We have come to the end of the book. But it is not the end of our time with Jesus. He promises us “forever” with Him.
What an AMAZING promise! I don’t know exactly what that forever is going to look like or what comes next. But as long as HE is in it, I’m GOLDEN! I think that was John’s reaction too. He was so thankful to the messenger that he fell at his feet. Oops! That reaction is reserved for the author of the message.
I find it interesting that even up until the last moments, we all still have potential to miss it AND to be forgiven. I doubt this letter was written on John’s death bed but he was well versed in Jesus’ teachings by now and yet, he still stumbled. Even more amazing than that is that the Holy Spirit saw fit to include that misstep in the final draft. God is SO gracious!
So now let’s look at the conclusion of John’s vision from Heaven. I have to confess to a little bit of confusion here. I’m curious if it is just John and the angel or if Jesus is in this scene too. I can clearly see the angel speaking the words of the first verse as it is written in third person style. But some of the later verses are written in first person and they would be the words spoken by Jesus. Is the angel simply quoting Jesus to John or is Jesus speaking these words? Whichever it is “these words are trustworthy and true” (verse 6a) STILL stands!
I appreciate the fact that God chose to share this “coming attractions” preview with us. It feels a lot like a movie trailer. You get snippets from various parts but don’t know the full story until you watch it in its entirety. There is even one section that John was instructed NOT to share; that of the seven thunders.
John is not the first one to be told NOT to share something God had revealed to him. Daniel is the most notable in this category. There were many things Daniel did share but several more that we will have to wait and see about.
I’m pretty sure God left things a bit vague on purpose. He wanted us to live each day ready for Jesus’ return. If He had specified a day, an hour, or a firm specific event, EVERYONE would wait until just before that time to turn to Him.
This reminds me of when I was a child and my parents would leave us children at home. We didn’t know exactly how long they would be gone but we were given an approximate time frame. But we did have one specific event that we could count on; hearing the car pull into the driveway. If we were attentive, that sound always gave us just enough time to “hide the evidence” of our behavior while they were out. Sometimes that process was a bit more difficult and one of us had to act as a distraction while the others finished up. “Nobody tell on nobody and nobody gets in trouble” were always the words said as the car breached the driveway.
God has given us all the advanced warning we are going to receive. It is our job to heed His warning and act appropriately. Jesus told His disciples that we would recognize some of the signs but that we are to be ready at all times. “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (verse 7b). Not a single act but a lifestyle. Walk in the instruction He gave to the churches. Watch as the signs of the times rise and fall. Be ready at all times for His return. And reach out to those around you who aren’t.
The words “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy” (verse 11) is NOT written to mean that we are to sit back and “let nature take its course” with the world around us. Jesus told us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). No, He didn’t say it directly to me, but I was included in His heart, just as you were. We are to proclaim His love for everyone up until the moment we leave this earth. That includes leaving it by our own death or the rapture. Live as if He is coming back in the next five minutes and work as if He will be many more years.
I want to be part of those who enter God’s city. I want to be found faithfully working when He arrives. I want to hear, “well done good and faithful servant.” I want the payment Jesus has stored up for the righteous. I want to eat of the Tree of Life and have a share in His city. So my job is to follow Him with my whole life, repent when I fall short, and share what He has given me with as many people as I can.
Another important task I’m to do is to KEEP this book as it was written. I pray I have done that as I shared with you what He shared with me. I know I have asked some questions I’ve not seen addressed before. I pray those questions in no way detracted from the message He originally shared with John. I believe EVERY word contained here was inspired by the Holy Spirit. I DON’T want to be the author of confusion to ANYONE! Please take from our time together what you feel God wants you to.
Father God, thank You for sharing new, yet old, insights with me as I walked through this vision You blessed John with. My heart’s desire is to live according to Your word. I don’t want to trick ANYONE, including myself, into following anyone but You. My desire is to hear YOUR voice in my daily life and to follow it wherever it leads.
To those of you who want to continue studying God’s word with me, I’m planning on starting with Genesis. So for our study, this is not the end. And for our future with Jesus there IS no end!