And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:17-21)
The Final Story
Today marks the final Saturday in the year 2015. Our focus this year has been telling great stories of courage, faith and endurance. The Bible is a book of stories revealing the character of men as they seek the Lord. It begins in glory with Adam and Eve in the paradise of Eden but soon Satan destroys the world with sin. Throughout the Old Testament the Lord shows His mercy and grace to unrepentant man. As the New Testament opens the Light of the world appears to being hope to all the earth. The apex of the Bible story is found in the empty tomb outside Jerusalem. It was at this place Jesus Christ raised from the dead following His sacrifice of love to redeem all men. Salvation through the blood of God’s Son redeems the curse of sin. For two thousand years men have heralded the gospel. It is only in the mind of the Father how long the universe will continue but it is on borrowed time. Today as we begin to close another year we draw closer to the coming of Jesus Christ.
The Revelation is a splendid book of courage, faith and endurance. Inscribed upon its pages is the courage of the early saints as they stood against the foes of God. Persecution came from the religious world, the powers of government and the unrelenting temptation of the flesh. Faith ruled in the hearts of the faithful as they endured great hardships. They cried out often “How long, O Lord, Holy and True” and the Lord never forgot them. Death took their bodies but never their spirit. Persecuted to the ends of the earth they died in faith see a city beyond built by the Living God. As the final scenes of Revelation are weaved into the tapestry of God’s Revelation the King of King and Lord of Lord emerges victorious in the final battle with Satan. Victory. Victory. Victory. It is complete. It is final. It is amazing.
This is the final story for man. Everything that precedes the Revelation shows the struggle. John’s final book opens the gates of Heaven to reveal the paradise lost in Genesis is found intact in Revelation. The joy of walking with God in the Garden of Eden is restored in the final pictures of the Revelation. When man was expelled from the garden it seemed hopeless. In the final story hope is renewed beyond man’s imagination. What a city. What a place. What glory we will share in the heavenly city.
The invitation of Jesus is given in the final chapter. From the beginning man has had a choice. He is given a choice once again. The tree of life is offered through the blood of Jesus Christ. What is contained within the Revelation is true for the whole of God’s word. The story is completed. Nothing should be added and nothing should be taken away. All we need to know for salvation is found in the Bible. The Lord is coming back. His coming will be soon. For all those who read the Bible and feel the love of God throughout the travails of man’s struggle with sin finding hope in Jesus Christ and victory over death – will say with ease – Lord come quickly. Yes – living with the Bible in the heart death is only a transition from this world to eternal life. Knowing the power of God’s love will help us live each day with the greatest story ever told – Lord come today; come now; come soon. Now that is a great story. Amen.
The Old Testament together with the New Testament enables us to see that the events related in the New Testament are events which are inseparably connected with that original event recorded in Genesis 1-3 which concerned humanity as a whole. (Gustave Wingren, Theology in Conflict, 1958)