Revelation 20:11-21:7 – Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And 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, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. 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. 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, “Behold! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. 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. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be My children.
What impact does God desire that these verses should have upon us?
The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation to Christians undergoing tribulation, while he himself had been banished to the island of Patmos because of his testimony of Christ (Revelation 1:9). Revelation portrays the path from here to eternity for Christ’s followers as filled with hardship and hostility against them. What message does the Holy Spirit inspire through the Apostle to encourage and strengthen God’s people in this difficult journey? The book’s central message calls God’s people to see themselves and their situations in light of ultimate realities and to live accordingly. John’s God-given visions describe the ultimate Authority directing history to its ultimate outcome according to His ultimate plan, culminating in two ultimate destinations. Clearly the Lord and His Apostle deemed this message as vitally relevant and beneficial for Christians in troubled times. This is evidenced not only in Revelation’s historical context, but in the promise specifically attached to this book: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it” (Revelation 1:3).
Revelation calls us to keep the end in sight, and thereby to get both our fear right and our hope right. We must not give in to fear of people’s opinions nor of temporal hardships, but reverence the Lord above all else (Luke 12:4-5; Galatians 1:10; 2Timothy 1:8; 1Peter 3:15; Revelation 2:10). We must not place our hope in this earthly life and this world’s “stuff,” and we certainly must not place our hope in our own efforts at righteousness and good works, but “hope in Christ” (Matthew 6:19-21; 13:22; John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:8-11; 1John 2:15; 1Timothy 1:1)!
Set aside time today to look up and prayerfully meditate on the above verses, and ask God to help you recalibrate your fear and hope according to His Word and gospel.