Epistles of Thomas

December 16, 2008

Revelation 19-22

Filed under: New Testament — Thomas @ 0:31
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Revelation 19 begins the end. Babylon has been defeated, God’s people are rejoicing and the beast and false prophet are defeated and judged by the heavenly warrior and the army of God. The heavenly warrior “treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty” (19:15). This reminds me of that old song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored…” I just looked up the lyrics on Wikipedia and see that it is an abolitionist song. I had no idea – I just like Stryper’s rendition of it. I don’t think I have ever heard it sung elsewhere.

In chapter 20, final judgement is executed on Satan and also notably on death and Hades itself. Death is judged and thrown into the lake of fire. John’s vision makes clear that at the end only life will exist – exist for all those whose names are written in the book of life. This continues in chapter 21: “Then 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” (21:1). It is significant that the sea is no longer present because it symbolises the forces of chaos and evil in the world. At the creation of the world in Genesis God is portrayed as the creator of all things, including the sea, showing that he has control over all things. In Revelation, his New Creation has no sea, showing that all the forces of evil are absent from it.

The New Jerusalem, the city of God, is described in some detail. Of most significance, John “did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (21:22-27). Amazingly, people will now be able to see God’s face and in contrast to those who accepted the mark of the beast “his name will be on their foreheads” (22:4). This does not mean we will literally walk around with YHWH tattooed on our heads though.

Revelation ends with John reiterating that he saw these things and they were so marvellous he attempted to worship the messenger. He then warns his readers against misusing this material by adding to it or taking anything away (22:18f). His last words tell us that Jesus is “coming soon” and he desires this to happen, as do we all. Maranatha!

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