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March 05th, 2021
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gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

After a nine-month study of the Book of Revelation, today we reach the final chapter. Four times we hear during the visions of end times, “‘Behold, I come quickly’”. The words indicate more than a timeframe; they reveal the suddenness of Jesus’ imminent return. 

Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus came unexpectedly, as did God the Father and his messengers before Jesus’ birth. Daily life would be going along, when suddenly, the unexpected burst on the scene: Noah’s instructions for an ark (Genesis 6); Abram’s vision of a son in his old age (Genesis 15); Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3); the angel’s appearance to Mary in Luke chapter 1 and Joseph’s dream, Matthew chapter 1. Even after his resurrection, Jesus appeared without warning several times to groups of believers, and continues to do that for us. 

As we heard from the throne in the New Jerusalem, “‘these words are faithful and true’” (Revelation 21:5). All the accounts of end times, and the revelation of God through history, will come to pass. There are at least four principles of prophecy to remember - what is said is true; signs of the times will appear to each generation and all must be ready; though we haven’t seen the second coming yet, it is nearer than before; and none should be surprised at the suddenness of prophecy’s fulfillment. 

Before the fulfillment of all prophecy, each generation will suffer great and catastrophic events. The earth struggles, nations rage, mankind seems to have gone crazy. All of this John saw in the visions on Patmos long ago. But he knew these disturbing times are not the last word. John’s first verse in his Gospel read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus is the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

There’s yet another interlude in chapter 22, where John for the second time falls down at the feet of an angel. Again he’s told, “‘“Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”’” While it’s understandable that his response was adoration and awe at overwhelming scenes, in both instances John is warned against elevating angels. 

There are a number of quotations in this chapter, and at times it seems difficult to distinguish who is speaking. That also makes sense, as God’s Word is cohesive and consistent. And unlike Daniel, who was warned, “‘…seal up the book until the end of time’” (Daniel 12:4), John is instructed, “‘“Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book for the time is near”’” (Revelation 22:10). 

The words are sobering, however. “‘“Let the one who does wrong still do wrong, and the one who is filthy still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous still practice righteousness, and the one who is holy still keep himself holy”’” (verse 11). The tense is aorist imperative – a fixed state indicating the probation period is over. The suddenness of Christ's return means that as things are, they will remain. He will come at the last not as Savior but as Judge. 

The last words of Jesus are, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to reward each one as his work deserves. I am the Alpha & the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life, and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs [unclean persons, practitioners of vulgar and indecent immoralities], the sorcerers, the sexually immoral persons, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying” (verses 12-16). 

The last words of the Spirit and the Bride (verses 17) bring blessed hope, that now is the time for all who are thirsty to come and take water without cost. In the final words of John, he offers a benediction (verses 18, 19 and 21). “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

Verse 20 is the best news we’ll find in the Bible. “‘He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’” The bottom line is Christ will return. Right now, there’s a frosted glass between what we can see and what lies on the other side. Getting there happens to all, and death may have an ominous sound. But when Christ calls our name, all fear will be gone for all who have accepted him as Friend and Savior. 

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to learn more and share this book study. Next week we plan to begin a series about people in the Old and New Testaments, and others, on their faith journey. May God bless his Word.

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