“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.”
If you are anything like me, you have echoed the cry of John, from time to time in your walk with God. It seems whenever things become difficult, confusing or frightening, my heart cries out, “Come, Lord Jesus.” I realize, the only reason for His delay is His desire to see others come to faith in Christ. Peter wrote,
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
There is a day coming, in the not so distant future, when all the promises of Scripture will be fulfilled, and Christ will return for His church and set up His kingdom. As John sat incarcerated on the island of Patmos, his heart longed for the return of his Savior and Lord.
That being said, it has often struck me, that the final promise of Scripture takes us from the promises of the future, to those of the present. After declaring Christ will return for His church, John reminds us that we are living in a present state of grace.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
Grace can be defined as the giving nature of God. It i s expressed in His desire to save the lost, and to pour out lavish gifts upon His children. As we await the return of Christ, we live in the age of grace. The closer we get to the time of Christ’s return, the more difficult things will become on earth. As men harden their hearts to God, sin will increase and righteousness will become more and more scarce. It is vital to remember, although God will judge sin, it is His desire to save. The darker the background, the more brightly the message of the Gospel shines. Instead of becoming discrouraged by the present condition of things, let’s remember that it is in the heart of God to save. Let’s be busy praying for, and witnessing to, our friends and loved ones, until the day Christ calls us home.
Until He comes,
Questions for Revelation 22
Over the course of the book of Revelation, we have seen future history. And at the center of both future history and all history is Jesus. Today we bring things to a close.
1. In verse 1, where does the water of life come from? Read John 4:9-14, John 7:37-39. What does the water of life represent?
2. In verses 2-3 we notice a tree that is for the health of the nations. Read Gen 2:9. What tree is present in Genesis 2:9 that is noticeably absent in Revelation 22:2-3?
3. Read verses 4-6. We are told in verse 4 that we shall see God face to face, and that He will always be on our mind. One of the chief characteristics of heaven is that our relationship with the Lord will be great! Read Exodus 33:20. God the Father could not be seen in His glory by sinful men. But in heaven with sin removed we will be able to know Him face to face. Until then, there is one way to see God face to face. Jesus if the face we look upon. Read John 14:9.
4. In verses 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12, there are reminders of how near this time is. Do you live in the light of eternity? Does this vision of heaven both encourage you and challenge you to live more fully surrendered to the Lord and His purposes for your life?
5. According to verse 9 who is to be the lone recipient of worship? It is very common for us as men to put on a pedestal the one God is using. See to it that you do not.
6. Consider verse 12. Do you ever feel that the things you do for God go unnoticed? Do you wonder if they will be worth it? What does this verse say to both of those questions?
7. Look at verse 13. Now look up Isaiah 44:6-8 and 48:12-13. What does this title that God ascribes to Himself, the First and the Last, mean? What does it teach us about Him? How do these things affect your life?
8. Look at verse 17. Who sends out the invitation to the water of life? Who is allowed to come and receive? Are you receiving this life? Are you extending this invitation?
9. Look at verse 20, and especially John’s prayer at the end of the verse. It is good to pray for and look forward to the Lord’s return. Is there anything that prevents you from wanting Jesus to return right now? If there is, even if it’s a good thing, it has become too important to you. Ask God to help you to freely look toward heaven and seeing Him face to face.
10. Notice the last verse of this book, of the New Testament and of the Bible. Grace is God’s giving nature, the kindness that He extends to us, undeserved and freely, because He loves us. According to this verse, who does God want to pour His grace out upon? Are you receiving and enjoying the grace of God? Are you a vessel for Him to show grace to this others and to this lost world?