1/16: The Revelation (Revelations 19-20, Psalm 47)

Your journey through the Bible is nearly complete! Now is a great time to watch the Heaven and Earth theme video. The union of heaven and earth is what the story is all about. In Revelation we are about to get an idea of what this will look like.
 
A New Heaven & A New Earth
The Bible is a stunning piece of literature, even If you don’t believe anything written in it! It was penned by at least 40 traditional authors (inestimably more contributed in some capacity) and written in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. In reality, we know many languages were used to pass down oral stories from the earliest times in the biblical narrative until they were later codified in the book and language we find them in today. However, what is more impressive yet, is the story it is telling.
It tells the epic story of God and his creation, of blessing, temptation, sin, exile, and salvation. For those of us reading this today, we have the advantage of knowing the entire story was leading to Jesus. All in all, it is an epic book telling an even more epic story, which begs the question, how does it end? That, my friends, is the book of Revelation, a story about Babylon, Jesus, and judgment, which is too much to cover in one blog, so we are going to focus on the very end-of-the-end of the most epic story ever told.
 
With that, we jump to “the end” (Rev. ch 21 & 22 Revelation 21, Revelation 22). The Revelation concludes with a final vision of the marriage of heaven and earth where an angel shows John a stunning bride that symbolizes the new creation that has come forever to join God and his covenant people. God announces that He’s come to live with humanity forever and that He’s making all things new.
 
Wait, wait, wait before we “jump” too far and start concluding what exactly we are reading here, we should take a moment to appreciate the level of symbology and metaphor that Jewish apocalyptic writers used. They would employ to convey massive theological truths in way’s that invested their words with the cosmic meaning the prophet believed them to possess. The Revelation is no exception, so there is a lot of symbolism to wade through to get to the meaning.
 
Ok! Now, lets dive in
 
Symbols of a New Creation
At this moment, the earth is cut off from the full life of heaven. I don’t think we have to look too far before we can confirm this by mere observation. Crime, inequality, rampant greed, and selfishness—to use a biblical metaphor, creation groans like a woman in childbirth. But the new creation is here, taking form even when we can’t see it. We do sense hints of it now and then, though, just like we might make out an elbow or foot poking from within a pregnant woman’s belly. One day it will be pushed forth into life, like a new baby emerging from the womb.
So, let’s talk a little more about this rebirth because it’s where this whole story is going! We have to remember that we can easily get lost in some of the details here. John is using apocalyptic symbols and metaphors to describe this event, just like the Old Testament prophets used poetry. He wasn’t transcribing a video-perfect version of what was to come. Instead, he was attempting to express an unexplainable conviction that sometimes only metaphors and symbols will suffice.
 
This then begs the question, what symbols is he using to convey this future hope?
 
Chapter 19 – Rejoicing in Heaven
1 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2 BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTSON HER.”
 
3 And a second time they said,
 
“Hallelujah! HER SMOKE RISES UP FOREVER AND EVER.”
 
4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying,
 
“Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”
 
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
 
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;
 
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
 
The Rider on a White Horse
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Chapter 20 – The Thousand Years
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
 
The Defeat of Satan
7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
 
Judgment Before the Great White Throne
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
 
Psalm 47 – God Is King over All the Earth
1 O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
2 For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
3 He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
4 He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves.
Selah.
5 God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
8 God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.
9 The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham,
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is highly exalted.