Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading this week is from Revelation 22:1-20. The passage, as with much of Revelation, poses several challenges. Here, one of the primary difficulties is that the situation described, if Revelation is at all chronological, takes place after God’s judgment and His destruction of all evil. Yet in verses 10 and following, the angel who shows all this to John shifts in time and speaks to John’s time and to the people who will read the book, before the judgment. We will go there first.
In verse 10, John is to avoid closing the book with a seal. This says nothign less than that the book is to be accessible to people in John’s age, as well as in our age. In verse 11 evil and good are to be permitted. This doesn’t indicate approval of all ideas or actions. Evil is still evil and good is still good. However, we do what is right and hope to prevail, all the while knowing that our world, as most of Revelation has described, will try to prevail and may frequently seem to succeed. By our force of will and our appeals to what is good and right, we will not change everyone. Yet in verses 14-15 we are reminded that in the final judgment God and His righteousness will prevail. Our world is warned by God’s Word and our presence as those who bear His Name.
What hope is there? In the last day, which will be an eternal and blessed day, God will make a river of his love and grace, flowing from His throne, to nourish the righteous with the fruit from the Tree of Life. If there were any need for healing in eternity (which there will not be), the leaves of the Tree of Life provide that healing (verse 2). Though in this time we face trials, in eternity that will all be ended. This is the hope held by all whose trust is in Jesus as the savior.
The world as we know it is not permanent. It is ruined by the Fall. Though we care for it as well as we can, we know that in eternity there will be one much better, perfect, for those who trust Jesus, a place of true life. This is the hope of the Christian.
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