering messages come. One from the angel and one from Jesus Himself:
The Angel’s message: (v. 6) Just in case we get too caught up in the Drama that we’ve been learning, and begin to view it as fictions — the angel reminds us: ”these words are trustworthy and true”. In other words, “this really IS going to happen, no doubt about it!”. Why? Because though it’s an angel speaking, this is a message from GOD, to His people, and God’s word never passes away. And, when He has a message, there is weight to it; it’s not just nice ideas or something to entertain your mind. This is REALITY! God loves to share what’s on His heart and tell us what He’s going to do (see Amos 3:7). He doesn’t want us to be caught unaware and unprepared. That’s never His plan! And, most importantly, these are ”things that MUST SOON take place”. This plan is inevitable, it MUST happen to bring about God’s perfect plan for us; and it will take place SOON.
Jesus Himself breaks in: (v. 7) “Behold” (i.e. listen up, pay attention, look!). “I AM coming SOON“. If Jesus, says to pay attention.. do it. What’s the message? Basically, “Yes, I really am coming.” It’s not a maybe, hopefully….. someday in the distant future….. but SOOOOON! Now, we think soon means in the next five minutes. But, I tell you, in the light of Eternity, where we will SOON stand, it will seem like only a SECOND before He returns!! He tells us it’s soon, meaning this: If we don’t begin NOW to prepare our selves, our lives, and those around us for His return, we WILL be caught unaware! That’s how soon it is. If you wait to order your life until “later”, or when you think it’s “closer”, you’ll be found lacking.
So, what are we to do with the knowledge that He will soon return? Jesus tells us, “keep the words of this prophecy in this book”. That doesn’t just mean to have a copy of the Bible around. He’s talking about the book of Revelation, which we have been studying. To “keep the words” means not just to read them, but to digest them, learn them, and conform our life to these words. This book is the key for us to be prepared for the His return, to be ready and to partner with Him in that day. We cannot afford to be ignorant of its message; we must know it thoroughly and intimately.
(verse 10-11) The angel tells John to not seal up the words of this book. In other words, this is not a message for the distant future that we should lock up for when it’s “relevant”. It is relevant NOW because, “the time is NEAR”. Are you sensing a theme here? Do you think it’s an accident that the words SOON and NEAR keep being used? Perhaps the Lord knew that we would be prone to put this message off and think that it doesn’t apply to us…
(verse 12-13) Jesus breaks in again, saying what? “I am coming soon!”
Then, he reminds us that He is the Alpha & Omega/Beginning & End. He is the One who began this whole story when He spoke creation into existence at the beginning of time (Genesis), and He will have the last word (Revelation), as He brings all things together under Himself, and it will be good.
(verse 14-15) More instruction for us as we eagerly anticipate His Return: PURIFY YOURSELF! Run from every kind of sin and stay far from the things that those who do not know God do.
(verse 16) Jesus reminds us of His unique nature and why He is the only One found worthy to bring Heaven and Earth together and make all the wrong things right. He is a Man (the offspring of David) and God eternal (Bright and Morning Star), who was, is, and is to come!
(verse 17) God (the Spirit) longs to make the wrong things right and restore fellowship between God and mankind. It is the beat of His heart. His faithful followers (the Bride) will begin to burn with the same passion. We will LONG for His return. We will loose ourselves from the things of this world, and come to the realization that He is what we need, and we’ll conclude that things will only be truly right when He returns. Then, with one voice, we will cry, “COME!”
And, Jesus will come (v.20)!!