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God’s Final Say
What is the last thing that God said to us?
Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 29, In the year of our Lord, 2016
What were his last words? We want to know what someone said before he died, because it signals something important thing in his life. Preachers have built sermons on the last things Jesus said on the cross:
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt 27.46; Mark 15.34; Psa 22.1)
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23.34)
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23.43).
“Woman, behold your son!” “Behold your mother!” (John 19.26–27).
“I thirst!” (John 19.28).
“It is finished!” (John 19.30).
“Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit’” (Luke 23.46; Psa 31.5).
I presented those in the order that He probably said them, especially the last three. We consider all His words important, but just before He died, we get a glimpse of what mattered to Him most.
- He loved God.
- He loved His enemies.
- He loved the penitent.
- He loved His family and friends.
- He had needs.
- He loved His work.
- He loved Scripture, quoting it twice.
The Book of Revelation records the last words of God to the human race and to the church. What did He say? He did not say more about the life and ministry of Jesus. He did not reveal new information about the structure of the church.
He shows us Jesus and the church in ways we do not see in other Scriptures. So try to read the Book of Revelation without thinking you have to solve a puzzle or riddle. Read it with wonder. Picture in your mind all the things that He shows us. Hear in your mind all the things that He says to us. Have a heart that says, Wow, so these are God’s Last Words!
God’s Final Say
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near (Rev 1.1–3).
Read the Book of Revelation with wonder, and do not let all the images you see bewilder you. John shows us what he saw and heard, and tasted and felt emotionally. When you read you experience what he experienced. John painted heavenly scenes with images of Earth.
See Revelation as God’s summary or conclusion of His revelation of Himself to us who live our lives in the shadow of His wing.
Remember that John was in the Spirit when he received the Revelation. The Roman government had exiled him to an island, because of His preaching and teaching of the word of God, “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1.9). Powerful governments try to silence the message of the word, but governments cannot chain the word of God, for if man tries, it will find that the word will increase and that government will decrease. What happened to the Roman government? It decreased. What happened to the church? It increased. What happened to communist Russia? It decreased. What happened to the church? It increased. Now that Russia has given up on atheism, the nation has turned around greatly, so that amazingly, the leader of Russia has told America that we have forgotten our Christian roots! The Book of Revelation shows that although governments appears victorious against the church, governments will eventually perish because of their opposition to the church.
Filled with Images of God
When you start reading the Book of Revelation you will discover that you will be like John, totally engrossed in what God reveals. Do you think John distracted himself with the issues of the day? If you read it with wonder even as John experienced, do you think the issues of the day shall distract you? Read it without trying to figure out what everything means. Read it to see, to hear, and to feel what John saw, heard, and felt. Do not try to control the message, let the message control you.
Yes, it is the Book of Revealing, but in revealing how He works behind the scenes, He also wants us to know that we cannot know everything,
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them” (Rev 10.1–4).
When He decided to close up His word, He wanted us to know that with the vision to John, God had completed His word, so although we do not hear from Him as apostles and prophets did, the Book of Revelation shows that He has not gone away, but that He has all things under His control, because we may not think that He does. Read and see who runs the universe, the church, our nation, and you.
The Book of Revelation gets our eyes off a present crisis, and shows us that we should think on God. God should fill our hearts. People fill their hearts with fear, but the Lord shows us the way of calm and peace. When we live that way in front of people and it draws them to the beauty residing in our souls. Here is the spirit that I want,
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments (Hab 3.17–19).
Those eleven lines comprised a song! We can sing during depressing times about our God! When our government puts itself way over its head in debt, when the government threatens schools to let everyone use whatever restroom and locker room they desire, when the government does more and more to silence the church, when potential presidential candidates make us ask, Isn’t there someone in this huge nation that has godly character?, when Islam grows faster than we are, when culture and government and every other part of our society accepts homosexuality, the Book of Revelation reminds us that God runs the show. He knows what has happened to our culture.
The Book of Revelation reminds us that we started with God and He will see our completion, that all creation started with God and He will end all things, that we came from God and we shall go to God.
Not Interpretation, But Wonder
The typical person reads the Book of Revelation as a calendar. They read it to know when everything ends, and to know the signs of the end. When you read the first 65 Books, you have all the information you need for getting to heaven, but you may not see how all those Books fit together. God blesses us with a Book of unimaginable imagination, bringing everything together for us.
When we open the pages of the Bible for the first time, we watch God create everything, and we agree with Him quickly, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen 1.31). And we know that everything will be wonderful in the end, “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” (Rev 21.1). God’s Final Say shows that He is the Beginning and the End of all things, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Rev 1.8). “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Rev 1.11). “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’” (Rev 1.17–18). If the beginning was good and if the ending will be good, should not the middle, the slot where we live, be good? So it seems, but it is not. True, we have moments of unexcelled bliss, but then we run into a brick wall. Depending upon the wall, we fear, we hurt, or we get frustrated.
During this time in the middle, the Lord gives us His Scriptures and His church. The Book of Revelation closes the Scriptures and comforts the church.
What then shakes your soul today? Do you have a queasy feeling inside, questioning how things will turn out?
Do not forget God’s Final Say to you! He knows what makes you fear. He knows how your soul trembles. What then does He say to you as His Last Words? If you read it as a timetable in which you have to figure everything out, you will get frustrated, but if you read it, seeing what John saw, hearing what John heard, tasting what John tasted, and feeling what John felt, you will see why God gave you the Book of Revelation! Read it and experience wonder and victory.
Yes, the Book of Revelation shows that someday all things on Earth will end, and that we will all stand before God at the Judgment. Are you ready for that Judgment? Do you know how to get ready?