Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30 - Revelation 21 & 22

Today's reading in our daily plan is Revelation 21 and Revelation 22. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

REVELATION 21

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • After all the chaos and judgment (found in the previous chapters), John sees a city descend from a new heaven onto a new earth. The city is called New Jerusalem.
  • We get some description of what heaven will be like in verses 3-7 and 22-27.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God tells John, “I am making everything new.” This truth about God applies to more than just the situation we see in this chapter. God is constantly making everything new, and it's definitely true in the lives of Jesus' followers. Our lives may mimic some of what we've seen in the previous chapters in Revelation - conflict and wars (both inside ourselves and with others) - but God is at work, and change is coming. God will make everything new, not only for the whole world, but in our lives as well.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Read back through the description of heaven in verses 3-7 and 22-27. What encourages you about it? What are you looking forward to?
  • Where do you feel stuck in life? Do you trust that God is at work in your life and leading that situation towards change, that he will make all things new? Talk to him about it.
  • Where do you see God working in your life right now? Where is he trying to bring about change? How could you partner with him in that work?

REVELATION 22

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The last chapter of Revelation contains further descriptions of New Jerusalem along with a warning and goodbye from John.
  • God himself lives in the city and a river of life comes from his throne. Leaves of the trees along the banks of this river will be used for healing. Those who live in the city will actually see the face of God and have His name on their foreheads. It will be a place of healing and living with God. 
  • There will be no night. God himself will be the light.
  • Jesus’ followers will have no doubts about God because they will see him face to face.
  • John says that there will no longer be any curse, which is probably a reference to sin.
  • Verse 14 says "blessed" are those who wash their robes. We have seen this idea before in Revelation. It is not literal. The "robes" refer to our sinfulness, and they can be washed in the blood of Jesus. When we accept what Jesus did for us on the cross his blood washes away our sin and makes us clean before God.
  • There is a warning (in verse 18) to not add anything to what God has given us in his "prophecy."
  • And there is a promise that Jesus is "coming soon." One day Jesus is going to return, and he will bring his followers to be with him in this perfect heaven we see described in Revelation.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Those who choose to follow Jesus have a perfect future in front of them. It will be a place without sin. Can you imagine a place without selfishness or hurting or broken relationships? How amazing will that be?
  • After difficult lives, and a really difficult book to read in Revelation, God wins. No matter what has happened, or is or will happen, the end of the story has already been written. God wins.


NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • How can knowing the end of the story help you to live today? How could it take away fears you have? How could it help you to love, even when it's difficult? How can it help you to believe in God, even when circumstances are crazy?
  • If you have done this reading plan the entire year, congratulations! You have read through the entire New Testament and two books of the Old Testament! If you haven't, you can start fresh tomorrow with next year's reading plan. If you read each day of next year you will read through the entire New Testament, and two different books of the Old Testament. (And if you've read the entire New Testament already, don't worry about reading it again. It will feel fresh, and you'll find new things God is telling you and new ways to apply what you're reading.)