Have you ever peeked at the last chapter of a novel? Maybe you hoped to learn the identity of the culprit. Maybe you just wanted to be assured of a happy ending before committing yourself to reading. When it comes to “The Book” (the word Bible comes from the Ancient Greek for “book, paper, or scroll”), we have many good reasons to peek at the ending. The end of the New Testament is found at the Revelation of John. In the last chapter of Revelation, at the end of the Bible, we are reminded of several important truths.
God alone is worthy of worship (Rev. 22:8-9). After being blessed to hear and see everything God chose to show him, John falls down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed him these things. Immediately, John is corrected. Angels, like Christians, are servants of God. Only God is to be worshipped. The angel’s quick and pointed refusal matches what we find elsewhere in the Bible. Peter would not allow Cornelius to worship him (Acts 10:25-26). Paul and Barnabas would not allow the crowds in Lystra to treat them as gods (Acts 14:12-18). Satan was even rebuked by Jesus with the quotation, “you shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matt. 4:8-11). It is noteworthy that Jesus, having the fullness of Godhood, DID receive worship (Matt. 28:9; Col. 2:8-10).
God rewards faithful obedience (Rev. 22:14). Mankind in every age tries to eliminate the need to obey God. We see “commandment-keeping” as getting in the way of our desires. We all know this side of stubbornness, but God blessed those who obey (Deu. 28:1-2). We also find in the Bible that God punishes disobedience. Today, we cannot overlook the truth that failing to obey the Gospel will bring eternal consequences (2 Thess. 1:8). We should be thankful we have a detailed record of the blessing and cursing of God (Deu. 30:15-20; Heb 2:2-3).
God invites all who will come to Him (Rev. 22:17). The concept of “limited atonement” does not fit with Scripture. Jesus personally invited all (Matt. 11:28- 30) and commanded the truth to be spread to all (Mark 16:15-16), because He died for all (1 John 2:2). Simply put, God desires all to be saved (Acts 10:34- 35; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9). The only ones excluded from the blessings of God are those who refuse to obey Him.
God will judge the world by His Son (Rev. 22:20). The last great day is coming, but nobody knows at what time the Lord will return (1 Thess. 5:1-2). The verdict we hear will be based on the standard of Christ’s words (John 12:48). No one is exempt from this judgment. Even the things we may keep hidden from all others will be judged by God (Rom. 2:16; Ecc. 12:14).
The end of the book supplies us with powerful lessons. Knowing the certainty of judgment and the unique character of God, let us come to Him with proper worship and faithful obedience.