One of the key aspects of the Christian Life is the recognition that the world will not continue on the way it has been going forever. While there are many things in the world that still hold beauty, truth and goodness, sin is still present. The world will go further and further into decay, but one day Christ will return and make all things new. This is important because our future destiny affects how we live today.
The Book of Revelation is about the end times. The word revelation means, “unveiling”. Something that was hidden before is being revealed now. John was on exile on the island of Patmos for spending his life preaching about Jesus and the Roman government wanted to get him out of the way. While he was on the island, God gave him a vision that explained the things that were to happen in the distant future. The book of Revelation was written to various churches going through different challenges. The challenges these churches face are the same challenges we face today. John explains the various struggles and spiritual battles that are going on, but at the end, we see the triumph of God over the powers of darkness. God is bringing heaven to earth. This new heaven and new earth is called, “New Jerusalem”.
As this new heaven and new earth come down a voice proclaims, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:1-4).”
John reminds us that these are not promises that the author made up himself. These are promises of Christ himself. John tells us that the one who is seated on the throne promises that he is making all things new. Jesus is the “Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” The one who has made this promise to us is the one was raised from the dead and is seated in heaven with power next to the Father. Christ’s return will quench the longing of every soul. For those who are spiritually thirsty, he promises water from the spring of the water of life without payment.
Lastly, we are warned to persevere and not give up. To the one who conquers they will have this heritage. This war language is not referring to a literal war. But to the one who persevered in this life and conquers their sin. There is a warning for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars. The destiny is the lake of fire- otherwise known as “the second death.”
If this is our destiny, this ought to change how we see our lives. First, it keeps us from placing too much undue hope in this world and frees us to be generous and love people. Many people think that if we believed that this life was all that there was, we would do a better job taking care of things. While there is some logic to this, it neglects to take into consideration the sinfulness of the human heart. It actually leads many to become more selfish and to hold onto things tighter rather than be generous.
Second, it helps us to persevere and endure the difficulties and hardships of life. If we know that we will one day dwell with God and that God himself will wipe away every tear and death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, it gives us courage to have courage to do what God wants us to do. He sees every suffering we endure for Christ’s name.
Questions for Meditation:
1. Consider all the ways we think about Jesus: Shepherd, baby born in a manger, teacher, the crucified one, the one who is raised from the dead. What does it mean that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega?
2. After hearing the promises of Jesus how does it make you feel?
3. Is there a challenge to your faith that you may be called to endure and persevere?