The River of Life

Today’s reading is Revelation 22.

John’s story telling expands even more. We’ve had the repeated cycles in the book. Further, we’ve seen how as he ended his story, he went back to pick up themes he used at the beginning of the book. Now, here at the end of our entire Bibles (can that be a coincidence), John goes all the way back to the beginning of the whole story. What we are witnessing is the restoration of the Garden, but it is a new and improved Garden. It is not just a tree of life, but a river of life surrounded by life-giving trees. There is no night because God is it’s light. And the inhabitants reign forever and ever without fall or failure. WOW! No doubt the ultimate fulfillment of this picture is in eternity where Christ’s church finds its ultimate victory. However, don’t miss the point John is making for his readers in their particular predicament. He is pointing out that this imagery is not merely the church in eternity. This imagery is Christ’s church at all times. Christ’s church, Christ’s bride is this garden city. As the Garden was God’s first sanctuary, His first dwelling place with man, the church is God’s final resting place with man. Whether on earth or ultimately around His throne in heaven, Christ’s church is His temple, His dwelling place, His city, His kingdom, His Bride. And here is the kicker. If you want to be part of the Bride, the city, the kingdom in eternity, you have to be part of it now. The Spirit and the Bride say come. Come now. Come drink from the fountain of living waters that flows from God’s throne, by Christ’s cross, through the Heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, the church. And never leave this refreshing stream. I understand, in its present form, we don’t always see it as this image at the end of Revelation. But this is what it is and, in time, it will be vindicated and demonstrated as such. So, get in now and stay there.

Next week’s reading is Luke 1.

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The Bride

Today’s reading is Revelation 21.

I know we’ve talked about the Bride before, but now we meet her again in all her glory. At the beginning of Revelation, we were introduced to her in the image of the seven churches. At that time, they were struggling with faithfulness and loyalty to the Hero. But now, just as one of the seven angels with the seven bowls of God’s wrath introduced us to the seductress (Revelation 17:1), one of those same angels shows the Bride. The seductress was out in the wilderness, the Bride is at the top of a mountain. The seductress was pictured as a woman on the back of dragon, though she was called the city Babylon. The Bride is pictured as a city. And what a city. Perfectly square, with insurmountable walls, unassailable gates, unbreakable foundation. It is full of the glory of God. The Lamb is it light. God Himself is its Temple. While I don’t want to take away the beautiful picture of eternity most of us jump to when we see this picture, we need to understand that John’s point was not simply that in the end we go to heaven. His point was this is the bride of Christ; this is the kingdom of Christ; this is the church of Christ. Yes, the enemies gather around our city. Yes, they besiege our city. Yes, they mount their attack against our city. But our city is unassailable. The question is not who will win this war. The question is to which city will you flee for refuge: Babylon or the Heavenly Jerusalem? When you see how the story ends, the choice is obvious.

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 22.

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She’s Back

Today’s reading is Revelation 21.

We met the Bride inĀ Revelation 2-3, represented by the seven churches of Asia to whom this book was addressed. Now we meet her again. This time she is a city, a kingdom, coming down from heaven. Her dimensions are perfect. Her foundations are unbreakable. Her walls are unassailable. Her gates are uncompromising. God is her light. The Spirit is her life. The Son is her King, her Hero, her Groom. It is important to understand that this is not a picture of heaven. It is a picture of Christ’s Bride, His church in victory. And while that will certainly apply to Christ’s church in eternity, in heaven, we need to understand the picture is not merely about that. The point is if we want to be part of the Bride, the city of God, the kingdom of Jesus Christ in eternity, we must be part of Her now. No matter what is going on. No matter who lays siege to our city and who sets up the battering rams to our gates, Hang On. Jesus Always Wins! Don’t wait to see which way the wind blows, it will be too late. If you want to be part of the victorious kingdom in eternity, you must be part of it now.

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 22.

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Looking for a City

Today’s reading is Hebrews 11.

All these died in faith looking for a homeland. However, the homeland wasn’t actually Israel. It wasn’t Judah. It wasn’t surrounding Jerusalem. The homeland is not on this earth. These were all strangers and exiles on earth. Their homeland was a spiritual home, a heavenly one. Therefore, they kept pressing on in faith. They trusted God would do what He promised and they kept looking for the city whose builder and maker is God. Here we are millennia later. What are we looking for? Earthly treasure, fame, power, influence? Or are we strangers and exiles here, looking for the true city, the city of God? What are you looking for today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Hebrews 12.

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