The Never Ending Story (Revelation 21 – 22)

posted in: Messages | 0
Last week I covered the final battle between Satan and God – with God winning a quick and decisive victory that ended with Satan and all those he deceived though the centuries being thrown into the Lake of Fire.
But for all those who, by the grace of God, are saved through their faith and allegiance to God as King, now comes the part where we get what believers have been hoping and waiting for since the beginning of time.
I’m going to start by just reading through chapter 21 and 22 because I think they are beautiful and to give you context. And then we’ll talk about different parts of it. For this first reading, just sit back and listen as it won’t be on the screen. Maybe even close your eyes and try to imagine it.
Revelation 21
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick.18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
Beautiful! Indeed – Come, Lord Jesus, Come! I can’t wait!
Now that you have the larger picture, let’s take a closer look at the details.

Revelation 21
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Our current universe is temporary. It was created from nothing and will return to nothing. But our souls will live forever and we will get to live in this new earth where sin no longer corrupts.
The heaven here is not talking about the dwelling place of God, but our atmosphere  and universe.
He also points out here that there will be no more sea – no more ocean. There are lot’s of opinions about that, but perhaps the answer will come as we read on.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
As we saw in later verses, this city is a ginormous cube made of many beautiful and colorful materials. Apparently this Jerusalem already exists with God and the angels in heaven, and here at the new beginning, it is coming down to earth. And it is beautiful, like a bride on her wedding day.
 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
In the garden of Eden, God dwelled among man. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve for there was no sin yet in the world. Once sin entered the world, God could no longer dwell with us except hidden behind temple walls or curtains and a rigorous sacrificial system. Even our current relationship with God was bought with the blood of His Son.
Here at the new beginning, God will once again walk with us. We will be perfect and holy as He is perfect and holy, and thus we will be able to exist in his presence – which is the definition of heaven.
In this state there will be no more death or sadness or pain. Sounds wonderful.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
That’s why I keep calling it the new beginning. It’s not the end of the story. It’s the beginning of a new story. A better story. And God himself instructs John to write what he’s about to say down, meaning we better listen.
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
God once again makes clear the stark contrast between who will get to enjoy this new beginning and who will not.
God says that he is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
He is everlasting and all knowing.
Nothing was before him and nothing comes after him.
He knows all and sees all.
Nothing is beyond his power and perception.
And he says to the thirsty – those who hunger and thirst for righteousness as Jesus pointed out in his sermon on the Mount – to those thirsty for the living water – it will be given to them freely.
And to those who are victorious – a term Jesus used in the beginning of Revelation in referring to his followers. Those who are victorious over this world and the Devil by their devotion to Christ even to the point of death – those will inherit all of this. And they will become children of God, living in his eternal family forever.
It’s a really good deal. All you have to do is put your hope and faith and trust in the God who made you and swear your allegiance to his son as your Lord and King, and all of this will be yours if you remain in that without falling back or giving up.
But here – as well as many other places in the bible – God also makes it clear that this future is not for everyone. He calls out a few types of people that will not be enjoying this new and glorious kingdom.
But really, it’s not a FEW types of people he is talking about, but only ONE.
Scripture is repeatedly clear that in the end, and really in the present, there are only two types of people.
Those who live according to the Spirit (meaning those who are Christ Followers and thus filled with His Spirit)
and
Those who live according to the flesh (meaning they have rejected Christ and are still slaves to sin).
You can’t be both and you can’t be neither. By default we are all of the flesh and in need of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Once you put your faith in him and swear your allegiance to Him as your king, then the Holy Spirit moves inside of you – freeing you from your slavery to sin and empowering you to have a changed life that is evident by what kind of fruit you produce. Fruit is simply what it is we do, say, and think. In other words, the spiritual change that happens on your inside will become as obvious on the outside as apples or oranges hanging from a tree.
And lucky for us, Scripture has multiple references to what the two types of fruit look like so you and I can self-assess.
And one such reference is where Paul spells it out quite clearly all in one place.
Galatians 5
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Let me stop there for a moment to point out what I’ve already expressed that Paul is saying here – you can’t be both. You will either walk by the flesh or by the Spirit, and there should be no confusion between the two because they are contrary to each other. They are in conflict with each other. They are as different as night and day.
So, let’s see what they are. Paul lists the fruit of the flesh first.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Notice some repeats from what God just spelled out in his Alpha and Omega speech?  What God is ultimately saying is not that these particular sins that will keep you out of his kingdom, but the fact that you do them continually and unrepentantly is evidence that in your heart you have not truly made Jesus your king and thus you do not have the Spirit inside of you. Because if you did, your fruit would look very different.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
My friends, the reason why I often stress these things is because our current church culture has all but ignored them in favor of only talking about all the good things we get from being Christians. Which I am certainly not against and glad to have them, but if God himself repeatedly makes the point to include in his talking about heaven and the new kingdom the things that will keep you out – don’t you think it’s pretty important?
Would you like it if a doctor only told you all the things good about your body and never bothered to inform you that you have all the symptoms of cancer, or heart disease, and might die soon if you don’t get it treated?
Or would you rather that he make a thorough evaluation and tell you the hard truths so that you can correct anything wrong?  Well, God is a good doctor who has repeatedly spelled out in HIs word the symptoms that will tell you what condition your heart is in. Not because he is mean, but because he loves you enough to tell you the truth about what is wrong with you so you will let him fix you.
So that you will not die in your sins thinking you were spiritually healthy.
So that you will get the right treatment and live forever with him in His kingdom.
God is saying – Don’t ignore the symptoms.
Back to Revelation.
Revelation 21
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
So, a repeat in a little more detail of John seeing the city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. Again it is described as the bride, the wife of the Lamb. There are several places where certain things are called the wife or bride of God or Christ. The Church is the bride of Christ in the NT. Israel was the wife of God in the OT.
We can’t think of these things like two people being married, but more of a description of the intimate relationship between the two parties. It’s truly a mystery, which Paul talks about in his letter to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 5
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
In a remarkable way, we can understand God better through the roles we are supposed to take in a marriage, but even in seeing such an example it’s still a mystery – meaning we just cannot fully understand it, and that’s ok, because if we could fully understand God he wouldn’t be much of a god.
Anyway, John continues his description of the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21
11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Interesting that the 12 tribes will be named, and also the 12 apostles. Some wonder if one of the 12 apostles will be Judas or his replacement, Matthias, or maybe Paul. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
The number 12 is symbolic of the cooperation between man and God, which is why we see it often in the story of God and man. This new city is a testament to the beauty of God’s plan and a reward for those who put their faith in the unseen God.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
12,000 stadia equals about 15 miles. This city will be a cube that is 15 miles on each side. This is what it would look like if on the surface of our earth. Not sure if the new earth will be the same size as ours, but either way that’s a big cube.
17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick.
That’s about 216 feet thick.
18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
Pure as glass does not mean it is transparent, but that it has no impurities. Symbolic of no sin whatsoever – both in the city and in the people who will reside in her. A spotlessly pure bride.
19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
Not all of these stones are known to us today. Some of the Greek doesn’t translate easily. Many have tried to assign all kinds of symbolism to the various stones, which may or may not be true. I think the point he is making is that it is beautiful and quite colorful.
21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
First, about the gates. Those must be some large pearls. One thing that is interesting about the gates being pearls is that a pearl comes from an oyster – which in the Jewish law was an unclean animal. And while that was true – pearls were still considered valuable. Jesus even told a parable about purchasing a pearl of great price, which commentators believe was referring to the purchase of salvation for the Gentiles. The purchase of salvation for what the Jews considered unclean. And here in the new Jerusalem, the gates themselves are made of pearls as to indicate that there is no longer that distinction.
And of course, the street is made of gold – absolutely pure gold with no defects. All of this will certainly be quite beautiful to behold.
John continues…
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
The absence of a temple indicates that God and man will again cohabitant with no walls or curtains or sacrificial systems to separate them. The purpose of the temple was to get close to God but not allow sin in his presence. Now the temple IS God and we are sinless and will be able to approach him like a friend.
 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
This is interesting. It does not necessarily mean there will not be a sun or moon, but it won’t really matter because all the light the world needs will come from God himself.
24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
The Greek word behind “nations” is “ethnos” – which is where we get our word “ethnic” from – it’s not referring to nations with capitals and boundaries, but to all types of people. It’s saying that this new world will be populated with people from all tribes, languages, shapes, and colors.
But then it also says that the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. This is interesting. It seems that in this new world, there will be people outside the city, and kings and such that make trips to the city to bring their splendor. There’s not much more to go on in this direction, so that’s where we have to leave it. Basically, we won’t be sitting on clouds playing harps for eternity. It’s literally going to be a never ending and exhilarating story.
John continues…
25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
This is important. This new world will have no sin. Only those who, during this life on this planet put their hope and faith in Jesus Christ will have their names in the book of life, and only those in the book get to be a part of this future. Again Scripture points this out, so I think it’s probably important.
Revelation 22
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be any curse.
Here we have a whole lot of life. We have the water of life, and the tree of life. Now that there is no sin, and no more curse, we can eat from the tree of life that Adam and Eve were prevented from eating after they sinned. It wasn’t God being mean to them when he did that. He didn’t want them to live forever in their cursed state. But now that the curse is gone, and we are on a new and perfect world surrounded by perfect and incorruptible people, the tree of life and the water of life are free to indulge.
One thing else we can gather from this is that there WILL be the passage of time. But apparently it won’t be the sun or moon that marks the time, but the crops of the tree of life will mark the months.
As for the leaves of the trees providing healing in a place one wouldn’t expect the need for healing, the short answer is we don’t really know. But I’ll put a link in my notes where you can read a longer explanation that comes to the same conclusion.
When it comes to things in the distant future on a totally brand new world where God lives with man, it’s ok to just leave some things as a shrug while trusting that whatever it may be, it’s going to be good. Because God is good. And we will be WITH HIM, which is what Heaven really is.
John continues…
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
A repeat about the light and no night, but what is this about servants?
Well, again, heaven will not be sitting on clouds playing harps. Like the angels who are presently doing it, we will be worshiping and serving God in this new world. But it won’t be a burden. It will be what we were created and saved to do. It will be our joy to serve him in whatever way that will be. And the beautiful thing is that the same joy can be ours today as we serve our Lord.

At this point, John is done describing this beautiful scene, which is only a glimpse of what will be our home for eternity, living in the presence of God and enjoying blessings beyond imagination.
Now he shifts to a conversation with the angel who is showing all of this to him.
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
Here the angel reminds John that all of this is true. From the very beginning of his vision until now, it is all true and coming soon. It’s not just a dream or hallucination. But the true words of God.
Then it seems Jesus interjects: Look, I am coming soon!
Then he urges those who read this book to keep the words – to believe them and heed them.
John continues…
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
It’s funny – John did this once before in chapter 19. I guess the whole thing would just be overwhelming. I like to picture the angel looking around nervously and pulling John up before someone sees!
10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
John is told not to seal up the words, but rather share them. Then the angel says something interesting about letting people keep doing what they’re doing. It’s similar to what a different angel told the prophet Daniel many years before when he was having visions about the end of the world.
Daniel 12
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
So, Daniel is told to seal up his prophecy, because in his time the world wasn’t ready for it. Certain things, namely the death and resurrection of Christ, needed to happen first. Once that was done, John was given that same prophecy and was not told not to seal it up.
In both cases the angel basically says not to sweat it too much that not everyone is going to believe. Basically, people will do what they want to do. Don’t try to change them. But keep spreading the good news because some will believe and be changed.
And that is the same call we have today. We cannot reach everyone, but we should try to reach anyone who will listen.
Because…
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
As we have discovered in this series, when Jesus comes back he’s not going to be handing out hugs. What you do with your life matters.
Jesus continues…
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Again, Jesus – God, makes the point that there are two destinations. Not everyone goes to heaven. Blessed are those who do – who have “washed their robes” meaning put their faith in Christ who washes them clean of their sin – they get to go in the city.
Everyone else – and again he lists specific things – are outside. And that doesn’t mean on the new earth just outside the gates. That means the outer darkness that Jesus spoke of where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Lake of Fire where all those whose names are not in the Book of Life will end up.
And the evidence that your name is not in the Book of Life is in what characterizes your life. Jesus – God the Son makes the same list that God the Father made in the last chapter. Do you think it’s important?
Remember this is the God that wants ALL PEOPLE to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. These warnings are a blessing!
Think of it like a doctor telling you what symptoms to look for in a disease that will kill you – not to upset you, but to save your life!
Because that is exactly what sin ultimately is – a disease that will do more than kill your body, but send you to the second death – without the proper treatment.
Which is none other than the precious blood of Christ, that he shed for you and for me – to cure us of this disease, set us free, and give us eternal life.
Don’t be deceived. Do not ignore the symptoms. Do not neglect the cure.
Jesus continues…
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
Jesus making it clear that this message is from him. That it is the truth, because he is the truth. He is the root and offspring of David. In other words, he is the promised Messiah from the line of David. He is the bright morning star.
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
If you are thirsty – not for water – but for the life that is truly life. Jesus will give you the water of life.
It’s a wonderful promise that is again coupled with a warning. If you take out all of the warnings in the Bible there wouldn’t be much left.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
The warning about trying to change God’s Word to suit your individual desires is not new to this final book. God is serious about His Word. And anyone who tries to change God’s Word by adding to it or subtracting from it in order to support a belief they WANT to be in Scripture but is not – is basically acting in accordance with the fact they are not truly saved, and will thus suffer the penalties of nonbelievers.
In other words, if you do not have a reverence for the Words of God and a desire to understand them for what they are, rather than what you want them to be – then it’s quite likely that you are not a true Christian.
Because Christ certainly reveres the Word of God, and if His Spirit is in you, then you will too.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
We made it!!  We finished Revelation!
If you are new since Easter, you may not know that we, as a church, began going through Revelation on September 10th of last year, and now we have finally read the last verse.  Which, means that for those of you that have heard the whole thing and for myself for reading it out loud – we will be blessed!
It says so, right at the beginning.
Revelation 1:3
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
And we did it! It took nine months – but we made it, and I for one am glad and ready to be blessed!
But the truth is that we have already been blessed from this. As I will share with you next week in a vision message about the future of Reality Church, God has been setting some things up for us to be extremely blessed in the very near future.
But even before that comes about, I believe we have already experienced blessings just by going through this book. For one, we covered much more than the 22 chapters of Revelation.
I went back and tabulated how much of the Bible we actually studied by going through this…
Of course, we covered every word of the 22 chapters of Revelation.
Outside of Revelation, we covered 81 chapters out of 19 different Old Testament books and 80 chapters out of 21 different New Testament books.
In other words, in studying Revelation, we also needed to look at 40 of the other 65 books of the bible.  And the only reason we didn’t get into all 65 was because you might have rioted if this series went on any longer!
And aside from quantity, the main hope I have for all that have been through the whole thing is not that you will be experts in eschatology – experts in the end times – but that you will now have a deeper appreciation for the unity and continuity of the Scripture.
That it truly is one story about God and his plan.
That it’s all connected and intertwined despite being written by multiple people over centuries.
That it truly is the Word of God because there’s no other way all of that could come together with such symmetry and meaning.
My hope is that by showing you how the ending is not arbitrary but a result of the whole story before it, you will have a deeper faith in the God of the Bible –  that he means what he says and he says what he means.
You can trust the God who created the universe with a word, who sent his son to die for you, and who will invite you into his new heaven and earth once all has been accomplished.
My prayer is that you will see the truth for what it is.
That you will let HIM set you free.
That you will believe in your heart about Jesus – who he is, what he’s done – how he died and rose again – and how he is the one true king of the universe.
Then swear your allegiance to him. Get off of his throne and call Him Lord. Then you will be saved and filled with his Holy Spirit such that your fruit will change and you will be welcome into the never ending story that is the kingdom of God.
Let’s pray.