#26 The Final Chapter
December 27, 2005
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
(Revelation 19: 11-16)
I follow one of those reading plans. You know the one. Read through the Bible in one year. As Christmas Day dawned, it was time to begin the Book of Revelation. At first there doesn't seem to be a connection, but I actually find it not so ironic or coincidental.
I figured that I'd better get out my Bible commentary and end times books so that I could understand what we believe to be the most difficult book of the Bible. I went through a time about a year ago, when I read and studied everything I could get my hands on about this book and the time of the end. But as I was about to gather my things, I stopped and decided to just read GOD'S word, and ask Him to show me what He wanted to. I want to share with you what He showed me.
We have just spent weeks preparing for Christmas Day. Buying the perfect gift, trimming the tree, baking and entertaining. Love and goodwill abounding - family gatherings, Christmas carols and our problems set aside for just a little while. Hopefully we fit thoughts of Jesus in there somewhere. Assuming that we did, we focused on the birth of our Savior. Emmanuel...God with us. The baby born to a virgin, in a stable - receiving shepherds as visitors. But it's over now. We need to remember that what we celebrated was just the beginning of the story.
We will ring in the new year this coming weekend, and the trees and decorations will come down. Life will be back to normal again and we will experience the dreary days of January and February as we look forward to spring. I pray that we can hold on to some of that Christmas love and cheer as we move forward into 2006. But sadly, most of our 365 days are spent in the everyday stuff of life. The Christmas joy wears off, life happens. So what can we hang onto to keep that hope and joy of Christmas alive? Back to Revelation....I fight the urge to figure it all out. When will it happen....how will it happen? Is it happening now? Figurative or literal? And what does it mean for me?
First, I think it means that I am to read the book of Revelation. Chapter One tells me that I will be blessed if I do. (Revelation 1:3) Who doesn't want to be blessed!! This same verse tells me to take it to heart and believe it, because the time is near.
Second, living in the light of this knowledge, I am to be ready. Jesus will come like a thief and I will again be blessed (boy, I like this blessing stuff) if I stay awake and keep my clothes with me so that I may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." (Revelation 16:15) I must be prepared and be living right!
Third, I am to live by faith that my Bible is true. Like a novel, the final chapter is the culmination of it all. And my Bible tells me that the Babe in the manger lived, died and rose again. He is alive right now and preparing for the final chapter. One day soon, God will say, "That's enough!" and Jesus will mount that white horse and ride for the final victory over death, the devil, hell and the grave. It will be like nothing that has ever been known before. The Babe will be the The King of Kings. The Child lost in the temple will be the Lord of Lords. The meek and gentle Lamb on the cross will ride out victorious as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. And the devil will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur and he and his minions will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
God Himself will live with us and we with Him. The tears I am crying now will be wiped away by Jesus' hand. The loss I experience in the coming year will not even be a memory because there will be no death or mourning. My aching joints and the pain that I see others suffer will be gone -- no pain!! The way things are today will not be -- the old order of things will pass away . (See Revelation 21: 3-4) There will be no evil, no sin, nothing impure, shameful or deceitful. (Revelation 21:27 and 22:15)
Don't be afraid to read Revelation. Don't worry about understanding it all. Drink in the truth of it. Believe it. Be blessed by it. Look forward to it. See the connection? The infant born to be King and reign victorious. The babe-the Alpha. The King - the Omega. The First...the Last. The Beginning...the End. The Hope to hang onto no matter what we will face in 2006 and beyond. The world today appears to be out of control. Satan appears to be in charge. Our lives appear to be going wild at times. But the promise is at the end of the book. The King of Kings is in control. The Lord of Lords is in charge. Right now....not only later...right now!! Our lives may be a wild ride but Jesus says, "I am coming soon." (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20) We don't need to know every detail. We just need to know that truth...we need to know The Truth. Amen, Come Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)
May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year,