Today’s Reading: Revelation 20-22
Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. – Rev. 20:4-6
There is little information on what the 1000 years will look like and much disagreement among believers on the order in which all of this will take place. What we can take from this passage for certain is that God rewards those who remain faithful during even the worst of persecutions and trials. The difficult times we endure do not go unnoticed by God, nor are they forgotten. In the same way, those who do evil and who do not remain faithful are also noticed by God.
When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations – called Gog and Magog – in every corner of the earth. He will gather together for battle – a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.
Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:7-15
We serve a just God who deals accordingly with sin. Those who remain rebellious and unrepentant will suffer the consequences of their choices. Rebellion against God does not go unnoticed. God deals sternly with sin. Those who reject what Christ did for them when he died on the cross so they could receive salvation will experience another kind of rejection on the day of final judgment. Those who want to share in everything this world and Satan have to offer will also share the same fate – the eternal lake of fire.
Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen and understand. – Matthew 13:40-43
Now read this beautiful description of what it will be like when the presence of evil and sin are removed and Christ reigns victoriously! Can you picture it? I encourage you to read the following verses aloud and let the joy of these truths wash over you.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever!”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!…It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” – Rev. 21:1-7
The God of Creation, who existed before the world began and has always existed, is also the God of the End of life as we know it and the God of everything in between. He has plans for our life we cannot fathom and He has a new heaven waiting for us that is beyond what these words can even describe:
The New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God and sparkle like a precious stone. The city walls are made of jasper and the city of pure gold, as clear as glass. There will be beautiful stones of various colors making up the foundation of the city and the gates will be made of pearls. The main street going through the New Jerusalem will be made of pure gold.
I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of the day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty – but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. – Rev. 21:22-27
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there – no need for lamps or sun – for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. – Rev. 22:1-5
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” – Rev. 22:7
“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” – Rev. 22:12
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. – Rev. 22:17
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. – Rev. 22:20-21
Revelation has always been a difficult book for me to study but I have never doubted the truth in its words. I do not have a full understanding of what the final days will look like but I do have faith that God will do exactly what He said He will do. In 2016, the reality of that truth became very real when my mother passed through death to life before Jesus sent her back so He can complete everything He wants to do through her. God allowed my mother to see and hear the torture of Hell before everything went white and Jesus Himself stood before her.
The rest of my mother’s story will be shared tomorrow in my New Year’s Eve blog. Thank you for all who have journeyed with me from Genesis to Revelation this year. On Monday, I will begin another 365-day walk through the Bible. I invite you to join me again. I am asking God to give me new perspective as I study His word over the next 12 months, although much of this 365-day devotional might look the same as last year. Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to continue to spend time in God’s word everyday. Allow His presence to do a work in your heart as He speaks to you through His written Word.