Today is the final day of our reading through the New Testament, and what a way to finish. The concluding chapters of Revelation may reveal how this world will end, but it also shows us the beginning of what will be our future for all eternity.
There are more judgments in these chapters, which give further exclamation to the point Andy and Tim have made in the last couple of posts; that God’s judgment and wrath displayed in these end time events are both right and deserved. One these judgments, which I read this morning while I was at the beach, was,
“3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died. (Rev 16:3)
I read that while I was watching the tide come in. It’s easy to read that and think, “What did the little fishies do to deserve God’s wrath?…why is there such destruction in these end times events?” These questions come from a place that misunderstands two things…..the vileness of sin and the glory of God. God created Earth as a place of perfection; but it was sin which destroyed it. And the destruction of creation caused by sin is pervasive. Every person, every creature, every mountain, every ocean is touched and affected by man’s depraved nature. The moment Adam and Eve sinned, the proverbial “clock” began ticking toward the events described in Revelation. In fact, creation knows that it is hopelessly affected by sin, and is waiting for these end times events, that will usher in a new heaven and new earth. Paul speaks of creation’s expectation in Romans 8.
19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Rom. 8:19-22)
We are also reminded in these chapters of the danger of getting lured by the pleasures of this world. The “world”, depicted by the woman on the beast in chapters 17 and 18, is called the great city of Babylon. Many are they who fall victim to her enticing allures, but at one point a voice from heaven calls for the church to come out of her:
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues; (Rev 18:4)
These passages should be a reminder to us that the church is to be different from the world. We belong to another; a great King. And this great King holds not only our existence, but the very existence of all of creation in the palm of His hands, and He is directing not only our days now, but will sovereignly unpack these end times events according to His perfect plan. Even the evil characters in these chapters are pawns in His unfolding of these future events. At one point, Babylon is destroyed by “the beast with ten horns”, and we see God at the helm of that event as well, literally directing the thought patterns of the beast,
16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled. (Rev 17:16-17)
God is accomplishing His purpose…..not a bad summary to the book of Revelation. God created the world. We messed up the world with our sin. God had a plan to redeem His people from their sin by sending His Son as an atoning sacrifice. And God will re-create in the end and usher in an eternity free from the presence of sin. That’s the Gospel. That’s the Good News…that God is “accomplishing His purposes”. Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation.
And we, the redeemed, await this glorious consummation!
Thanks – I want to thank Kevin Sanders, Andy Koehler, Joe McBee, and Tim Sherwood for their hard work in crafting their posts throughout these 40 days. It has been a joy and a pleasure to read the insights of these godly men, and this endeavor of reading and blogging through the New Testament would not have been possible were it not for their contributions. Thanks guys. And, thank you for reading. We encourage you to continue daily reading God’s Word. Don’t let your appetite for His Word be spoiled just because these 40 days are over. Keep reading. We use a suggested reading plan on our website, but regardless of what you use, we encourage you to feast on His Word daily.