Sun, Dec 03, 2000

New Testament In-Depth Teachings: Maranatha - Revelation 22

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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MARANATHA

REVELATION 22

Please turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 22, as we wrap up our study through the book of Revelation. And keep in mind that chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation are a look at the new heavens, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem, the eternal state. There is also a warning to those who refuse to come to Christ besides blessings for those that do. Now before we dig in, listen to this story of The Great Disappointment:

Jesus said, "No one knows the day or hour [of My second coming]. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son Himself doesn’t know..So be on your guard. You don’t know when your Lord will come" (MT 24:36, 42). Those words seem clear enough, but the disregarding of them led to one of the most highly anticipated - and most disappointing - days in history.

The churches of northeastern America grew rapidly in the early 1800's, fueled by one revival after another. The new Christians had little theological education, yet many of them began to discuss details of Biblical prophecy with great vigor. Speculation boiled over the exact day and year when Christ would return, and among the speculators, was William Miller of New York.

Miller, when newly converted, had torn into the prophecies of Daniel, concluding in 1818 that Christ would return in 1843 or 1844. When he later began preaching, this became a keynote of his messages, and his listeners, finding him earnest, eloquent, and sincere, multiplied. He finally announced that Christ would return to earth on October 22, 1844.

The financial panic of 1839 contributed to the belief that the end of the world was approaching. Enthusiasm for Christ’s return became so great that prophetic charts were added alongside stock market listings and current events in the newspapers. Miller’s teachings swept through New England, and large numbers espoused Millerism.

As the morning of October 22, 1884, dawned, a sense of fear and foreboding fell over New England. People gathered on mountaintops and in churches. Normal activities ceased as everyone awaited the sudden rending of the skies and the end of the world. When the day passed uneventfully, many Christians grew disillusioned. The unsaved became cynical. The following years saw a decline in conversions, and the period of revivals came to an abrupt end. The event became known as "The Great Disappointment."

- Robert J. Morgan, On this Day, October 22nd

It is always amazing to me the number of people that will try and predict the day the Lord will come for His bride, the church, when Jesus Himself told us "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." Matthew 24:36. We are told to look at the signs, to know what season it is so you can be prepared. You see, you would look very foolish wearing a bathing suit and sandals on this 31st day of December here in Wisconsin, besides being very cold. You see, you need to know what season it is so you can be prepared, and the Lord desires no less for us in regards to His second coming!

Yes, there will be those who doubt, those who will mock us for believing the Lord is coming back, but don’t be discouraged, the signs are everywhere. We are living in the days that the prophets spoke of. Trust in the Word of God instead of the discouraging words of man. You see, the reality is, even if people don’t believe the Lord is coming back, it doesn’t change the fact, it doesn’t change the reality that He is coming back!

In fact, Peter warned us of those who would doubt the return of the Lord in these, the last days. He said in II Peter 3:3-7, "knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." In other words, make no mistake about it, the Lord is coming back!

As we continue our study in the book of Revelation we are going to see a few more details regarding the New Jerusalem, then the blessings to those who hear and obey the Lord, then a warning to those who don’t, and at the end of these 22 chapters, John has only one thing left to say, "Bring it on. Come, Lord Jesus, come!" So with that said, let’s finish this fascinating and timely book this morning, a book we started one year ago!

REVELATION 22

VERSES 1-2

The river of life speaks of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the hearts and lives of those who have come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You see, in our present state, these physical bodies can not survive without water. Thus, just like our physical bodies, our spiritual bodies can not live without the life giving waters that Jesus gives to us.

Remember the story of the woman Jesus met at the well of Samaria. He asked for a drink, which surprised her, for the Jews hated the Samaritans, they did not get along at all. And Jesus offers this woman "living water" which blows her away, she doesn’t get it. In fact, she wonders if this man is greater than Jacob, the one who gave them this well. And in John 4:13-14 we are told, "Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

Also, Jesus makes this point very clear to us in John chapter 7, beginning in verse 37, where we read, "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying,‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as theScripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spokeconcerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:37-39.

Thus, in the eternal state we see this pure river of water flowing from the throne of the Lamb of God which reminds us the salvation that God has brought to us through His Son Jesus Christ, our depending totally upon Him.

The tree of life was first seen in the Garden of Eden, along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God told Adam not to eat of, but both Adam and Eve ate that which God forbid them to eat. At that point the way to the tree of life was broken, man was not to live in the eternal state in sin, and this sin was going to bring about death. But God opened the door back to the tree of life through His Son Jesus Christ, by His atoning death and resurrection, and thus, through Him we can have eternal life with Him.

Now, in the eternal state we once again see the tree of life, with fruit being produced on it and the leaves for healing the nations with. And I just think this is a figurative way of speaking of perpetual life, eternal life in the eternal state.

Looking at both the river of living water and this tree of life, it would seem that all the mistakes that Adam and Eve made, all their wrong choices, we now have the opportunity to make good choices and partake of the life-giving ways of the Lord!

VERSES 3-5

When Adam and Eve sinned, the death process began, both physical and spiritual. Physically speaking, their bodies began to wear down, and eventually they would return to the dust of the earth from which they were created from. Spiritually speaking, they died, they were separated from God. And that sin has been passed on to all man, through all generations. But, our loving God did not leave us in that condition, for as Paul tells us, "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." II Corinthians 15:21-22.

Now, in the eternal state, there is no more sin, no more curse. We will have perfect sinlessness, perfect government, perfect service unto our Lord, perfect blessedness in the presence of our God! We will be with our Lord, in the presence of His glory, with His name on our foreheads, which tells me that we are HIS, FOREVER!

VERSES 6-7

As incredible as all these things are that John has written down, the message is totally reliable. The Word of God is "faithful," it will come to pass according to God’s plan, according to God’s timing. The Word of God is "true," it is genuine, it is authentic. From Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, you can place your trust in God’s Word. That What God has said, He is able and will bring to pass. These Words are not to confuse us, but to reveal to us what will take place, God wants us to know. And keep in mind that the book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all of His glory, and that is what we are seeing!

Also, the Lord says He is coming "quickly!" That Greek word, TACHEI, is not speaking of taking place in John’s day, but once these things get started, they will come to pass in a very short time. It is kind of like starting your engine, revving it up, and as you let go of the clutch, the car takes off, and once it gets going, it will pick up speed until it reaches the finish line! That is what we see here, once it starts, it will pick up speed until it all comes to pass.

Too often people look at God’s Word, look at prophecy, with an inquisitive heart, but that is not what it is all about. We are not only to hear, but to keep these things that are written down, apply them to our lives. God’s Word is here for us to draw close to God in our daily devotion and walk with Him. God, in His great love for us, has shown us what is going to transpire down the road, and now we must choose what to do with that information.

VERSES 8-9

Again, this is so important for us to understand, and it is a similar statement to what transpired in Revelation 19:10, where John did the same thing, fell down to worship an angel, and was warned not to, to only worship God. The angel’s, like us, are just servants of God, we are His instrument, and you don’t worship the servant, you don’t worship the instrument, you worship the master, you worship God!

VERSE 10

It is amazing the number of people who don’t read the book of Revelation, the number of churches that don’t teach it, because they say it is a sealed book, or it is too difficult to understand. In fact, in a story from July 7, 2000, from the Herald Times Reporter, a story on the Left Behind book series, one pastor from a local church in town said, "...that many Protestant churches rarely have a reading from Revelation as part of worship service. ‘You don’t always have the time to help people understand’ the often complex passages with fanciful images that 21st century churchgoers may have great difficulty deciphering..."

Yes, in Daniel 12:9, Daniel was told "...‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closedup and sealed till the time of the end." Folks, we are living in the time of the end, the last days, and so that which was once closed in the Old testament, is now opened up for us to understand, just as this angel tells John.

VERSE 11

What in the world is that all about? Think of it like this, in eternity, nothing can be changed. It is only in this life now that a person can turn and repent of their sins, to make their decision for Christ. It is as Paul said in Hebrews 9:27-28, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." You see, now is the time for salvation, now is the time for you to come to Christ, don’t put it off!

VERSES 12-13

When the Lord comes for His bride, the church, He will bring with Him our rewards for service. And for us, the saints of God, these rewards will be given to us at the Bema Seat of Christ. Paul speaks of this in II Corinthians 5:9-10. He tells us "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."

And Paul gives to us more details of this, of what the Lord will do, what He will receive and what He will reject, in I Corinthians 3:11-15. We read "For no other foundation cananyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on thisfoundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."

You see, why did you do the work? What was your motivation for doing it? That is what God is looking at. And God will place all our works into the fire to see what is going to be burned up and what will make it through the fire and will be rewarded. Now please, understand this, this has nothing to do with our salvation, for we are saved by grace, through faith, and not by our works. Our works are a by-product of our relationship with Jesus. And it is our works that we will be rewarded for, but our salvation was and is a free gift of God!

And in verse 13 we see the eternal existence of Jesus, and the same attributes that are ascribed to God, are also spoken of Christ, for Jesus is God, just as the Father and the Holy Spirit are God. One God manifested in 3 distinct persons, the Holy Trinity!

VERSES 14-15

God shows us the blessings to those who will enter into this eternal state with Him, entering the gates of His city. But, for those who refuse Him, they will not enter in but will spend eternity in the lake of fire.

VERSE 16

Jesus always invites us to come to Him, to open the door, to enter in. He never forces us to come. It is an invitation to all men to come to Him and receive that gift of eternal life.

And the bright and morning star, which speaks of Jesus, is promising to us a new day, a day of eternal life with Him. And that can begin today as you receive Him into your life, and yes, now it is internal and spiritual but one day it will be external and literal!

VERSE 17

Too often today in churches we have people trying to buy their way into heaven, but you can’t. You see, the water of life is given freely to all who will receive it. This life is free to us but it cost God His only begotten Son! Isaiah picks up on this in Isaiah chapter 55 beginning in verse 1, where we read, "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you-- the sure mercies of David." Isaiah 55:1-3.

VERSES 18-19

There are many arrogant people out there that negate the Word of God, or make the Word of God say what they want it to say, or pick and chose what they like and what they don’t like, but be careful, God warns those that do that He will blot out their name from the book of life!

Now that may seem harsh, but think of what they are doing. They are saying they are bigger than God and they can decide what they want from God’s Word, if it is even true or not. They are usurping God’s authority and taking away from the things He has said. Thus, there is no real love for the true God, only the god they have made in their own hearts and own mind and they will be judged for it!

VERSES 20-21

If you love the Lord, then you, like John, will cry out, "MARANATHA!" or "LORD, COME!" As you look at all the evil that fills this world, the only hope, our only hope is the Lord coming and restoring this world to the way it was suppose to be, the way it was created, and then, after the millennial reign of Christ, He will create a new heavens and a new earth with a New Jerusalem in which He will dwell in. The question is, "Are you ready for His coming?" If not, why?

In the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, in the last 2 verses, we read "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of theLORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of thechildren to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6.

God is speaking of judgment, wrath, striking the earth. But, here in Revelation 22:21, in the last book, the last verse of the Bible, we are told, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ bewith you all. Amen.This book ends with the grace of God, undeserved, unmerited favor that God has bestowed upon us. You see, His grace is still available to all here this morning. Won’t you receive it? I pray that you do!

Let me leave this morning, and close this study with this thought for you to meditate upon:

Humpty Dumpty had an unsolvable problem. We have a problem too, but ours has a solution.

Jesus Christ came to our wall,

Jesus Christ died for our fall;

So that regardless of death and in spite of sin,

Through grace, He might put us together again.

The Tale Of The Tardy Oxcart, Charles R. Swindoll, p. 251

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