Where do you place your hope? Back in my first post about Revelation, I shared that it’s a book of hope. In Chip Ingram’s last sermon in his series, he finishes up the book and explains how important it is that we place our hope in Jesus.

I think we all tend to place our hope in things that could be gone in a second: health, relationships, career, achievements, etc. When our view is limited to the world around us, it’s easy to feel hopeless. Instead, we should place our hope in what Revelation shows us: Jesus will come back and make everything right.

By living with this perspective, we can apply this hope one day at a time, and live with a hopeful focus of what’s to come rather than feeling lost in the despair all around us. As Chip pointed out, we can remember Jesus is our:

Our Deepest Hopes Fulfilled

Revelation 20-22 shows us how God will fulfill our deepest hopes so we can endure life’s storms.

The hope to live in a world as it should be

When we see the injustice around us, we know this isn’t how things should be. But these things will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom. 

As a reminder, this is the 1,000 years after the tribulation. Jesus will rule in the perfect environment with no evil. Satan will be locked in the Abyss. There will be government, politics, families, etc., but it will be as it ought to be. People will get along; there will be harmony.

Who will be the people in this kingdom? 

  • Old Testament saints.
  • New Testament saints.
  • Those martyred during the tribulation.
  • Those that were faithful during the tribulation.

Then these people will have kids, and their descendents will have the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus or turn away from Him once Satan is released.

After 1,000 years, Satan will be released and he’ll deceive the nations. Then there will be one last battle and he’ll be thrown in the lake of fire.

What can we learn from this? Chip points out:

  • Once again, we’ll see God’s justice.
  • After 1,000 years, we’ll see the issue is our hearts. Even without sin in the world, we want control.

The hope for all wrongs to be made right

This hope will be fulfilled at the great white throne judgment. As John 5:22-30 explains, Jesus will execute judgment over everyone of all time. 

In Matthew 12:37, Jesus says we’ll be judged on every careless word and our works. Romans 2:15 also says that God will reveal the secret thoughts of our heart, and our conscious will be our judge. I may seem like a “good person” in general, but I’m definitely guilty of speaking carelessly and having a hard heart sometimes.

But the point of this is to show unbelievers that we’re all being judged fairly: no works or deeds are good enough. We all need a Savior. The good news is that, as believers, our sins are already forgiven!

Sometimes I wonder why God’s plan is to do everything this way. But I’ve seen Him masterfully coordinate the details of my life enough that I trust it’s better than anything I could come up with. I liked Chip’s perspective on this:

  • God’s desire is that no one will perish. 
  • He’s also showing us that no one will get a raw deal.
  • God is going to continue revealing himself to the world, but He won’t force people to turn to Him. If you want to go your own way, He’ll let you–that’s what hell is.

The Truth About Hell

Despite what our culture says about hell, this section of Revelation shows us some actual details about it. Chip pointed out:

  • It’s separation from Christ.
  • It’s real and necessary–also terrible, eternal, and literal.
  • It fulfills the ultimate justice and retribution.
  • It’s the final destination for those who don’t want any part of God: sin can’t be in heaven.

As C.S. Lewis wrote:

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find to those who knock, it is opened.

This is a good reminder for me that I should be continuing to ask God for opportunities to share Jesus with others, and that when He gives me an opportunity I’m bold enough to take it.

The hope for a love that will last forever

I am a huge sucker for romantic movies (like many others). I think there’s a reason for that: we all have an innate desire to be loved and accepted for exactly who we are. No matter what.

The good news is Revelation shows us that we’ll get to experience that! This section of Revelation shows us:

Life on New Earth

All of this will take place on New Earth. The current earth will be refreshed, renewed, and glorified–turned into the earth as it’s intended to be. Everything in the new world will be new.

It’s hard to imagine what life will be like in that world, but Revelation says God himself will be with us. We’ll see, know, and enjoy loved ones from the current earth. Our deepest desires and longings will be exponentially fulfilled. There won’t be any death, sorrow, sin, or disappointment. 

But it’s not some sort of vague clouds-in-the-sky thing. It’s real life: full of music, arts, and adventure! Chip stopped to compare our culture’s perception of heaven with the descriptions of New Earth we see in the Bible.

But it’s not some sort of vague clouds-in-the-sky thing. It’s real life: full of music, arts, and adventure! Chip stopped to compare our culture’s perception of heaven with the descriptions of New Earth we see in the Bible.

What We Assume About Heaven
What the Bible Says About Heaven
Not earth New earth
Unfamiliar/other-worldly Familiar/earthly
Disembodied souls Resurrection in body
Foreign Home: comforts of home with innovations of God
Leaving favorite things behind Retain the good, find the best ahead
No time, no space New time and space
Static Dynamic
Neither old or new, just strange and unknown Both old and new, familiar
Boring Fascinating
Loss of desire Continuous fulfillment of desire
Absence of terrible, but presence of little we desire Presence of the wonderful, everything we desire and things we haven’t imagined, beyond our wildest dreams

Chip wrapped it up with the explanation that heaven is everything you’ve tasted of desire and more: more intimacy, beauty, and satisfaction. “If it’s a thimble here, we’ll get an ocean of it in eternity.”

What Do We Do Now?

Revelation ends with some last instruction from Jesus. He says He’s coming soon, so obey what you know and worship God.

Yes, it’s been thousands of years since this book was written, but God’s made it pretty clear we need to be ready for Him to come back at any point. 

I like how Chip wrapped it up: By continuing to pursue God, our hearts are transformed so we can see Him more accurately for who he is. He gets bigger, we get smaller. 

We may still be here, where we see and experience pain, sadness, and suffering. But this life is temporary. Our King will return. We can place our hope in Him. Everything will be made right and will be far better than what we could ever imagine!

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