Where Do You Want to Live Forever?

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

Our Perfect Eternity – Revelation 21:22-22:5

Seychelles-Islands-8Imagine your perfect place – the location of your dreams. Maybe it’s a secluded island with pristine white beaches and crystal blue waters. Perhaps it’s an unspoiled patch of land in the mountains with a quiet cabin alongside a clear running stream. Or maybe it’s Disney World open just for your family.

Whatever your idea of perfection, it doesn’t hold a candle to what awaits believers in Jesus for eternity. We often like to play those “what do you think Heaven will be like” guessing games – and I think that its majesty will be such a surprise as to be beyond words for any of us. But the Bible gives us a sneak peek at what awaits.

At the end of the book of Revelation, after chapters and chapters of horrific, worst-case-scenario events and dramatic battles that pit the most evil of evil against the forces of the Almighty God, we finally get a glimpse of the city that awaits us all as our forever home. SPOILER ALERT: it’s breathtaking!

21:22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

22:1 Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. 3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.

Man oh man – doesn’t that sound amazing? This isn’t some crazy utopian pipe dream or mad man’s ramblings. It’s our home forever – our perfect eternity.

I don’t know about you, but today’s reading makes me excited. I can’t wait to experience what lies ahead for me as a believer. I hope these verses do the same for you today.

What is Your Hope In?

(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)

Revelation 21:1-8

iphone-10Revelation 21 should be the easiest for our modern and materialistic society to grasp. I say this not because the imagery in it is easier to understand or that the subject matter is any less daunting. I say this merely because we live in a society of constant desire for newness. The model of choice barely gets back in stock from a gluttonous run on stores around Christmas and the next, newest model is already being announced. X-Box 1, Play Station 4, iPhone 6, pick your poison we are all smitten with the next big thing. We have become so enthralled with getting the fastest 4G LTE or broadband connection that we have lost sight of what is truly important: God and our relationship with Him.

It is hard to believe that all of this began with Adam in a lush garden and the desire of God for a relationship with man. He made us to be in relationship with Him and what did we do: we messed it up. Adam and Eve in the garden, the tabernacle in the deserts of the Middle East, the Holy of Holies in the Temple, each of these presented an opportunity for man to commune with God. Some would say that the constant failures of man to come close to God has been an exercise in futility and that proves that God is not all-knowing. I would argue differently; God, knowing everything, is providing every opportunity He can for mankind to make the decision to come to Him. Throughout all of this, throughout all of our failures, God has allowed us to maintain some free will in the process. Yes, He knows the ending but as a kind and grace-filled God He provides every opportunity for us to make the right decision.

Revelation 21:1-8 discusses the new Heaven and the new Earth and the new Jerusalem. God, who won the war in Christ, finishes the final battle and claims His victory by remaking everything. The next big thing is here and as believers we are all welcome. Put away your worries for 4G because the 1G, God, is establishing His kingdom on this new Earth and He is bringing His Holy City with Him. He has taken away grief, He has taken away pain, He has taken away worry. God makes it clear that He is EVERYTHING,

6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Revelation 21:6-7 NASB)

He is the beginning, He is the end, He is everything; and, He will provide sustenance to those who thirst. Throughout the New Testament the phrase “water of life”, or some similar reference, has referred to Jesus. Jesus now sits on the throne in the new Jerusalem and promises to give life to anyone who is thirsty. I believe it is symbolic that all sources of water on the new Earth are gone with the exception of the “water of life” in the new Jerusalem indicating that the ONLY source of sustenance is that offered through Christ. The message we have been sharing with countless people throughout our short span of time on this corrupt Earth has finally come to pass and eternal life in Christ is here.

How does this “revelation” help us today? How can we rationalize this within our lives? At first I wanted to put HOPE here. But the more I thought about it, the more I pondered on the meaning of hope, I see this is not appropriate enough here. If you HOPE for something you “expect it with confidence” (Webster’s online). And, while we can have much confidence that this will come about there is still a modicum of doubt wrapped up in what we call hope. Revelation 21:1-8 should give us more than worldly, doubt-tainted hope. It should give us BOLD CONFIDENCE. We know the end of the story. We know the lottery numbers before they drop the first ball. We know the ship is sinking and we have a reservation on the life boat. We know that we are destined to life in this ultimate NEWNESS because of God’s call on our lives and our decision to have faith and believe. These verses should give us the BOLD CONFIDENCE to go forward every day grateful to God for EVERYTHING (troubles and all) and because of that gratitude share BOLDLY what He has done in our lives to EVERYONE who will listen.

Are Those Who Never Hear the Gospel Sent to Hell?

(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)

Revelation 20:11-15

CrowleyHellSome years back, maybe 6 or 7, I was at a point in my life when I didn’t know exactly how much I believed about the bible was relative, just interpretation, fairytales, or if portions of it even happened or had any truth to it at all. The story, my story, continues through several more years of wondering around in a fog and my own agenda, which admittedly I still do more often than not these days. If you want a metaphorical reference to my life from my early twenties up until just a few years ago (I’m 39); I’m a sheep who went astray from green pastures to feed in a briar patch. In that briar patch I lost my identity and lived more like goat, I lost the safety of the flock and the guide of the shepherds hook. I lost the will to seek God’s will and my vision of His character became clouded.

Several questions over that time in my life caused my faith to wane and they’re the usual questions we hear all the time:

  • If God is a loving God, why do bad things happen to good people?
  • If God is perfect and He created all things, why is there evil?
  • What about science and its apparent contradiction to there being a God?

Those are all questions that I wrestled with and still wrestle with at times. But one question really bothered me and up until a couple of weeks ago I really didn’t know how to answer that question. There are people that struggle with questions like these and it stunts their faith; it did mine. They’re not easily answered and the truth is often hard to accept. I’ve heard from Believers who have views on both sides of the fence to this question, and who truly have trouble with this portion of God’s character: The answer is found in the scriptures and it’s clear: Matthew 28:16-20 which culminates into Revelation 20:11-15.

Are those who never hear the Gospel sent to hell?

There is usually a cold silence after that question is asked to a group of believers. The next small group you attend or the next time you’re at dinner, ask that question and see how diverse the answers are. The truth is seemingly harsh but it’s the truth and it actually shows the separation between God’s Holiness and our fallen nature.

In this portion of Revelation judgment comes, not to those who have just heard the Gospel, but to all. You are either in the Book of Life, or you’re not. Matthew chapter 28 Jesus, by all authority in Heaven, commissions 11 disciples to go to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His commission is ubiquitous. If God accepted those who have never heard the Gospel, then why would He tell us to go and reach those who haven’t heard the Gospel? We could sit at home and read our Bibles and sip tea at 10 & 2, take a nap and watch the news which is full of evil and have the security that those people may go to heaven, if they haven’t heard the Gospel.

I’ve heard people ask this question, “Why worry about it, shouldn’t we let God be God, that’s His decision not ours?”
Yes, we should “Let” God be God and He’s told us to Reach the World.

As believers we get caught up in a lot of things. We get caught up in “Church”, chasing money, being “good”, charitable for show, living 2 sides of a coin, or just life in general…Whatever it may be. For a believer, saved person, Christian, it doesn’t matter what term you want to use, we will one day stand before Him and our names will be read out of the Book of Life and that will be glorious!

And if anyone’s name is not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15

Those who never place their faith in Jesus sadly will not have their name read from the Book of Life.

We were given a commission by our Savior to reach every soul so that every name could be read from the Book of Life, how are you participating in that commission?

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