December 24

Revelation 21-22, Psalm 48

In Skip Heitzig's book, "You Can Understand the Book Of Revelation", his conclusion serves us well who are now finishing the One Year Bible Challenge which started on January 1st. On page 235 of his book, he writes, "The final chapter of the Bible brings God's book full circle. Scripture begins in a garden and ends in a city with a garden-like environment. Genesis 1 describes the creation of the heavens and the earth, while Revelation 22 sees God creating a new heaven and a new earth, In the beginning, God distinguished the day from the night; at the end, there is no night, only light. In Genesis 3, the curse is pronounced; in Revelation 22, the curse is removed. In Genesis 3, man is driven from the tree of life and the paradise of God; in Revelation 22, the tree of life is restored in the paradise of the New Jerusalem. In other words, what Adam lost, Christ regained...and then some."

We get a picture of the beauty and peace in store for those who have overcome the world system and have put their trust in Jesus. In Revelation 21:4, we read, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." What a beautiful promise, especially to those if us who are getting a bit older and our earthly tents are beginning to feel the wear and tear of the years. We are then introduced to the New Jerusalem with descriptions of beauty which are difficult to completely take in. We read in 21:21, "The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass." This is where they get the term, "the pearly gates". For those who put their trust in gold and the treasures that this world offers, realize that in heaven, gold will be the asphalt for the roads. We read in Revelation 22:3-5, "And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads....And they shall reign forever and ever." Though Moses desired to see God's face and was only permitted a glimpse of God's afterglow, in heaven we will see God face to face. The offer is clearly stated in 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." God in His mercy and grace has left the door open to anyone who desires to enter into a relationship with Him. We determine our future, it can't be easier. For those who desire, come to Jesus, and take the water of life freely. To those who reject His free offer of salvation, there will be no excuse.

With this ending in mind, how should we live our lives. There are so many distractions that try to take us off course. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it for a perishable crown, but we for an unperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." Many say they are afraid that heaven will be boring, sitting on clouds and playing harps. Nothing could be further from the truth. God knows how to give us pleasure more than we do. What He has in store for those who trust in His Son is beyond our current comprehension. With this in mind, and with the reality of the alternative outcome just as real, may we spend our time while on this earth serving Him for His glory, and sharing this amazing hope with any who will listen.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster