Saturday, March 9, 2024

Morning Message: Epilogue - Called to Peace

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Epilogue - Called to Peace"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Bible is a unique volume of Books, yet all 66 Books have a central theme. Regardless of the 40 individual scribes and prophets whose words are recorded, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (from 2 Timothy 3:16). This “instruction in righteousness” is the righteousness of Christ, pointing all to our Redeemer, Savior, Messiah, Jesus Christ is the central theme.

In 1 Kings 19:9-12, the Prophet Elijah had a heavy heart because of the state of God’s Chosen People. And when God spoke to him, His voice came not in a strong wind, nor from a subsequent earthquake, nor from the fire that followed the earthquake. But after the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, there was a stillness as Elijah sought the voice of the Lord. The voice was quiet, and small as it spoke to the Prophet. The voice was from within himself. It was not the booming voice of Judgment, but that still, that small voice within Elijah’s own heart, for God reigned in the Prophet’s heart. The voice asked Elijah a question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The man had sought the safety of a cave on Mt. Horeb as the storms approached. He was hiding though, not performing the role of a Prophet of God, neither teaching, nor warning.

God’s people had been in rebellion. The storms were perhaps judgment against them, but Elijah was now speaking with God in the aftermath. Elijah heard the voice of God’s Holy Spirit, and it was still and small, and comforting.

That is the voice of the Holy Spirit, bringing reproof, and correction, and then instruction to His Believers. The Bible’s Books accomplish all those things as they point Jew and Gentile alike to the personhood of Jesus Christ.

We are at the Epilogue of the Book of Revelation. The havoc has passed; the Beast, the False Prophet, and Satan too have been cast into the Lake of Fire, along with all those that followed his pernicious ways.

“Old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning Audio Message:
Revelation 21:1-8 - "Epilogue - Called to Peace"

Summary/Additional Bible Notes:  

From the time described midway through Genesis chapter 3 until the events of Revelation 20, earth experienced—is experiencing—the presence of sin and death. At the end of Revelation chapter 20, John sees God delivering the final and ultimate judgment on Satan, casting all evil into the lake of fire. At that point, creation will finally be free from everything wicked, and what follows is a description of a remade, restored earth.

When the smoke clears following God's final punishment of the wicked, earth as we know it will be no more.  John records in chapters 21-22 the startling revelation of the city of God and the beginning of the eternal state.  Paradise was lost in the Garden of Eden when Adam sinned (Genesis 3).  Paradise is regained when God makes all things new (Revelation 21-22). God will create a new universe to be the eternal dwelling place of the redeemed.  

Following the great white throne judgment of chapter 20, John sees a new heaven and a new earth. Scholars debate whether this means that all of creation will be destroyed and re-made, or that God will re-condition creation. The terminology used seems to suggest a new creation. John sees the new city of Jerusalem descending onto the earth, and voices celebrating the restored relationship between God and man. In particular, John hears the voice from the throne declare an end to suffering, pain, and death for all of eternity. At the same time, John hears a reminder that sin, and those who chose it over God, are condemned to the "second death" of hell (Revelation 21:1–8).

Verses 1-8 appear to offer us a brief summary of what is described in more detail in the remainder of chapters 21-22. John sees a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem. The Greek word John uses for “new” is kainos, which means 
recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn, a new kind, unprecedented, unheard of.

One way of understanding the structure of these final chapters is to see this whole segment (vv. 1-8) as an outline or summary of the remaining portion of the book.

For example:
  • In verse 2 we see the New Jerusalem, explained more fully in Rev. 21:9-21.
  • In verse 3 we see that God dwells among men, described in more detail in Rev. 21:22-27.
  • In verse 5 we see the renewal of the world, for which we are provided more information in Rev. 22:1-5.
  • In verse 5 we also see, “These words are faithful and true,” which is expanded upon in Rev. 22:6-10.
  • In verse 6 we see Jesus declare His work completed, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega,” more fully revealed in Rev. 22:11-15.
  • In verses 6-7 we see a final blessing, the water of life to all who thirst, expanded upon in Rev. 22:16-17.
  • And in verse 8 we see the final curse upon the rebellious, repeated in Rev. 22:18-19.
Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

A New Heaven and A New Earth (21:1) - The entire universe as we now know it will be destroyed and be replaced by a new creation that will last forever.  This is an Old Testament teaching as well as a New Testament one. In 2 Peter 3:13, God promised that a new heavens and earth would come in which would dwell perfect righteousness.  Jesus claimed the very same in Matthew 24:3. The heavens and earth, which, like the first, would be "made" as well as "created" (compare Genesis 2:3 with Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22), would never pass away. "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain" (Isaiah 66:22). 

No More Sea (21:1) - Currently three-fourths of the earth's surface is water, but the new environment will no longer be water-based and will have completely different climatic conditions (see 22:1-2).  There will be water on the new earth (Revelation 22:1-2) of which the water of the present age is only a type and prophecy.  That water is the water of everlasting life.

The Tabernacle of God (21:3) - The word translated "tabernacle" means place of abode.  This is God's house, the place where He lives. The word for "tabernacle" in the Old Testament (Hebrew mishkan) is a cognate to its Greek equivalent (skene).  The well-known term for the glory-cloud that filled the tabernacle, the Shekinah, developed from a related word, Sheken, meaning "habitation" (Deuteronomy 12:5). 

Wipe Away Every Tear (21:4) - The curse (sorrow, pain, sweat and death) that God pronounced on the earth and its inhabitants when Adam sinned (Genesis 3:17-19) is gone.  This great deliverance has been purchased dearly, at the cost of infinite sorrow, pain, sweating and dying on the part of God Himself, through Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of man.  There will be no more pain or sorrow or tears ever again, and death is swallowed up in victory.  

All Things New (21:5) - Not some things, but ALL things. Not only will everything be made new, but also everything will then stay new.  No more corruption or decay. 

True And Faithful (21:5) - John is instructed to write that "these words are true and faithful".  Here is the full assurance of God Himself who is faithful and true.  The One who sits upon the throne is Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the beginning and the end (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12).  God started history, and He will end it.  Everything in between, and in the future is according to His sovereign plan.  Every detail of His Word in prophecy, has been tested and found true. Because God is true, every word He speaks is true. 

Water of Life (21:6) - This refers to the lasting spiritual water of which Jesus spoke, the conversation at the well of Samaria:  "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).  Later, Jesus also said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)" John 7:27-39.

This "water of life" is both symbolic of the Holy Spirit, with the eternal life He gives all who believe on Christ, and also literal water, sparkling pure and abundant in the beautiful river flowing through the holy city (Revelation 22:1).  

Him Who Thirsts (21:6) - Those who will be redeemed and enter heaven are those who are dissatisfied with their hopeless, lost condition and crave God's righteousness with every part of their being. Heaven belongs to those who, knowing their souls are parched by sin, have earnestly sought the satisfaction of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.  A citizen of heaven described as "one who thirsts" signifies those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6).  

He Who Overcomes (21:7) - See 1 John 5:4-5.  An overcomer is one who exercises saving faith in Jesus Christ.  The most wonderful promise to the one who overcomes and who thirsts for righteousness, is God's promise "I will be his God."  Equally amazing is God's promise that the one who overcomes "will be My son." Believers have been adopted as God's own and will be fully realized in heaven (Romans 8:23).

Inherit (21:7) - To each of the seven churches (Revelation 2 and 3) had previously been given a gracious promise for the "overcomers" in that church.  Now an eighth and final promise is given to him "that overcometh."  This is an implicit assurance that all the overcomers shall inherit all things. This is because Christ Himself is "heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2; Psalm 2:8), and those who are in Christ are "joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17), receiving "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:4, 5).The spiritual inheritance all believers will receive is the fullness of the new creation.

Shall Have their Part in the Lake Which Burns (21:8) - In contrast to the glorious promises to the redeemed, the Lord inserts another WARNING to those who remain (by virtue of unbelief) unforgiven in their murders and flesh-peddling, unrepentant of their demonic idolatries, and committed to their falsehoods.  They will spend eternity in the lake of fire, in eternal torments, the second death (Revelation 20:14,15).  The New Testament often goes beyond just citing unbelief in listing character and lifestyle trains of the outcast, so that believers can identify such people. 

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