Jesus says, “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” We see the sixth beatitude as another beautiful promise but there is some urgency. Have you heard of FOMO? That’s the fear of missing out. It’s commonly used in marketing to let you know something is coming to an end (like a sale) so you better hurry or you’ll get left behind. That’s a bit of what I feel is happening here. Jesus doesn’t want us to wait to obey, he wants us to do it now! None of us know what “soon” means.
We’ve been reading through the book of Revelation and it concludes with this passage. Whether it’s your first time through or your hundredth, the message is still the same. Follow Jesus, be encouraged in your faith, and trust he is coming soon. Revelation is prophecy, and we explored what that meant at the very beginning. Prophecy can have to do with the future, but it is not the same as a “prediction.” The intention is to always point us toward God, not away from him. As you look back at what you’ve read, I am confident you can see the prophetic nature of this book. It is drawing us back to God, strengthening our desire to be in relationship with our Savior King.
Yet, many are overwhelmed with all the horrible images contained in this book. Did you notice how each horrifying scene is then followed by a return to the glory of God? God never leaves us in our despair. It is true, we have been confronted by all sorts of astonishing and gruesome visions, and we’ve had to wrestle with each of them. Did you feel encouraged, or threatened, or both? The message of hope was true for the churches who originally received these words from John as well as for us today.
With all that is going on in our world today, people’s fear meters are on overdrive. If it’s not the pandemic and fear of being infected or making others sick, it’s the uneasiness of the rioting, the inequality, and the crumbling economies of the world. When you take all of that into account, as well as the atrocities that have happened over the last two millennia from when this book was penned, we can boldly state our God is still the same. He is in control. He is going to come again. We don’t need to let fear win.
Fear is of Satan. When we look around at all the “problems” in our world, they have Satan’s name written all over them. Just like the Pharisees who were blind to having the Messiah in their presence, we have leaders today who are not putting their trust in God. And if you remember, God allows evil, for a time that is. That makes it all the more important that we hold tight. We need to brace ourselves for the onslaught of evil that is trying to devour us.
We can listen to the words of Jesus, “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” I don’t know about you, but “soon” could be tomorrow as far as I’m concerned. Jesus’ reward is what I’m looking forward to. The idea of being with God forever, living in the “Eden” he intended for us from the beginning with no more evil, sounds so amazing. However, I’m not going to get myself all whacked out when it doesn’t happen tomorrow or the next day. I’m not going to lose any sleep over the “when.” It’s all in God’s perfect timing. I trust him, do you?
The final beatitude in Revelation says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.” Okay. What exactly does this mean? I don’t have a robe to wash, and washing clothes, in general, is not my most favorite thing to do. The deeper meaning is simply this: Be ready with a pure heart, be cleansed. You will be blessed with admittance to the eat from the tree of life. Sin has lost it’s power and the curse is gone forever.
What are you feeling now that you’ve come to the end of this book? I’m feeling invigorated and confident that God is in control. It may seem like the events of the world are swirling out of control, but having read the pages of Revelation has given me hope and assurance God will not let evil win. In fact, evil has already lost the battle. We are just in a time before the end.
Here is our closing message, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.“ And our response, “Come, Lord, Jesus!”
Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you for such an intriguing book. Your Word continues to amaze me and bless me. Thank you that it is available for me to get to know you before we meet face to face one day. I pray that I will continue to stand firm and be strong in defeating evil desires in my own life. Help me to tune out the negative messages that are limiting me from being who you made me to be. Have your way with the world, God. Please come soon. In Jesus’ name. Amen.