Christ Is King! He Is, and Will Rule Forever!
Solomon ends this book by encouraging his son and each of us to listen carefully to his words, to keep God’s commandments, and to honor God before Whom we one day will stand in final judgment!
Paul spent two years in Rome under house arrest. During that time he preached to all who would listen concerning the kingdom of God and the ultimate return of Jesus Christ—our glorious and eternal King!
Text: Revelation 21:1-7
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."
In Christ Jesus, the “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (cf. Rev. 19:16),dear fellow redeemed:
“Can the world get any worse?” I was asked recently with specific reference to the series of terrorist attacks by radical Islamists in Paris. When you consider all that is going on in our world, things do seem to be getting worse. Terrorist attacks, violent protests, increasing varieties of addictions, widespread sexual slavery, ongoing domestic violence—some might even be tempted to wonder whether God has lost control! That, however, is not the case in spite of the fact that many evil people choose to do horrible things in defiance to the will of our Savior God!
I heard an interview on the radio this past week in which a Palestinian Christian evangelist, who has worked throughout North Africa and the Middle East for many decades, confirmed something I had heard earlier this fall—that right now, more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus than at any time in the past 1,400 years. God is taking terrible things done by people who oppose Him and using those very things to advance His kingdom. This should not surprise us, for Jesus predicted: “On this rock (namely, upon the confession that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). This also confirms the truth expressed by Jesus just before He ascended into heaven: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth!” (Mt. 28:18) Truly, on this last Sunday of the church year—Christ the King Sunday—rest assured, my dear Christian friends: CHRIST IS KING! HE IS AND WILL CONTINUE TO RULE FOREVER! HOW OUGHT WE RESPOND TO THAT TRUTH? The apostle John answers that question near the end of the Revelation. He informs us that we ought to respond with the joy of a bride, with the hope of the rescued, and with the confidence of the victor! Let us consider that powerful revelation!
John saw the following fantastic vision: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This is a vision of the Last Day and the inauguration of God’s heavenly kingdom. The apostle Peter informs us in his 2nd Epistle that when Christ returns on the Last Day “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10b). That would be an absolutely terrifying prospect were it not for the fact that Peter then goes on to tell us: “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). It is that “new heaven and new earth” which John now sees.
It is because of these passages that I believe we can conceive of heaven as being a new Garden of Eden—a virtual paradise more beautiful and wonderful than anything we could ever experience in our present world, or even imagine were we to attempt to modify this world! Notice that John observes that there will be “no more sea.” Why will that be the case? We can truly only speculate on that point, for the Bible does not tell us why. However, the great oceans and seas of our present physical world may well have come about at the time of the flood as part of that divine judgment. Together with the confusion of languages at Babel, the oceans and seas may have been another way God separated sinful mankind, whose “imagination,” the Bible says, “is evil from his youth” (cf. Gen. 8:21), and so limited mankind’s ability to coordinate and escalate sinful rebellion against Him. In heaven, however, there will be no more need to separate people from each other, for sinful rebellion will be no more! There we will all live in harmony with each other and with our God!
John then observes “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This “New Jerusalem” is a reference to us—the believers who make up God’s holy, Christian Church. We have been made holy by the blood of the Lamb (cf. Jn. 1:29; 1 Jn. 1:7). It is among us and with us that Jesus and His Father intend to live throughout eternity. John uses the illustration of a bride preparing for and anticipating the arrival of her husband-to-be on her wedding day to describe each of us being prepared for and anticipating that future life with our Savior God.
There are entire channels on cable television dedicated to weddings and romantic stories of men and women finding their true loves and becoming married. Why are these channels and programs so popular? The reason is because God created us for communion—first with Himself but then also with each other. Sin disturbs, distorts, and destroys that communion! But when Jesus returns, we will experience what God has always intended—the peace, the joy, the love, and the security that only the absence of sin and the presence of our loving Savior King can provide. CHRIST IS KING! HE IS AND WILL RULE FOREVER! HOW OUGHT WE RESPOND TO THAT TRUTH? We ought to respond with the joy of a bride!
We ought to respond, secondly, with the hope of the rescued! John continues: “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.'”
When God freed His people from slavery in Egypt and led them, first, to Mount Sinai and then on to the Promised Land, He had Moses build the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a tent inside of which God symbolically was to reside. When Israel camped throughout the forty years of wandering in the wilderness the tabernacle was pitched in the middle of the encampment to symbolize God’s abiding presence among them. Later the temple of Solomon and the temple of Herod symbolized the very same thing. This is why Jesus, while standing within the temple, could make the rather astonishing claim: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn. 2:19). He was referring to His own body, for He was God standing in the midst of those people at that very moment!
In heaven God will be with and dwell among us. We shall see Him always as He is—no veils (cf. 2 Cor. 3:13); no seeing “in a mirror dimly” (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). Rather, He will be with us, and we will be with Him! We will both see Him and experience Him as He is! What will be the result? He will wipe away our tears. There will be no more sorrow or crying. There will be no more pain, for all of those troubles and trials will be a thing of the distant past.
Recently, a movie entitled “33,” was released. It was the real-life story of 33 Chilean minors caught deep down in a mine with little or no hope to be rescued, but rescued they were. I have not seen the movie, but a central theme, I am sure, will be the trauma experienced by all involved—the miners below and the families above. Tears, fears, sorrows, and the prospects of death no doubt overwhelmed their minds and hearts for over two months until rescue was experienced through the extraction of the miners and reunion was accomplished with their families.
When we arrive in heaven, we will have been rescued not from one tragic experience, but from every evil of all kinds and for all time. Here in this life we even shed tears of joy, but there will not even be need for such tears in heaven, for we will live in a state of perpetual joy. It is with that hope that we can and are to look forward to the coming of our King! CHRIST IS KING! HE IS AND WILL CONTINUE TO RULE FOREVER! HOW OUGHT WE RESPOND TO THAT TRUTH? We ought to respond with the hope of the rescued!
Finally, we ought to respond with the confidence of the victor! John reveals the final portion of his vision by saying: “Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.' And He said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.'”
Before Jesus died, He cried out: “It is finished!” (Jn. 19:30) When Paul informed the Colossian Christians of the meaning of Jesus Christ to them personally, he explained: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10). If indeed God’s plan for our salvation has been completed, and it has; and, if we have absolutely everything we need to stand before God on Judgment Day, and we do—why does God leave us here in this sin-filled world filled with so many challenges? The answer is because “God…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:4-5). God has a plan—an eternal plan for the salvation of His elect (cf. Rom. 8:29-32). He has chosen us to be part of that plan—to be His special “ambassadors” to bring a message of hope in the midst of all of the hopelessness felt by lost human beings in this world (cf. 2 Cor. 5:15-20). The message we are to bring is one of Christ’s victory over sin, over Satan, over death, and over hell! Such a message is intended by God to instill confidence within our hearts!
John’s final vision depicts that message and that victory! Jesus will return and at that time He will “make all things new” in that “new heaven and new earth” mentioned before. These words are true, because Jesus Christ is faithful. Because God has this planned, it is as good as done, because Jesus is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.” God through the power of Jesus, described in the Bible as “the Word” (cf. Jn. 1:1-3), called this world into existence at the beginning of time. The world is presently sustained through that Word, and one day will end when the Word returns in judgment.
What will that mean for you and for me, as well as for every other believing child of God? We will all receive the refreshing waters of life from the fountain of God. We will live forever and inherit all of the blessings of heaven. Our Savior God will claim us in person as His sons and daughters to live in His presence throughout all of eternity! My dear friends, CHRIST IS KING! HE IS AND WILL CONTINUE TO RULE FOREVER! HOW OUGHT WE RESPOND TO THAT TRUTH? We ought to respond with the confidence of the victor!