August 12, 2020, 12:00 AM

The book of Revelation is absolutely full of mind-blowing imagery. The author of the book skillfully communicates a supernatural, superwonderful, superamazing, and superdynamic experience “revealed” to him by God. Unfortunately, he’s limited to a rudimentary and flawed tool: human language. By no means is that to say God’s Word, i.e. Scripture, the Bible is flawed - not one bit! The flaw lies within us because of our sin. Therefore our understanding and comprehension require divine intervention - and God obliges us!


Revelation is a bit of a “Spoiler Alert.” It gives us prophetic glimpses into how history (literally His-story) ends. It’s no cosmic tug-o-war between darkness and light. Satan doesn’t pull out a miracle in the end. Grace wins!


Despite deficiencies in our language and limited understanding, there’s no questioning what happens. The following is an excerpt from Revelation 21:


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband… And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new...The one who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son...” But to the cowardly and unbelieving... their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” Then one of the seven angels with the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, shining with the glory of God… I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple…” (see Revelation 21 for the full text)


We see all those born-again by God’s grace, through faith in Christ, are perfected, i.e. edified or built together (see 1 Peter 2:5) as Christ’s Body and Bride into one perfect and holy city called “the New Jerusalem!” At the end of the chapter, we read:


And into the city will be brought the glory and honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices an abomination or a lie, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


When the word “city” shows up (nearly eight hundred times!) throughout Scripture, they’re all, in some sense, anticipating, expecting, and awaiting fulfillment in Christ.


In Genesis 3, God expelled humanity from Eden, the perfect paradise garden-city, for their rejection of Him. God did so with a promise of a future single male offspring of Eve. This unique and prophetic offspring would eventually crush both the serpent and all rebellion, but at the cost of His own life (see Genesis 3:15). Humanity learned nothing from the epic flood of Genesis 6-9. In Genesis 11, rather than turning from sin to God, humanity instead collaborated together, perverting God-given ingenuity and creativity to compound and perpetuate our rebellion and rejection of God:


“Come!” they said, “Let us build a city for ourselves with a tower that reaches to the heavens, that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of all the earth.” -Genesis 11:4


In an act of covenant-love, God graciously comes down, confuses human language, and disperses us throughout the earth in order to stave our rebellion and keep hope alive.


Elsewhere, in passages such as the following, we once again see the tension and conflict between humanity’s ongoing and willful rebellion contrasted with God’s everlasting and uncompromising covenant-love:


The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city. -Ecclesiastes 10:15


Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no path to a city in which to dwell. -Psalms 107:4


The unyielding rebels of Revelation 21:8, “...the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and manipulators and idolaters and all liars…” are the ones who refuse to repent of sin and accept God’s grace in Christ. Through their perpetual rebellion and rejection of Christ as King, they vehemently object to having their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Therefore, and we read, “...their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.”


Jesus, Yahweh, Messiah, Anointed One, the Christ, the Beginning and the End, the One who is eternally making all things new:

  • He created and sustains all things in His perfect and everlasting omnipotence.e

  • He reveals Himself through His creation.

  • He reveals Himself and His covenant-love throughout every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every page, every book, and the entire story of Scripture.

  • He came down from His glorious and eternal throne in heaven and took on flesh in order to personally pay our sin-debt.

  • He fulfilled His every promise to us, even willfully going to His sacrificial and atoning death on a cross, while we mocked, flogged, spat, despised and rejected Him and His love.

  • He crushed Satan and his rebellion through the cross and the empty tomb!

  • He is returning soon to gather His Bride, the New Jerusalem, to Himself forever.

Fools don’t know how to get to the city, the New Jerusalem. Rebels willfully wander in desolate wastelands that always lead to one horrific result: eternal torment, pain, and separation from Christ. Jesus alone is the Wellspring of light, hope, truth, goodness, joy, and love; Immanuel is the exclusive Way into His Bride, the holy city, the New Jerusalem!


By God's grace, I repented of sin and stopped being a fool back in May of '03. Maybe today is the day you stop being one and cease your aimless wanderings in desolate wastelands. Maybe today is the day you abandon all unto Christ the King. Maybe today you'll claim your permanent residence in His city by grace through faith in Christ.


Maybe your lingering question is, “How?" or "What must I do?"


The answer from Scripture:


Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke away their chains.

Let them abandon unto Yahweh for His covenant-fidelity and His wonders to all humanity! -Psalm 107:13-15


Kevin M. Kelley
Pastor, PBC