What does it say?

Revelation 19 is a glorious vision of the Second Coming of Christ accompanied by the church, symbolized here as his bride. The Antichrist and False Prophet are cast into a place of judgment called a lake of fire. The devil himself is bound in a place called the bottomless pit to be held there for a thousand years, after which a great white throne is the scene of the final judgment of good and evil once-for-all. Those whose names are not in the book of life are irreversibly cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20).

John’s vision reaches a wonderful climax as he sees a renewed heaven and earth. The heavenly Jerusalem descends to orbit about the earth in John’s vision (Rev 21). As the book concludes, it is as though we are once again in the beginning, as the tree of life reappears and the Lamb of God sits upon the throne. Finally, John gives testimony to the truth of what he has seen and described and offers an invitation for all to come to faith (Rev 22).

What does it mean?

We come to the end of the Bible and the conclusion of God’s mission to redeem and restore all that was lost to sin. The Book of Revelation inspires, confounds and brings fear all at the same time. Ultimately, the study of biblical prophecy should not stimulate our curiosity more than it should induce in us a sense of awe in the presence of God Almighty.

Amid many ideas about how to interpret the details of what we have read in Revelation, the main message is inescapable. Jesus won the victory over sin and evil as the Lamb of God that died in our place on the Cross and offers his grace and life to all who believe. Despite trials, suffering and the attacks of the very Devil, God’s mission will be completed at the end, the kingdom of God will come to earth and Jesus Christ will reign upon the throne. The end of the Bible is really a return to the beginning as God intended.

How will I respond?

What is the most significant way in which my understanding of the Bible has changed this past year? What is most significant, practical step that I have taken this year to apply biblical truth to my daily life? How will I continue to make the Bible part of my daily life in the year to come? How is the end of my Bible reading really a return to the beginning?