Then he showed me the river of the water of life. It was sparkling like crystal, and flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…Nothing is accursed there anymore…Let the thirsty come; let anyone who wants the water of life take it freely…Amen! Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. ~REVELATION 22:1,3,17,20-21
We made it! To the final chapter of Revelation. Of the New Testament. Of the Bible!! And how beautiful and fitting that it takes us back to the beginning: to Eden. Genesis.
The final chapter of the Bible takes us all the way back to the very first chapter of the Bible. New Creation eclipses the old Creation.
Since the creation of humanity, God has desired uninhibited, joy-filled communion with His people. To simply walk together in the Garden and enjoy one another’s company. But a few things happened to severely disrupt that glorious reality. If someone were to ask the big question, “What does God want from us?” I think the biggest answer would be: “A family. A family who freely chooses Him above all else, above all others.”
This is what God gets in the end, here in the final chapter of the Bible. A loving family with uninterrupted communion with Himself, enjoying His presence forever.
We come full circle, back to Eden, with all detractors and distractions eliminated.
Sigh (of relief and joy).
There is much in this chapter about life and water and eating. Only one place in all of Scripture do we find eternal life actually defined, and it is in John 17:3 where Jesus declares it to be knowing God and Himself. “Knowing” in the biblical sense, if you will. In the new Eden we will finally be able to see God fully. We will be able to handle God’s face shining upon us without its holy radiance blasting us into obliteration. We shall see Him as He truly is, without any veil, and enjoy His naked, unmediated presence without restraint.
Here in this life as we now know it, there is much that clouds our view and draws our attention away from fellowship with our Creator, which is why it requires significant effort to deeply enjoy God’s presence. The good news, quite literally, is that since the resurrection of Jesus, humanity has indeed been able to enjoy God’s presence as never before that event, for we may partake of it uniquely through the risen Jesus.
Although God’s final kingdom was in fact inaugurated by Jesus, it has not yet crystallized into its final form. By God’s divine wisdom and appointment, He chose to spread His kingdom thru Jesus and a handful of women and men, region by region, all over the globe, even to this day, while not eliminating evil forces all together until the appointed time.
Therefore we needs must remind each other daily of the truth that we are indeed clothed with power from on high, that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, able to overcome the wicked one and his followers thru the blood of the Lamb, and that it requires a special effort on our part to live in the energy beam of that grace and power due to accursed forces still at work deceiving us into thinking we are powerless until they are eliminated in the end.
This takes us back to the main thrust of John’s message and charge to us all who read and hear this letter: to remain faithful witnesses to the truth of the Lordship of Jesus, even if our environment is hostile to that witness, for God wins and is winning no matter how drastically the enemy distorts the picture of reality to make it look like God is losing.
God’s team wins. Choose your team. Don’t be stupid.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!!