Sunday August 30, 2020
Knowing the End of the Story
If I asked you to recite the very first scripture in the Bible, you would most likely be able to quote Genesis 1:1– “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Some of you would even be able to go on to verse 2-“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
But if I asked you what the very last scripture in the Bible was, I fear most of us would draw a total blank! And probably only a Bible scholar would know the final four verses in the book of Revelation. We are living much closer to the end and full fruition of the Word than we are to the beginning. We remember the beginning of this great faith race, but give little attention to its end. We are mindful of where we came from, yet give our future destination almost no thought.
Here are the final four verses in the Bible:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 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. (Rev.22:18-21)
Revelation 22:18-19 contains a warning to anyone who tampers with the biblical text. This warning is given specifically to those who distort the message of the Book of Revelation. Jesus Himself is the Author of Revelation and the giver of the vision to the apostle John (Rev.1:1). As such, He concludes the book with a confirmation of His testimony to the finality of the prophecies contained in Revelation. These are His words, and He warns against distorting them in any way, whether through additions, subtractions, falsifications, alterations, or intentional misinterpretations. The warning is explicit and dire. The plagues of Revelation will be visited upon anyone guilty of tampering in any way with the revelations in the book, and those who dare to do so will have no part in eternal life in heaven.
Although the warning in Revelation 22:18-19 is specific to the Book of Revelation, the principle applies to anyone who seeks to intentionally distort God’s Word. Moses gave a similar warning in Deuteronomy 4:1-2, where he cautioned the Israelites that they must listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord, neither adding to nor taking away from His revealed Word. Proverbs 30:5-6 contains a similar admonition to anyone who would add to God’s words: (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of listen)
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Pro.30:5-6)
Since the words of Scripture are God-breathed, they are to be treated as sacred. That isn’t always so in these last days. Many so-called preachers of the Gospel are preaching everything but. We must be able to discern Truth from lies, for this is a ploy of the enemy.
Satan seeks to draw us away from the Spirit-breathed, infallible Word of God. Without absolute Truth, any lie can seem to be right.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Cor.11:13-15 ESV)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Pet.2:1-3 ESV)
Revelation 22:20-21 contains a great promise…”I am coming quickly.” None other than the Lord Himself made the immutable promise, “I come quickly,” four separate times (Rev. 3:11; 22:7,12, 20) in the Book of Revelation. Now, it is one thing to say, “Come soon, Lord Jesus!” and quite another thing to live as if you mean it. Instead of being concerned about being narrowly focused on the time of the very end of this age, we are to live in such a way that we will be found in obedience when our Lord does return. The word “soon” adds an urgency to our expectation. Jesus could come at any time. We are not to grow complacent as we wait for His return. Rather, we are to be ready, always ready, for that glorious day.
When He comes, that day will be a day of judgment. For those who have done evil, in keeping with their persistent impenitence and unbelief, the judgment will be swift, certain, and severe. They will be barred from God’s presence forever.
But for those who are the Redeemed of Christ, for those whose lives display the evidence of the living faith that has been planted in their hearts, for us, Christ’s gracious reward will be sweet, certain, and serene. We will enter into the full enjoyment of God’s presence forever:
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Rev.22:14)
What a blessed hope we have! Entrance into the holy city, the new Jerusalem, that beautiful, shining city where God will dwell with His people. A city of life, where death and mourning and crying and pain will be no more. A city of joy, where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. What a blessed hope we have! Access to the tree of life. Paradise restored. Healing and wholeness, eternal life in a place of perpetual fruitfulness and vitality. This is the blessed home that is waiting for us when Jesus comes again!
I am so grateful that I know the end of the story!! And I want to be a part of it…keeping His Word and waiting for His return. Is there any other more exciting place to be?