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Tag Archives: The End

Revelation 22 – The End (Evil Undone)

Does Revelation 21-22 fit what happened in Rome two thousand years ago?  Or does the book now speak of the final judgment to come?  I think that the answer is both.  It’s hard to say that it has no relevance to the Roman situation since we are told yet again in 22:7 that this return will come very soon.  Remember how in Revelation 20, we talked about the idea that Satan will have times in the future that he will regroup and return to try to destroy the people of God.  In a similar way, there will be time after time that God will rescue his people and let them join his victory.  In that way, the book of Revelation is a pattern that is repeated throughout history.  It makes sense that in the final Judgment Day that it will be a more complete version of what God has been doing all along.

Revelation 22 has many beautiful images of how the remaining damage that has been done by evil will now be completely undone.  The image of crystal clear water pouring forth for the people of God is an image of life.  Some think this indicates the Holy Spirit while others are reminded of Eden’s rivers or Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman that he would give her living water.  What’s clear is that this water is a source of life and blessing.  Those who drink it will never thirst again.  The tree of life reminds us of Eden, where God’s garden provided everything humans could want, before death or sin ever entered the creation.  And not just any fruit, but 12 kinds of fruit for each month (12 times a year).  Again, the number 12 reminds us of God’s people and we are supposed to realize that God is feeding his people and providing for them abundantly.

The curse will be lifted.  The curse immediately leaves me thinking of men working the land for food and women having pain in childbirth, but Revelation 22 doesn’t connect the lifting of the curse to either of those aspects.  Immediately after the curse is lifted we are told of an intimate relationship between God and his people where they can see his face and his name is upon their foreheads.  This is the fulfillment of communion and the relationship that is desired.

The book ends with several promises that all of this is true and will soon come to pass.  The letter, as soon as John finished it, was not to be kept secret, but sent throughout the churches warning them.  While some have said that Revelation uses images to keep Romans from understanding it, these final verses seem to contradict that.  There is an invitation that those who are outside the gates might listen and “come.”

At the end of the day, every single one of us has a choice.  This is good news and bad news in this.  The bad news is that God will honor our choice and give us what we ask for.  The good news is that God will honor our choice and give us what we ask for.

My prayer is that God will give me rivers of crystal clear, life giving water.  And my prayer is that you will ask for the water too.  Because that water washes all the pain of the dragon and the beasts away.  It heals.  It gives life.  It fills you with the love of the one who created love.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Revelation

 

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Acts 28 – An Odd Ending

During The Book of Acts

One of the odd things about reading the Bible is that it isn’t entirely in order, or what we would expect “in order” to look like.  By the end of this chapter, Paul has written both letters to the Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, a couple of letters to Timothy, one to Titus, and this other book called Romans.  To a certain extent, as we move forward into the New Testament, we will be moving backward into the story we’ve just finished.

In Rome

When Paul last met with a group of Jews, there was a riot, an arrest, several years of imprisonment, trials before three rulers and multiple assassination attempts.  But that doesn’t keep Paul from going straight to the Jews in and around Rome and telling them about Jesus and the Gospel.  He expects them to be as hostile as what he experienced in Jerusalem and Judea.  Instead, some listen and some reject his teaching (just like in Jerusalem) but then they all just go home.  There aren’t any riots.  Paul isn’t stoned or imprisoned.  Things are always political in the capital, where power is everything and reputations are at stake.  But when you get farther away from the power politics of Jerusalem, They simply listen, assess, discuss and go home.

While Paul spends the next couple of years in Rome under house arrest, this doesn’t seem to be too arduous.  In fact, the final phrase, that he taught with boldness and without hindrance would seem to indicate that these years of house arrest were some of the easiest in his ministry.  Preaching to people who don’t try to kill you is easy.

At least, that’s all until we start Romans on Monday.

Then the book ends.  Almost out of nowhere Acts is over.  It seems unresolved at first.  Paul is imprisoned after his appeal to Caesar and we want to know the verdict.  We don’t know how the churches are doing.  What ever happened to Peter?

But the point is that they aren’t the point.  The book isn’t about Peter or Paul.  It isn’t about the early converts.  The book is about the Kingdom.  It’s about all of the people and circumstances that led to King Jesus leading a group of men and women into becoming something great with his Holy Spirit power.  The end of the book is the moment that the Gospel has gone everywhere it needed to go.  While it feels like we have loose ends with Paul, everything with the spread of the Gospel has been accomplished.  If it was all neatly concluded, there would be a sense of completeness and finality to it.  As it is, Acts presents itself as a launch point and an invitation to pick up where Peter, Barnabas and Paul left off, to take the Gospel to my and your little corner of the world.

We start Romans on Monday!  What was your favorite thing about Acts?

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Acts, Bible Blog

 

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