How Does The Bible End? #370
Hello friends, and happy New Year’s Eve. We have made it to the final, final countdown – this is it…the last episode of the year! This is the last day of 2020, and boy what a year it has been! I want to think all of you – each and every one – for being with us this year. I hope this podcast has been a blessing and encouragement to you in 2020. I know for me, it has been amazingly helpful to read the Word of God every day and think about it, and talk about it. Initially, I had decided to do one year of daily podcasting, and only one year. Even this has been very beneficial for me personally, and I’ve been happy with how many people the show has reached – there’s no question that doing a daily podcast has been somewhat grueling, at least from time to time. On average, I think I’ve spent more than two hours a day, probably over 2.5 hours a day – EVERY day – on the pod, and that can add up. But here’s the thing – I never really got to a place where I was just done and tired of it. It’s definitely been work from time to time, but it has been more refreshment than travail, if that makes any sense. I attribute that to the supernatural power of the Word of God.
With that said, as I’ve mentioned over the past few days, I believe we will continue into 2021 with a daily Bible-focused podcast. The name will change, the format will be a bit different and the length will probably be shorter, but the focus won’t change. So, please stay tuned, and allow it to develop over the next month or so. January will be a time of tinkering and finding a rhythm. More on that tomorrow…for today, we will read 2nd Chronicles 36, Malachi 4, John 21, and Revelation 22. If you’ve listened to every episode, I would so love to hear from you! If you have, you’ve read the Old Testament once, Psalms twice, and the New Testament twice in one year – a big accomplishment!
Our Big Bible question today is all focused on Revelation 22, but first let me briefly highlight a one verse from the other readings. From the last chapter of the Old Testament, a wonderful promise from Malachi 4:
2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall.
Amen to that! Today we ask the question, how does the Bible end, and we find the answer in the last chapter of Revelation, chapter 22. Let’s read that wonderful chapter, and consider all the things we learn.
So I see Five big things in this chapter:
#1 – The eternal dwelling for the people of God will be in the New Jerusalem, which appears to be united with the new earth. In that place, there will NO LONGER BE ANY CURSE. No death. No pain. No anxiety, depression, turmoil, etc. No need for artificial light, and God Himself will be with His people – visible and tangible. This is unimaginably awesome! So, first the Bible ends with an incredible and amazing HOPE to look forward to.
#2 Upon the return of Jesus, there will be those who are on the inside of the city, with Jesus, and those on the outside. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, insider privilege is not based on wealth, fame, looks, power, or birthright, but upon grace and faith alone. Those who are washed in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, and made clean will live eternally in the presence of God. Those who persist in their sin and reject the King of Kings will be outside eternally. This is sobering. So, secondly, the Bible ends with a DIVISION between those who are in Christ, and those who are outside of Christ.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
#3 The Word of God is NOT to be added to, or subtracted from. Human beings do not have the power, nor the authority, nor the wisdom to pick and choose from the truths of the Bible. There is a strong warning – with terrifying consequences – in Revelation to neither add more to ultimate truth, nor obscure or take away from it. The WHOLE counsel of God is His Word, and we must neither ignore parts of it that might be unpalatable for us, nor must we add our own thoughts and values to it. Thirdly, therefore, we see that the Bible ends with a fully loaded WARNING.
18 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. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.
#4 Justice, at its most basic, is giving people what they deserve, for good or for ill. In a sense, the Kingdom of God is built on mercy, in that we would all be destroyed if we truly got what we deserved. However, because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we don’t have to, and that dynamic apparently paves the way for some type of eternal and heavenly reward to be given to those who have used their life well in the service of Jesus. Let me be clear on that last sentence – I’m not saying that pastors or full time ministers will have an advantage in this regard. Any and all, no matter their profession, can give their life well in the service of Jesus, and a life lived in such a way – seeking first the Kingdom of God, rather than seeking first the kingdoms of this world – will be eternally rewarded. Thus, the Bible ends with an expectation of graceful justice and a REWARD to be given to those who have worked for it, in Christ.
12 “Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to repay each person according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
#5 Jesus is coming soon. This promise appears THREE times in this last chapter, so obviously it is very, very important. We remember from 1 Peter that our definition of ‘soon,’ and God’s definition might be a little different…or a lot different, but His return is sure and certain and promised. He is coming, and this is wonderful. Finally, then, the Bible ends with a PROMISE of RETURN for us to hope in and wait for!
20 He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
What does the Bible end with? Hope, division, warning, reward and return!
May the Lord grant you an amazing 2021, and may He quickly rescue us from all of the evil and trouble that we first experienced in 2020. Lord willing, we’ll see you next year!