Revelation 21-22

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.” (21:3‬)

No more middle men. No more kings, priests or temporary authorities between us and Our Creator God. No more distance or separation of dimension. We will see Him and by Him we will see everything else.

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,” (21:23-24)

The culmination of creation, and yet it will be a beginning. A city, a river that heals and fruit that brings life. Goodbye Darkness, our old friend. Now you’re just somebody that we used to know.

It’s hard to imagine what this will look, feel, taste, sound and smell like, but I know it’s is abundantly more than we can ask, think or imagine.

Some people get freaked out about Heaven because it sounds like a never ending worship service. Our earthly context for that spells b-o-r-i-n-g. Doesn’t He know how many of us have ADD?

How about a place with rivers, trees, breathtaking architecture and God Himself? He’s going to make it all right. Making all things new. Restoring what’s been broken and lost. He is coming quickly.

If you feel unsure about eternity or unexcited about a New World, take a step closer. Don’t stop here, keep reading His word. Keep discovering His perfect promises which are coming to fruition. Keep familiarizing yourself with the teachings and example of Jesus. Keep going.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Carly and I on this undertaking. We’ve covered the whole Bible together! Stay tuned for more because we can’t stop reading now. It’s still daily bread.

-Bethany

Revelation 19-20

Here’s a picture of my friend’s recent tattoo:

walterstattoo

I thought it was a nice visual for the image we read of Jesus in 19:11-16. I love this tattoo; it’s refreshing to see this part of the Bible highlighted (and wow, what a conversation starter). While I consider the cross the most important symbol of Christianity, the Rider on the white horse is not to be omitted from the story.

We read a lot about God’s wrath in today’s chapters and I noticed myself wincing. It’s easy, and preferable, to breeze past this text in the Bible. But don’t miss this: you cannot talk about God’s mercy without talking about his wrath against sin. Jesus will return and he will be pissed (excuse the lazy writing).

 “And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

I often think I’m doing people a favor by skimming over this part of God’s plan when they’re first being introduced to the Bible, but really I’m doing them a disservice. The gospel is available to everyone. It excludes no one and no sin. You can come just as you are and get washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus who atones us for our sin. He pays the price. He vouches for us. He reconciles us with God, claiming us as his family and sharing his eternal inheritance. But. God’s wrath against sin exists alongside this. His anger and judgement against sin is just as real as Jesus’ victory over it. As we have been repeated warned and informed about it in Scripture, those who repeatedly reject Christ, and the forgiveness he extends, will be punished. 

There’s a lot of heavy-handed theology going on here (postmillennialism, premillennialism, amillennialism and a few other things I’m not qualified to write about, let alone spell correctly). Don’t get hung up on the ins and outs of all the visions and theology, but fix your attention on this:

Christ will return, defeat Satan and reign forever and ever and ever. 

We will read more about this tomorrow in our LAST two chapters of the Bible!

 

-Carly

 

 

Revelation 17-18

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (17:14‬)

Called, Chosen, Faithful. These words humbled me today. I can’t believe I am those things to God. Especially when there seems to be another huge population described as:

“dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” (17:8‬)

This theology of predestination makes a lot of people uncomfortable, myself included. I’m reminded of a day, back in Camarillo when Carly and I were roommates, reading the Bible across the breakfast table from each other. One of us (who can remember) looked up from reading Ephesians 1 and said, “You know, it really sounds like Paul believes in predestination.” To which, I think the other one of us said something like, “Yeah. Yikes.”

My name has been in the Book of Life since the foundation of the world?! Why?! Why me and not someone else?

Many have speculated about how this works, God existing outside of time and all, but it draws me to lean on how beautifully trustworthy He is. I wrestle with the concept; as I so deeply love people who wouldn’t call themselves “saved” and plenty of them have passed on already. As I feel myself getting emotional about it, I cling to the hope I see in the love of God, which flows through me, making it possible at all for me to be bothered by the eternal state of my friends in the first place.

Then I’m drawn back to an overwhelming gratitude that I’m known and loved by God. I know my name is in His book of life because He’s given me the deposit of His Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

He’s been speaking to me since I was a little girl. I know He chose me, and I not Him initially, because I was so young when He came to me. In fact, I feel I was never without Him. Why was I chosen to receive this blessing?

Not only this, but I dare say I was placed in the best family, raised in the best part of the best city, attending the best church. I am overwhelmed.

I’ve spent more of my life trying to make the most of this abundant privilege. Indeed I can love generously because I am so generously loved.

So how do I ever manage to find things to stress about? I think I have more power to fowl things up than I actually do. All the best things in my life came to me, completely outside of my control. I see that’s rare, and I choose gratitude.

I don’t know what your story with the LORD is, but consider with me today His love and His choice of us; giving us His Spirit and calling us faithful.

When we get stressed and overwhelmed by life, maybe praying that Jesus returns today, let’s exchange that anxiety for prayers of thanksgiving and remember:

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬)

-Bethany

Revelation 15-16

“Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.” 16:15

Because of verses like this (and also special shout out to the 90’s book series “Left Behind”), I have often day dreamed about Jesus’ return. Will I be arguing with someone? Will I be drinking a gigantic margarita? Will I be quietly reading my Bible and mediating? Will my clothes drop to the floor? Does this verse imply I need to pack some sort of overnight apocalypse bag?!

We don’t know what it will be like or when it will happen, which is exactly why we are told to anticipate it.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 tells us Christ’s return will come as unexpectedly and dreadful as a woman’s labor pains, which I can confirm is quite unpredictable. “So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clear headed.”

I realize it’s silly to fret about the moment Jesus comes back, because I believe he already sees and partake in my life, day to day. He knows about the arguments, occasional margarita and Bible reading. The text does remind me that this will all be over before I know it.

In what ways does your life show that you’re ready for Christ’s return?

In what ways does it show that you’re not?

Is there someone you need to share the gospel with? A sinful habit you need to ditch? Priorities you need to move around? Don’t wait. If the Holy Spirit is grabbing at your heart about this, act now.

-Carly