THE END OF THE BEGINNING - Rev. G. VanDooren (bio)
The End of the Walk
We have to cut short our walk through Revelation, because, as has been explained before, our time was up. But is the walk indeed unfinished? We do not think so. The end of chapter 20 is the end of the thousand years, of this age. Now we have arrived at the gate of the heavenly Jerusalem, our destination. This end is a new beginning.
In chapters 21 and 22 we find more than just a "back-door for the soul", as still many people practically believe. This life, this world with all the joys and the fun, comes to an end. But we have an immortal soul! The body they may kill. But they cannot kill the soul, Matthew 10:28. Backdoor for the soul.
But that is not the message of the closing chapters of the Bible!
The other day, during a discussion of Revelation 20, 1 was asked if we can talk about heaven "in human terms." Then one is surprised of how many obviously popular ideas there are among us about "heaven". Negative answers are given to questions like, shall we know others, and shall they know me? Shall we recognize each other? Can we have heavenly joy in case we miss some there, even of our own flesh and blood? Shall we remember anything of our life as we lived it in this vale of tears?
Such questions are to be answered with a No. One wonders what is left of our confession in Lord's Day 22: that not only my soul ... but that also this my body
This my body.
Our individuality will be preserved, of course! We will not become angels. We will not become anonymous numbers, like in a concentration camp!
There are many more questions.
What shall we have to do there? Singing for ever? Or shall we also have to do other things, to "fill the time"? Will there still be time? And so on.
But John saw a new heaven and a new earth.
He described what he saw, and yet it is beyond description. What no eye has seen, no ear heard ...
Also these last chapters should be read in the light of what has been. 1 am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. In the end the beginning is remembered and fulfilled.
That is why the new paradise is painted with the lines and colours of the old, the first paradise. There is the tree of life, then forbidden, now accessible for all. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations!
And Jerusalem is still there! No, not the Jerusalem in Palestine where according to many, the Messiah of the Jews will return for a thousand years to complete the unfinished business of sitting on the throne of David and fulfilling the prophecies for the Jews. But the Jerusalem of which Paul wrote, But, the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother, Gal. 4:26.
And there is the Bride, prepared for her husband.
Once, long ago, the LORD betrothed a people unto Himself and called her His bride, His wife. He was her Husband! But, as the prophet Jeremiah lamented repeatedly, the voice of the bride was banished. And Hosea said to the individual Israelites, say to your mother that she is not my wife any more, and I am no longer her Husband. Lo-Ammi, Lo- Ruchama.
That will not happen again. Because this time the Bride is bought and washed with the Blood of the Lamb, and He is her Bridegroom. John heard it: Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
And there is the number twelve again. Twelve tribes, twelve apostles, twelve gates, open to all the four corners of the earth.
There are the precious stones, the names of which are borrowed from the pattern of the tabernacle that the LORD showed to Moses on the mountain. These are the same precious stones that Ezekiel saw in his vision of the new temple.
I am the beginning and the end. It all now comes to final fulfilment. A separate temple is not needed any more. The whole city is temple because the LORD will dwell among His people in a way as He never yet did before. Indeed, beyond description.
All the Scriptures will then have been fulfilled; all the elect gathered; all enemies, even the last one, destroyed; all weeds separated from the wheat; all sins blotted out; all tears wiped away.
And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the LORD God will be their light.
The answers tumble over each other.
So do the questions; they multiply.
The other day a medical scientist wrote something like this: lately medical science has discovered a mountain of knowledge about the human body, even unto the smallest genes. But the more we discover, the more the mysteries multiply, and so do our questions. There is no end on this road of discovery.
So it is with the study of these closing chapters of God's Holy Word. So it will be when the new earth descends from heaven, and heaven descends on earth.
How did Paul say it again? And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of God, are being changed from one degree of glory to another. . ., 11 Cor. 3:18.
There is no end to new discoveries. Is that why the Father, our Creator, made the universe so immeasurably large?
And He will be everything to everyone.
Isn't that the highest purpose and destination of man? Not only to know the LORD, but to enjoy God?
That's why the Spirit and the bride say, Come.
Surely I am coming soon.
Amen, come Lord Jesus!
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