This is post 6 of 6 in the series “REVELATION"
- Revelation Session 1
- Revelation Session 2
- Revelation Session 3
- Revelation Session 4
- Revelation Session 5
- Revelation Session 6
Revelation Session 6
We have moved through the Book of Revelation from beginning, now through the final segment. The book has been an incredible journey describing what is going to take place in the world, from the point of Christ’s entry into the world until the end of time. During all of that period of time, evil is going to be working its power out, and the consequences of that evil will be plain for all to see. And the Book of Revelation describes that in cyclical form, one vision after another, describing for us how that judgment of God will unfold, God’s judgment on the evil that exists in the world. And all of that has come to a climax now because the Book of Revelation uses what happened to the Roman empire to describe for us how evil is going to be dealt with.
John predicts, in the Book of Revelation, almost in exact detail the fall of the Roman empire. And once that was fulfilled, basically what the Revelation is saying to us is, “Look at what happened to the evil of the Roman empire. Explode that to cover the whole world, all of those structures and institutions that are working against God, that are in denial of the reality of Jesus Christ. All of those things ultimately will come to the same kind of ruin that the Roman empire experienced.”
And so there is this incredible vision of the final judgment of God, and then we got to, last week, the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Judgment is done, and suddenly the skies and the heavens erupt with the song of, “Hallelujah. Amen.” There is great praise delivered to God because his judgment is complete, and now, He opens up to us, our unbelievable, unmatchable hope, the hope that is ours in Jesus Christ. And that’s the way the Book of Revelation ends, with this soaring hope which is ours, and we shall see that together momentarily.
Some people ask me—perhaps they ask you—”Are we in the last days?” The answer to that is, “Yes. We are.” Now, let me explain very carefully what I mean by that. The last days began at Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost. The death, resurrection of Christ, and the birth of the Church, that began the last days in the human story. And all that has transpired since then is a journey through those last days. Evil has continued to work. To be sure, Christ has conquered the power of evil on the cross and in the resurrection, but evil continues to work, and the Church is allayed against the power of evil in the world. But the reality is we are moving through the last days. The real question is, “Are we in the last day of the last days?” Well, the simple fact is that Jesus says, “No one knows.” Not even Jesus knows the last day. So he says to us in the Gospels.
And so when someone says to me, “Are we in the last days?” I say, “Yes. Absolutely.” “But are we then at the last day of those last days?” I have to respond, “I do not know.” What I do know is that we are determined to be ready for it, whenever it comes. Remember, Jesus says in the Gospels, and we are told in Revelation to be alert, to be ready. We do not know precisely when that last day of the last days will come. And so this position of readiness is the posture of the Christian in the world in which we now are living. But make no mistake. The last day will come. And as a matter of fact, the passage we deal with today is, in fact, a portrait of what the last day of the last days will be like.
We’re going to begin in Revelation 19:11. Now, I choose to call this section “The Seven ‘I Saws.’” Let’s remember that the code sheet tells you that there is a pattern for all of these cycles that appear all the way through the Book of Revelation. The first four elements in the cycle are the earthly perspective, and most of the cycles, the next two, are the Divine perspective. Then there is an interlude, a direct word from Jesus Christ to the Church. And then there is the next element in the cycle which leads then to the next sequence of cycles.
And so we have the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls, all of which follow that basic pattern. But if you will remember, in Revelation 12 and 13, we had the seven characters, and those followed a slightly different pattern. There were the four from the earthly perspective. Then there were three from the Divine or heavenly perspective, and then came the interlude, the direct word from Christ. Now, when we come to “The Seven ‘I Saws’”—and I have to tell you that that is my own label for this cycle. There are Biblical scholars who will tell you that this particular section of the Book of Revelation does not follow the pattern. I disagree with that. I have studied it long and hard. I am convinced that this is yet one more cycle of seven. There are seven I Saws, and in this case, they follow the same pattern as the seven characters. There are the four I Saws from the earthly perspective. There are then three I Saws from the Heavenly perspective. And then we come to the interlude, this incredible, direct word from Jesus Christ to the Church and to the people of the Church in all ages.
And so we will move now through what I choose to call “The Seven ‘I Saws,’” and we shall take them as they come. That’s the first. You might want to number these in the margin of your Bible. We are at 19:11, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True.” Now, what I want you to see, as we move through these next verses, is that John is not going to call the name of Jesus. Remember, he is hiding that behind code language, and here, he piles up one aspect of the code after another in order to make the point, so that no one can mistake that when he is speaking at this point, he is speaking of Jesus Christ, the risen Jesus Christ. Some elements that we see in this little passage are drawn directly from the vision of the risen Christ we saw in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation.
So here as you listen, is John’s description of the risen, conquering Christ: “With justice, He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire.” You remember, in Revelation 1, we saw there the picture of the risen Christ, and one of the things it said is that He had eyes like blazing fire, X-ray vision, laser vision. That’s the vision that Christ possesses, the ability to see into anything, any place, any heart. “On His head are many crowns.” Now, what in the world does that mean? Well, you need to understand that back in ancient times, when a king ruled over more than one province or one principality, he wore a crown for each province he ruled, and he actually stacked them upon his head. If you look in ancient art, you will be astounded to find portraits of ancient kings with crowns piled upon their heads. And so what John is saying here is that this rider on the white horse is the ultimate king. He has got a crown on top of crown on top of crown. He rules the whole world.
My guess is that you have sung that hymn, “Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon the throne.” And my guess is you probably wondered what in the world does that mean. Well, now you’re going to know, whenever you sing that hymn, that you are visualizing Christ wearing upon His head crown on top of crown on top of crown, emblematic of His rule over the whole world.
“He has a name written on Him that no one but He Himself knows.” You cannot know the name of God. That is an Old Testament truth. God says that from the beginning. And so here, John is actually declaring that Jesus Christ is God. He is God, and you cannot know His name. That is the clue to the divinity of Jesus Christ. What an extraordinary affirmation this is, and the people in Asia Minor would have recognized that immediately.
“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.” Think of it. Here is Jesus, the risen Christ, wearing the white robe of heaven, but it has a bloodstain on it, emblematic of the sacrifice on Calvary. Calvary’s blood has been carried right into the Kingdom of Heaven, so Jesus moves about the Kingdom of Heaven wearing the symbol of the sacrifice that He made for your sin and for mine, on Calvary’s cross, a robe dipped in blood. I can barely wait to get to Heaven to see my Savior and to see that robe and to see the bloodstain on it and to know that the bloodstain is there for me. And that bloodstain is there for you as well.
“And His name is the Word of God.” Think about this. Who’s writing the Revelation? John, the disciple, the same John who wrote the Fourth Gospel, John. And how does that gospel begin? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Well, the people in Asia Minor would have known John’s Gospel intimately, and so John is simply, once again, giving a code word for Jesus, so that there would be no mistaking in their minds what he was talking about.
“The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.” Remember the vision from Revelation chapter 1. He has a sword in His mouth. The only weapon Jesus has is His Word, the things that He says, the things that He teaches, the truths that He proclaims. That is the most powerful weapon of them all, for in His words, there is the power to transform human life and to transform human society.
“He will rule them with an iron scepter.” Once again, we looked at this earlier. Psalm 2:9, a messianic psalm, declares that when the Messiah comes, He will rule with an iron scepter. Once again, John folds that into this description to remind people that he is speaking of Jesus, the Messiah.
“He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” The winepress is the symbol of judgment. The grapes are put into the winepress. They are then pressed. The only thing that is preserved is the good liquid that flows, and once that has flowed out, then all of the husks, all of the stuff that is left is simply tossed aside, discarded. That is the symbol of God’s judgment. Only the good is preserved. Only the good is saved. All the rest of it is done away with.
“On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” The ultimate title for the ultimate savior, the ultimate ruler of the whole universe and beyond. He is the rider on the white horse, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Let there be no mistaking who He is and who He deigns to be in the course of human history and in the fulfillment of the eternal hope.
And then we come to the second “I saw”: “”And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.'” Write a note in the margin, Ezekiel 39. Ezekiel 39 speaks of the end of evil as being like a carrion feast. That is to say that there will be buzzards and vultures.
You get the clue, right here. It talks about birds flying in midair. You know what buzzards and vultures do, don’t you? They soar, way up in the heavens, looking and looking and looking, until they find dead meat, and when they find dead meat, ah, they come down, and they start to pick and claw and eat and devour everything that is there. They dine on dead meat. That’s the picture, that all of those who have surrendered to evil, those who have lived in denial of Jesus Christ and of the Way and the Word and the Will of God, all of them will be consumed. Evil will be devoured like buzzards and vultures circling overhead and then engaging in a carrion feast. How miserable. Yuck. Make no mistake: Evil is dead meat.
Number three. “And then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and His army.” Remember, we talked about the counterfeit Trinity. We have the dragon, Satan, the power of evil. Then we have the beast from the sea. That is the secular political authorities who are living against the Will of God. And then we have the beast from the land, the false prophet, the apostate Church, those in the Church who seek to lead people astray, those in the Church who seek to accommodate to the realities of the culture around them. That’s the counterfeit Trinity, the Trinity of evil.
And here, we begin to see the demise of the counterfeit Trinity. “I saw the beast.”
“But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet.” That’s the second element of the counterfeit Trinity, “Who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. “The two of them, both the beast of the land and the beast of the sea,” the secular authorities and the faithless Church, both, “were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
The Word of the Lord endures forever. That is the only thing that will last. It is the Word of God that delivers the message of salvation. It is also the Word of God that delivers the message of judgment. And those who have lived in denial of God will experience the reality of that judgment. And there, you see it described, “Tossed into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
Number four, the fourth from the earthly perspective. Remember, all of these things are on the earth. We are seeing that very clearly. “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss, holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon.” So we’ve already taken care of the two beasts. Now, the third of the counterfeit Trinity, he seizes the dragon, “that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”
Now, in just a few moments, I’m going to come back to this. We keep seeing the phrase, “a thousand years,” here. It is very important for us to deal with that, and we’re going to deal with that separately, after I get to the end of this particular passage. But keep that phrase in your mind, “a thousand years.” The message here is that evil has been defeated, yes. But evil is rather like a wounded animal, mortally wounded. That animal claws and scratches in panic and desperation. And so ultimately, evil is going to die, completely. It’s defeated, not yet dead. And we are living in a time where evil continues to create chaos, but lo, its doom is sure.
I saw: This is the fifth. Now we are moving to the Divine perspective. “I saw thrones in heaven, on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the first resurrection.
Remember the Revelation Beatitudes. Here’s another one, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.” Those of us who belong to Jesus Christ will have a part in His resurrection. We shall experience that same reality. That’s the promise contained in this verse.
“The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” Once again, in heaven, there is no pecking order, except those who have died for the sake of Jesus Christ. Anyone who is a martyr for the Faith, they are the ones who have a special place in Heaven. That’s as it should be. The rest of us, oh, we’ll all be there, but we’re all on level ground. Only the martyrs of the Faith have a special place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The second death referred to here—the first death is the death that all of us will die when our days on this earth are done. The second death is the death that comes when judgment is exercised and that person is consigned to total separation from God for all eternity. That’s the second death. That’s the death that leads to hell. We, as Christians, do not fall to the second death because once we die the first death, we then experience the first resurrection power and move on to the glory of heaven.
All of that is contained in this incredible passage, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth,” over the whole world.
Gog and Magog. Put a note down, Ezekiel 38. There Gog is the ruler of the land called Magog, an evil man and an evil place. And so, in essence, John is simply lifting that phrase up from the Old Testament and saying, “Believe me, there is still going to be lots of evil going on in the world.” Gog and Magog will gather them for battle. “In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves.” Listen, please. “But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The end of the counterfeit Trinity.
Parenthesis: The thousand years. “The thousand years”—the word that we use for that is millennium. There are three basic interpretations of this 20th chapter of the Book of Revelation, and those interpretations are as follows. There is the position known as post-millennialism. That is to say that things will get better and better and better for a period of 1,000 years, and then Jesus Christ will return, and the last day of the last days will occur.
And then there is the interpretation called pre-millennialism. That’s is to say, things will get worse and worse and worse. Jesus Christ will then return, and there will be, “a thousand years,” or a millennium of peace and harmony, and then the last day of the last days will occur.
The third position is called amillennialism, and that is that the simple fact is we do not know when, where, and how the 1,000 years will occur, but what will happen is in keeping with Jesus’ parable, the wheat and the weeds will grow together, and at some point, the harvest will come. Jesus Christ will return. The good will be separated from the evil, the wheat from the chaff, and at that point, we will have the last day of the last days.
Now, interestingly enough, a couple of things. One, remember the number 10 from your code sheet means a long time. This is clearly an explosion of that number 10. 1,000 is 10 times 10 times 10. If 10 is a long time, 1,000 is a very long time. And so it’s almost fruitless for us to try to determine a chronological sequence of 1,000 years because the message of the passage is that we are talking about a long, long time. Mind you, we’re not talking about eternity. that’s 10,000, remember? When we’ve been there 10,000 years. 10,000 is the number of eternity. And so 1,000 is not eternity, but it is a long, long time. And so we have this long period of time, and we do not know precisely how that is fashioned or fixed on God’s calendar of things.
But also, there is this to be noted. The Church in our time fights over those three interpretations of Revelation 20. As a matter of fact, you will find people who will say unless you are a pre-millenarian, you are not truly Christian. Or unless you are a post-millenarian, you are not truly Christian. Let me tell you something, dear friends. Number one, each one of those three positions can be found clearly stated in Revelation 20. If you study that passage very carefully, you will discover that all three are communicated in that single passage. And so you can be a Biblical Christian and believe in any one of the three. They are all valid. They are all Biblical. I find it absolutely shameful that you and I are living in a world that is going to hell in a handbasket, and people in the Church are fighting one another over their interpretation of the 1,000 years.
You see, the message of Revelation 20 is simply this: That ultimately, God prevails. Ultimately, Christ and the people of Christ win. That’s the message of this passage. And so when you get into a discussion about the 1,000 years, you are perfectly free to adopt any one of those three you wish. You might even want to adopt all three, if you think you can do that. I will just tell you I try to say it in a little lighter fashion. I am a pan-millennialist. That’s is to say I believe that when Jesus Christ returns, everything is going to pan out exactly the way God wanted to.
I do not mean by that to take lightly the passage of Scripture we have just encountered, but it is important for us to remember the ultimate message of the passage can be found, clearly, as you read through it all, and those various interpretations also can be found in the passage itself.
Number six, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them. Each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Here is the picture. The angels have a series of books. Those are the books that I would call the Books of Works, the Books of Merit. And in those books are recorded all of the accounts of your life and mine. God always does keep His books, and God always balances His books. Make no mistake about that. Our lives are being recorded on the pages of the Books of Works and Merit in the Kingdom of Heaven, and we are judged on that basis when we stand before the throne of God.
But there is another book, the Book of Life. That book is in the hands of Jesus Christ. So here is the picture. Howard Edington—and you can just fill your own name in there—Howard Edington one day is going to have to stand before the Throne of God. The angels will bring out the Books of Works, and all of the accounts of Howard Edington’s life will be recorded there. And as those accounts are read, I will be crushed into tears by the reality of the lack of quality that there has been in my own life, my own journey through this life, the places where I’ve yielded to sin and temptation, the places where I’ve failed to measure up to what God wants, and I will weep before the Throne of God.
Those will be the last tears I will ever shed because standing to the side, holding the Book of Life, is Jesus Christ, and when account number one, Howard Edington, is read, Jesus Christ will then say, “Canceled by My blood.” Account number two, “Canceled by My blood. Canceled by My blood. Canceled by My blood.” The Book of Life is the book of Christ, and those who belong to Christ have their names in the Book of Life, and Christ covers, handles, eliminates, gets rid of, cancels all of the sin and evil that has been a part of your life and of mine. That is going to be the experience which shall be ours in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“And then I saw—” the seventh, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Remember, the sea is the source of evil. The people in the Middle East at that point in time hated the sea, feared the sea. And so in heaven, no more sea. Can you imagine what hope they would have drawn from just those few words?
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'”
And then listen to this. Remember standing with the Books of Works and having the tears run down my face? Suddenly, I read He, personally, the Lamb of God, will take the tip of His bloodstained robe, and, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” No more tears. Never again. No more pain. No more death. No more mourning. No more crying, “for the old order of things has passed away.”
Oh, let me go back just a second. Did you hear that? “I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” oh, new heaven, new earth. What I want you to understand is don’t let anyone tell you that when you die, that nothing from this earth carries on to the life that is to come. No. No. No. No. No. Remember, God created the earth good. Oh, evil’s had its way and its day, but there is still so much about this world and about your life and mine that is good. There will be a new earth. The things that are good on this earth will carry over into the life that is to come. The relationships that we hold dear, those most loving relationships in our lives, they will continue in the life that is to come. What we begin here gets fulfilled there. That’s what is meant by the new earth, the great, good, wondrous things of life on this earth will continue in the life that is to come. You will see. You will know. You will love the people you see and know and love on this Earth, the good things that have flowed out of your life will follow you into the new Heaven and the new Earth. What a glorious picture that is.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done.'” Once again, it is done. It is finished. It is complete. Judgment has been carried out. Now, pure grace unfolds.
And then he goes on to deliver this most incredible vision. This is the interlude beginning. The interlude, the direct Word of Jesus. Jesus takes that concept of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem and spells out precisely what it means. “He showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”
Remember from your code sheet, jasper is a diamond. It is clear, incredibly beautiful and valuable. “It had a great high wall with 12 gates, 12 angels at the gates. On the gates written the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. Three gates on the east, the north, the south and the west. The wall of the city had 12 foundations and on them were the names of the 12 Apostles.” Remember the promise that’s been made repeatedly. The old Israel, the tribes of Israel, the new Israel, the Church of Jesus Christ, ultimately will be reunited in the Kingdom of Heaven under the banner of Jesus Christ. Once again, the vision of the Holy City affirms that clearly.
“The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its wall. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length.” Stadia is furlongs. It’s about 1,400 miles, “As wide and high as it is long.” The square was regarded as the perfect geometric figure in those days. Here, the square is multiplied, expanded into a cube, the ultimate perfection. The square is transformed into a cube, ultimately perfect. He measured its wall. “It was 144 cubits thick.” Now, that’s about 200 feet thick. “The wall was made of jasper,” clear, you could see through it. “The city was of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone,” and then the stones are listed.
Here’s what I want you to do. Put a note, Exodus 28. When Aaron was set aside to be the priest for the people of Israel and through Aaron, they then had access to God, the symbol of the high priest was a breastplate on which were 12 jewels, 12 stones, lined up 3 by 4, 12. If you read Exodus 28, the 12 stones listed there are the 12 stones listed here.
He is saying, “We don’t need a priest anymore. Now, in the holy city, we are all priests. We all have direct access to God.” You see little jewels, jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst. The 12 gates with 12 pearls, each gate made of a single pearl.
Note, please. The other 12 stones or jewels are geologically made. Only the pearl is organically made. It is the result of the sand in the oyster. Out of pain and adversity, there comes the precious pearl. When you experience pain and adversity in your life, know that you are being prepared to enter through the gate of pearl. What an incredible picture.
There is no temple in the city. “The city does not need sun or moon,” “The glory of God gives it its light.” “The nations will walk by its light. The kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.” No more evil. Open access, wide open. Ultimate freedom.
“Nothing impure will ever enter it,” “only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” And then the picture that is given is the picture of Eden. If you go back and read the Book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden, you discover that here the same picture is repeated but amplified, magnified. In essence, the message is, “Eden was created by God, so good, so beautiful. Satan had its way. Eden is gone, paradise lost. But now, because of Jesus Christ, paradise is regained. In the Kingdom of Heaven, there will be the new Eden, with a tree of life yielding its fruit.” Remember, in Genesis, they couldn’t eat from the tree of life. Here, they eat abundantly from the tree of life, “The leaves of tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” The barriers of sin and separation are all gone.
“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve him. They will see His face.” Of all of the promises made in the Book of Revelation, this, for me, is the most beautiful of them all, “They will see His face.” Now, I want you to understand something. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a passing glimpse of God when you get to the Holy City. Go back in history. Back in the old days, kings only on occasion and for only a very few special people would deliver an invitation to those people that said, “You may come and see My face.” That meant that they did not simply come and stand before the throne and bow down and then move on. No. It meant that they were invited into the king’s private chambers, that they became confidants of the king, that they spent extraordinary time with the king, communicating constantly with the king. They became his closest friends, his closest allies. They were united almost completely with the king.
And so when the king issued the invitation, “You may come and see My face,” he was opening up his whole life to those who were invited to share it. That’s the message here, that God is saying to you and to me, “You may come and see My face. I want you to be with Me, in complete intimacy, deeply in communication, engaged completely with one another. We will share everything for all of eternity.” What a magnificent promise, that we shall see His face. That is the ultimate hope for us, I do believe.
“There will be no more night,” nor, “light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. The angel then said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.'”
And then we come to what is called the Epilogue of the Book of Revelation. What happens is that John finishes the book by drawing on some of the very verses that began the book. It’s a way of saying now the whole picture is there. It’s also a way of saying, “What I have done is true. It is authoritative. You can count on it. Everything that I have said has come straight from God.” He says that very plainly.
And he says, “Blessed are you if you live by the prophecies of this book. Blessed are you if you surrender yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, for then you will have to right to eat of the tree of life, and you will have the right to reside in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” That is the great hope and promise that is ours, and that promise is fulfilled here, in the Book of Revelation.
You’ve heard the vision of the Holy City in words, written on the pages of Scripture. I want you now to hear the vision of the Holy City in psalm. I’m going to ask you now to quiet your hearts for a moment to let your spirit be still. Close your eyes if you wish, and open your mind and your heart to the beauty of the words of the Holy City.
“Last night I lay asleep, there came a dream so fair. I stood in old Jerusalem beside the temple there. I heard the children singing, and ever as they sang, I thought the voice of angels from heaven in answer rang. I thought the voice of angels from heaven in answer rang.
“‘Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Lift up your gates and sing Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to your King!’
“And once again the scene was changed, new earth it seemed to be. I saw the Holy City beside the tideless sea. The Light of God was on its streets. The gates were open wide, and all who would might enter, and no one was denied.
“No need of moon or stars by night or sun to shine by day. It was the new Jerusalem that would not pass away. It was the new Jerusalem that would not pass away.
“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing, for the night is o’er! Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore! Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna for evermore!”
May I speak to you from my heart? I long for us to be together in the Holy City. And therefore, I want you to know the joy of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I want you to know what it is like to recognize the fact that Jesus Christ is at your side as you walk through every single day. I want you to know what it means to experience the wisdom, the strength, and the power, and the encouragement, and the inspiration of Jesus Christ to be injected into your life every single moment of every single day. I want you to know what it is like to move through the course of your life knowing that you carry about you the spirit of the Lord and that that spirit can strengthen and sustain you, no matter what you have to face. I want you to know what it is like that when you slip and stumble and fall and fail, that Jesus Christ is there, ready to pick you up and dust you off, and I don’t care how many times it happens, always ready then to say to you, “It’s okay. I love you. Come, and let Me show you the way.”
I want you to know what it is like to live every single day knowing that Jesus Christ is your Savior and your Lord and that, ultimately, He will give you the hope that you need for this life and for the life that is to come. I want you to know what it is like to encounter the reality of Jesus Christ in your life. And I want you to know what is in this book, the Word of Almighty God. I want you to immerse yourself in this book, to study this book, to dive into it, at least a little bit, every day, just as I do, every single day, to dive into it, even briefly, day after day after day, because what you’ll be doing is building into your own life the Word of God, the vocabulary of the Almighty so that your vocabulary will begin to reflect the vocabulary of God, so that your thoughts and your words and your decisions will be based on what God teaches to be absolutely true. I want you to immerse yourself in this book, knowing that you need the truth and the strength that are to be found here.
What is ahead, I do not know. I can count on the fact—and you can, as well—that there will be pain and peril, as long as we are on this earth, and therefore, we need the Word of Almighty God to guide us, to direct us, to strengthen us, so that we know that when we say things or do things or think things or decide things, we are being faithful to the goals and the dreams that God has for us. I want you to know this book and to love this book. Don’t let it out of your hand. Don’t let it out of your heart. Don’t let it out of your life. Give your life to Jesus Christ, and then build your life upon the foundation of His Word.
And I want you to know the assurance, the absolute, unfailing assurance that one day, in Christ, you will walk through the gate of pearl, and you will see the throne of God Almighty before you. And you will see the 12 Patriarchs and the 12 Apostles on either side, and you will see the angels singing and soaring, and in that moment, you will see the Lamb, and the Lamb will walk over to you, and He will place over your shoulders a resplendent white linen robe, and He will say to you, “This robe has been washed in My blood because your life has been washed in My blood, and by My blood, you are clean, and you are pure. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
And I want you to know the assurance that you will see God’s face, that God will say to you, “Come. You’re invited to see My face.” And God will then tell you how much He loves you, how He has been with you all the way through your life. He will show you how He has placed people and circumstances along the way to help you in your journey. He will show you where you have gone wrong, and how He has helped you to overcome that. He will show you the answers to the questions that you have, the problems that you cannot resolve, the issues that burn you on the inside. He will take care of all of that.
He will say to you, “Come. Sit in My lap. You are My child. I am your heavenly Father. I love you, and I will never, ever let you go. Come and see My face. I made you. I saved you, and now, you are mine, and you will be mine forever.”
And I want you to know the deep, unfailing hope when God says to you, “Those whom you love, who have preceded you into the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, they are waiting for you now. They are ready to embrace you with a love of their own, and in that glorious reunion, there will be no tears but sheer joy because the pains and the privations of this life have been laid aside now, once, for all, and forever.”
I want you to know the assurance that you will step into the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.
And then I want you to have the experience with me. I want you to have the experience of our standing in the Kingdom of Heaven, standing with the old Israel and the new Israel, the people of God and the Church of Jesus Christ, the multitude of people that no one can number, standing together, arm in arm, heart in heart, life in life, standing together and then beginning to sing with one glorious voice, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah. Amen.”
I want you to stand with me in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, wrapped up in the arms of the Lamb and in the arms of each other and in the arms of all we love.
Hallelujah. Praise to the Lord. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
God bless you. Go in peace.