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March 25, 2022 12:01 am
The book of Revelation concludes with a promise: Our Lord Jesus will soon return to make all things new. Today, W. Robert Godfrey provides an encouraging summary of Revelation's final message to us.
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Renewing your blood were going to look at the last chapter of Revelation. So here we have this glorious picture of final judgment and final glory of final ending controllers were coded in opposition to God. And the final provision for God's people of a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. This weekend whether Jeffrey is guided is through the book of Revelation. These clearly confusion about certain passages and explain some of the mysterious images and creatures we see depicted as we wrap up our study today. Dr. Godfrey provides an encouraging summary of revelations final message to us what we come now to the last part of the last episode of the last cycle and that it's it's a beautiful picture of the life in the city of the cities arrived, the city's been described. We've been told about God's presence in the city. We've been told about the glory of the city and now in chapter 22 verse one we hear about the life in the city. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, brightness, crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. Also, on either side of the river.
The tree of life with its 12 kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations no longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him they will see his face and his name will be on their forehead and night will be no more. They will need no lights of lamp or sun for the Lord God will be there light and they will reign forever and ever. Here, in contrast with the fate of the wicked to be in torment forever and ever. Here are the saints to reign forever and ever in the city where the life is so beautifully pictured again in its symbols. We see that because the one tree of life is on both sides of the river that has to be assembled or can't be literally true, but how glorious it is this this picture of the throne of God and the water of life in the tree of life surrounding the people of God and providing them with life so many images from the history of God's people being pulled together to speak of the abundance of life, the beauty of life. The blessing of life in particular course allusion is being made here again to Ezekiel to Ezekiel 47 square. The prophet had looked forward to a day and he sees on the banks on both sides of the river there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month because the water from them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.
So it's amazing to me how much John has in his mind of the Scriptures of the Old Testament and seems just to be able to tell Marshall and now we know this is the revelation of God we know is in the spirit but I don't think the spirit is giving them these ideas just randomly I think these are things John knew in his head, and are are brought to bear beautifully on the vision that he sees of life in the city and they brought my mind to another beautiful picture in the Psalms of the tree of life. In Psalm 92 Psalm 92 is the Psalm for the Sabbath.
It's the Psalm for the day of rest, the Sabbath is a day we rest from our own works and rest of the work of God and of that vision of Sabbath rest has in it.
These words the righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age they are ever full of sap and green to declare that the Lord is upright, he is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in him. So over and over again in the Scripture, a tree can symbolize life instability and fruitfulness and it's a beautiful picture here that is given us of water precious in an arid region like the near East, and of plenteous food.
Also precious in an area of scarcity. So here is a picture of lights and of life and of worship.
People gathered to worship God fulfilled in the worship of God in the presence of God as God is infinitely beautiful and wonderful.
So we will never tire of our fellowship with him. We as finite creatures will always have more that we can experience in the infinite God and that's represented to us here symbolically. So here we have at the close of cycle seven. This glorious picture of final judgment and final glory of final ending tall. It is wicked and in opposition to God. And the final provision for God's people of a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
So we've we've traveled through the book of Revelation.
We both seen the cycles of the way in which the spirit speaks to the people of God to try to encourage them and prepare them for the life they are called to live and then we come finally to the conclusion of the book as we found the introduction to the book was brief, just three verses, so this conclusion is relatively brief.
A little longer. 15 versus and just so you won't be disappointed. This conclusion is arranged as a chiasm. So you know I did want to go out a low note regarding a high note and the now most of the chiasm's we've been seeing have been seven part chiasm's but there's no necessity of a chiasm sub seven parts that you have three that can help. Five. They can have seven more and so here we have a chiasm where the conclusion begins with promise and blessing and it ends with promise and blessing and then following promise and blessing. It has a warning and then before turning to promise a blessing at the end, it has another one, and in the center at the peak of the chiasm of the peak of the pyramid. We have an appeal and I think what's valuable in seeing that is that, again, the appeal is really central.
The appeal is really crucial. The appeal is critical for what the conclusion hopes to accomplish.
And so that's we want to take a look at and appreciate. So first, the opening promise a blessing to versus any said to me, these words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. Behold I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book, there is the promise of Jesus.
I'm coming, I'm coming for sure. I'm coming soon so pay attention. I prepared you.
That's the promise. That's the blessing, wonderful thing to see their and then he goes on with the warning. A longer warning versus a eight through 16 I John I'm the one who heard and saw these things when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.
But he said to me, you must not do that. I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book, worship God, and he said to me do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil and the filthy still be filthy in the righteous still do right in the holy still be holy. Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me to repay each one for what he is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and that they may enter the city by the gates outside are the dogs and sorcerers, the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I Jesus have sent my angel to testify do about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendent of David, the bright morning star how do you react to that will one reaction might be, when we heard all that before. And the answer is yes.
John is good preacher. He knows there's a value to repeating things people don't always hear the first time you say so he's saying it again and the message that he is conveying is really a very clear what is in it worship God for him to summarize the book. There is not a bad summary worship God be holy avoid the judgment trust Jesus to be Savior here at the end were not face a lot of symbols were get straight talk and the straight talk is worship God faithfully God alone follow him faithfully as a holy people, avoiding the sins that been talked about in this book avoid the judgment that is to come on the wicked and instead find your life. Your hope in Jesus, who is the root the descendent of David, the bright morning star. So this is a warning that really recapitulates so many of the themes that we have seen the end and looked out as we've gone along in the book and John did not want us to miss that at the end and then the appeal verse 17. Here's the here's the center of the heart of the conclusion. The spirit and the bride say, come. And let the one who hears say, come.
And let the one who is thirsty come let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Now, at first glance, maybe when we start to reverse 17 maybe we think were already praying come quickly, Lord Jesus, we may think this word column is directed to Jesus, but it's not it's directed to the world.
This is the great concluding evangelistic call of the book.
As I said as we went through the book. Most of the time the world of Revelation seems sealed in the believers and unbelievers are none seem much movement back and forth and that's because were looking at the reality that the church is experiencing most of the time, but here at the end were reminded by John and reminded by the inspiration of the spirit that we are called to an evangelistic task in this world. We do hope for the conversion of sinners, the conversion of sinners does take place in this world. That's why history goes on, that the elect may be converted, and it's a beautiful and a tender appeal.
The spirit that is the Holy Spirit of God and the bride, that is to say the whole Church of Christ unites and appealing to the world calm in spite of all the opposition in spite of all the suffering that the Saints have sustained at the hands of the world they still stretch out their arms and say calm. Calm.
Why will you perish and let the one who is thirsty, come let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Not beautiful.
It's it's a lot like Jesus saying Matthew 11 doesn't come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, I will give you rest. It's without price Jesus paid the price so that the many can be called to come know we could kind of rush over that appeal if we didn't see the chiasm and maybe are hoping soon to be freed of having to see chiasm's or maybe Oklahoma dream of chiasm's but this this appeal is truly central. It's not incidental it's highlighted here so that we will recognize how important this is to the book and to John and to the church and to the spirit and then we go on to another warning verses 18 and 19.
I warning everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. This is very serious warning, highlighting the seriousness of treating the revelation of God. And while it applies specifically, just to the book of the Revelation it is part of a broader notion about the revelation that God gives to his people, and particularly to the revelation of his covenant relationship. This is said in Deuteronomy as well. You mustn't dare add to God's covenant or dare take away from God's covenant. Who would have the authority to tamper with God's word and this is a very serious warning and it's interesting that it parallels. This warning about faithful worship and and faithful living and trusting in Jesus is really saying keeping the Bible intact, is right on a level with all of these other critical things about worshiping God correctly and following in his path correctly and believing in Jesus correctly so I hear clearly the importance of the word of God is highlighted for us and we have to take that with great seriousness as well and then we come to the very last words. The last words of promise and blessing. He who testifies to these things says, surely I am coming soon. Amen, Lord Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. A man so here is the promise that is coming. Here's the prayer that he will come and then here is the promise of blessing and a waterway to conclude and to say he's coming soon is coming soon is coming soon. Know the longest any of us will have the wages 70, 80, 90 years, but the church is assured that is coming soon. No already in Peter's day one of the questions actually was about that a thousand years is mentioned two other places in the Bible one since our computer once in Psalm 90 of both of which are making the point that a thousand years for the Lord is but a day past, and Peter makes the point so don't think that he slowing coming because he hasn't come yet because of thousand years is only as a day for him so he's coming soon it's true.
And when he comes, will say it's amazing you came so soon we were expecting it and so we come to the end of the book. It's really quite a marvelous book, but in my approach, we end up with a lot of conclusions that we are a kind of new. We are to be faithful.
Jesus is coming again. He'll save his own by faith, we should only worship God will be a judgment on the wicked.
If those of the points. The book is making.
Why did it have to be so complicated.
How can we answer that what I think we need to ponder that a minute because it's important.
I think it's important because what this book says to us, among other things, is slow down what you're reading ponder, think, reflect, connect all trees world so I read about trees need to think about water well so I think about water crowns weren't so I read about crowns.
This this is a call to slow down to meditate and thereby to grow. It's also I think a reminder that God delights to communicate to us in a variety of ways are not all the Bible is the book of Romans. The book of Romans is pretty straightforward. We read in verse by verse.
The truth is unfolding as we go. Verse by verse and for some of us.
That's the easiest way for us to learn but other people were not so much in this for the propositional teaching as by powerful mental images or by poultry and and God is revealing himself and in different ways so as to speak to us who think differently and and maybe those of us who would rather have it all propositional answer to me. Need to get shaken up to be a little more poetic in our lives and in the process God has communicated his truth in particularly vivid, memorable, and arresting ways. So when we think of the beast. We are helped to remember how personal and savage. The opposition is that we face or if you agree with me about the thousand years. When we hear the thousand years.
We can smile and think we've got time.
We got time to do the Lord's work. So these images are arresting in ways that are memorable and really help us then to bear in mind to keep in mind what God is saying to us of the end of the seven cycle was the blessing of knowing final judgment is coming but final blessing is coming as well. That's a big part of the book as a whole and as we think the end of the conclusion of the book. I think God is saying to us in this book God is more glorious than you think life is not what you see. Life is not even what you think.
It's always better.
God is more glorious. Sin is more serious evil is more powerful suffering is greater time is shorter. And Jesus is stronger and so it's a it's a beautiful book. It's an encouraging book and so I hope you'll be convinced. Whatever else that we shouldn't treat it as a puzzle book or at least not just as a puzzle. It's all book of pastoral encouragement that we might be faithful that we might persevere that we might conquer in faith, knowing Jesus is coming again soon.
I love the way Dr. Godfrey ramped up his message today and it bears repeating.
Doesn't it. God is more glorious than you think life is not what you see. Life is not even what you think. It's always better. God is more glorious. Sin is more serious evil is more powerful suffering is greater time is shorter.
And Jesus is stronger.
I hope you've enjoyed Dr. Robert Guthrie series on the book of Revelation we featured it this week on Renewing Your Mind and were glad you could be with us today because of what God revealed to the apostle John we as believers have hope for the future. That's why Dr. Guthrie series is titled blessed hope, we like to send you this full series is contained on three DVDs nearly 9 hours of teaching will help you understand and appreciate the book of Revelation. Simply contact us with your donation of any amount to look at her ministries and we will send it your way there a couple of ways you can reach us to make a request.
One is email@example.com or if you prefer you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. Will studying the book of Revelation always brings up the question of when will all these events take place in every generation it seems the question is asked, are we living in the last days.
My colleague Nathan W. Bingham put that question to Dr. Godfrey. Yes, we are living in the last days John in his first epistle said we are living in the last days so the last days are the days from the ascension of Christ to his glorious return.
So we are definitely in the last days how close we are to the end of the last days is what people really want to know, and I can't help what what I can tell them is a historian is one ever in the last 2000 years, Christians have found themselves in times of distress, of famine of war of cultural change of collapse of the rampant immorality of depression they been convinced are at the very end sometime. One of them will be right and we will be at the very end. But I'd I don't think the Lord calls us to behave like millwrights to remember the millwrights I did out of the millwrights followed a farmer in Western New York in the early part of the 19th century use of the Lord is returning any minute and sell all your possessions and go and sit on the top of your roofs and wait and there were people who did that and it led to what is known in church history is the great disappointment, the Lord did not return and I don't think the Lord calls us to wait and that way he calls us to wait in faith working for him until the last moment, there's the great story. Regrettably, probably apocryphal, where Luther was asked what would you do today if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow and Luther is its claim to set I'd plant in Appletree today. Luther probably didn't really say that but is very much of the spirit of Luther. That's what might well have said, we live our life until the Lord returns will be surprised when he returns. He told us that, and what he wants us to be as faithful until he returns. In all the callings to which were called in this life and so, things are traumatic and difficult right now in a whole series of ways, but the Lord calls us to be patient and faithful.
We appreciate Dr. Godfrey study of the book of Revelation this week and we hope you make plans to be with us next week as we featured Dr. RC Sproul series on atheism atheist say that religion is constructed to meet deep psychological needs. RC turns the tables by showing their psychological need to reject God. We hope you'll join us. Beginning Monday here on Renewing Your Mind