REVELATION 22 – New Year Predictions
The New Year of 2009 will be one I’m likely never to forget. It certainly has changed the way I look at a new year. The New Year’s party was out of town that year and it had a “Star Wars” theme. As the evening progressed, a friend asked what my expectations were for the New Year.
I suddenly saw myself on the slope of a grass-covered hill. The crest wasn’t far away but after that was only blue sky. “I don’t know,” I responded after a moment of thoughtful speechlessness. “I can’t see at all beyond the crest of the hill.” 2009 was like a blank cheque for me. I had absolutely no idea at all what to expect.
Apart from a dream I had that New Year – about volcanic activity erupting all around us (I wrote about this in the Preface of my first book Breadcrumbs in the Storm) – it was one of the first years that I didn’t have a plan. In a phone call home to Australia a week or so later, I interpreted my New Year’s dream as a financial meltdown on the back of the 2008 crash. Perhaps something that would hem us in on every side so that we’d not be able to return (permanently) to Australia again. That was the year our Mikey died and “all hell broke loose” right under our feet.
Now we’re once more about to pass by yet another New Year milestone, and I haven’t learnt anything beyond being “ready” and “up for anything”. The motto: Pack your bags with care because, once you’re through the door, almost anything can happen. So whatever the prediction, and based on whatever emotion (excited hope, or concerned worry), I expect that very few of us at all will be looking forward with “advent expectation” – anticipating the future that John saw [v1-2] – even though it’s been written down and preserved now for 2,000 years…
It’s more likely that we’ve tucked away such visions of the future and filed them under: “What will happen when I’m too old to care about having New Year Predictions.” But John was clear that these things “must soon take place”. [v6&10] Problem is, how do you define “soon” when it’s already been 2000 years!
You may remember from the December 13 Breadcrumb that Peter (one of Jesus’ closest friends) once wrote: “Above all, understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They’ll say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’” [2 Peter 3:3-4] This means that every year could be the last year in HIStory, and the first year of eternity where the greatest prediction of all will finally and permanently come true:
“No longer will there be any curse.” [v3a]
Wow! From that infamous day in Genesis Chapter Three[a] – when Father God’s Brave New World unravelled at the seams – through to this last chapter in Revelation, no promise comes even remotely close to these seven little words! For every person on the planet who can look back at this past year, thankful that it’s finally over because it was nothing but a curse from start to finish, this one little sentence (of everything that was ever written in the 1,189 chapter from Genesis to Revelation), is the greatest construction of words ever to be strung together!
Everything negative that’s housed under the umbrella of “curse” (from disappointed hopes to downright horror stories in our personal lives), will most assuredly come to a permanent end as soon as Father God utters the word. Now that’s a prediction worth hoping for in this coming new year! But to imagine future life with every molecule of negativity strained from it, is beyond the capacity of my brain…
“…no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love Him…”[b]
This great and final chapter in the collection of books that make up The Bible, doesn’t stop there. With the curse broken, we’ll finally be able to see our Maker’s face for the first time since Genesis 3:23-24. If this isn’t enough, the Creator God’s Name will be written on our foreheads. [v4] We’ll go about all of Eternity with His Name on us, just as a wife leaves behind her maiden name and goes about with the new name of her husband and Father-in-Law after she is married. The Name has always brought with it full power and full authority.[c]
In the Kingdom of our Maker even something as fundamental to human existence from the very beginning, our light, will be different. [v5] We’ll go back to the days when the story began, a time when there was light and land and vegetation before the sun and moon were created[d] – just as the ancient prophet Zechariah said would happen.[e]
With these things said, John was told not to seal up the prophecy because these things that were said and done were to remain “an open book” something that could happen at any time, in any generation, at any point when Father God gives the word. [v6] When, how, what season, has always been an unanswered question. Jesus said: “…about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”[f] Knowing the little I know about my Father, my guess is that He wants us to have FAITH – to be expectant and ready even when there’s no indicator, always in hope and continually looking to the horizon for any sign of His promises coming true.[g]
With my choice now to be focused on the “here and now” (predicting what I want to accomplish in the coming year), or to set my sights on things above[h], it’s worth remembering that in all the stories, the predictions always came true, just as the prophet said they would. It happened before, in the natural history of a single nation. It can happen again, this time in the supernatural, and for the whole world.
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” [v7]
Two more things were said that interested me. First that the Messenger pointed John back to worshipping God. If anyone is concerned that Jesus Followers put more emphasis on Jesus at the expense of Father God, here is the second time that John fell on his face before this divine being – “…I, Jesus, have sent my Angel…” [v16] – but the honour is directed back to Father God. [v9] Although the waters can look murky, Jesus always pointed people back to Father God. Through His life, death and resurrection, Jesus has proven His full submission to God Most High, the God and Father of us all.
The second thing that was very interesting is that although He said that He was coming soon, He also said, “Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” [v11] It doesn’t make sense that someone who has been preaching repentance and change for 4,000 years – first through the Law and the prophets, then through Jesus and the Jews who wrote in His name – can now say, “Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong…”
This I think is the scariest bit of all that’s written in this epic Play. It’s as if the clock is about to strike twelve and now there’s no time left to change those who are refusing to change. Enough time has gone into the Creator’s ultimate dream: “…that none should perish but all may have eternal life…”[i], and now He’s focused on seeing the separation between those who’ve chosen to “get on board” and those who won’t. Now His words are very strong:
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs…” [v14-15a]
Strong also is the warning to change any part of His book and since the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation became a single book in the third century AD, Believers have put that warning over the whole of the Creator’s prophetic message to mankind from start to finish. Now one thing remains – and it’s one prayer that’s been prayed consistently for hundreds of thousands of times during the past 2000 years.[j] This means that it could certainly be answered at any moment…
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” [v16-17] “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” [v20]
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. [v21]
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Genesis 3:16-19
[b] 1 Corinthians 2:9
[c] Exodus 23:20-21
[d] Genesis 1:1-19
[e] Zechariah 14:7
[f] Matthew 24:36
[g] 1 Kings 18:44 (Context whole chapter)
[h] Colossians 3:1-4
[i] John 3:16
[j] Matthew 6:10