THE END!: It feels surreal and crazy for me as I sit here typing these words, but today is the final step on a 2-year devotional journey through the Bible. If you’ve been following along for the last 2 years I have 2 things to say to you: 1. Congratulations! You’ve read the entire Bible. It’s a good one to have on your “books I’ve read” list. And it’s not an easy commitment to make. So pat yourself on the back. 2. Thank you! When I set out to do this I had no idea how much time and thought it would take or how fun and personally enriching it would be. I just wanted to create something that was easily accessible that equipped people to actually dig into God’s word, understand it a little better, and see how it applied to their lives. It has been an awesome adventure, and I deeply appreciate everyone who has followed along and made it worth doing. So, congrats and thanks so much from the bottom of my heart.
NOW WHAT?: I have no idea. I think, for now, I’m going to take a break from writing or finding new devotions to post. But I own the domain for another year at least. So the plan, I guess, is to start over at the very beginning and then repost all of the old devotions daily, Genesis-Revelation, all the way through once again. If that plan changes, I’ll let you know.
READ: Revelation 22
THINK: In 1943, Nazi soldiers herded the citizens of Khatyn into a barn, piled hay around it, and set it on fire, killing all 149 people inside. After the war, Khatyn, in the former Soviet Union, was chosen as the site for a memorial to the more than 600 villages across Belarus that shared a similar fate.
It’s a somber place to visit. You’re greeted by a 4-story-high statue of a man who had been in the woods during the Khatyn massacre. He is holding the limp, charred body of his son. You see foundations where the homes once stood. From each of them rises a chimney with a plaque inscribed with the names of the people who died.
At one end of Khatyn is a “tree of life.” This black iron tree contains more than 400 “leaves,” and on each one is the name of a destroyed village that was rebuilt after the war. They represent the resilience and hope of the people of Belarus. And it’s fascinating to think about. The leaves represent healing. They represent things being remade, made whole and made new once again.
This is the same picture we get in Revelation. Only it’s not just Belarus being remade after the horrors of the Second World War. It’s every tribe and nation on the planet. Ezekiel had prophecied that the leaves of the Tree of Life would have healing power, and now John confirms that they do and that the healing power is for the purpose of the healing nations.
Incredibly, the Bible ends right where it began. In case you thought there wasn’t a thread woven throughout and all of the narratives, poems, and prophecies weren’t intricately interwoven as part of one giant narrative of creation and redemption, Revelation 22 removes doubt by taking us back to Eden. John concludes his vision with the Tree of Life. The tree that Adam and Eve had eaten from and then been cursed. Only John says that at the end of all things the curse will be removed and all things will be set right.
The world we live in is broken and messed up because of sin, because of its destructive legacy handed down from Adam and Eve that day in the Garden. And everywhere we look we see the results of the curse. And, sadly, evil is a reality that isn’t going away anytime soon. Revelation 22 basically tells us that in verse 11 when the angel says, “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.” That’s not a statement about abandoning people to their sin on an individual level. Not at all. It’s an observation that there will always be sin and brokenness until Christ returns. That both righteousness and evil will exist in contrast to one another.
But Revelation 22 guarantees us that this is not the end. Sin is not the end. Brokenness is not the end. Death is not the end. The thread woven through the Bible from beginning to end will one day come to complete fruition. God will redeem the world, he will heal up all of it’s brokenness, and his people will live eternally with him in the world that he has set right, perfected, and made new in his love. And Jesus is coming again to see that it happens. I cannot help but think about that and echo the words of John. Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
Rest in that hope today. Rest in that hope every single day of your life. Rest in the hope, be filled up with the hope, be emboldened by the hope that no matter what happens to you – whether it’s a small hurt or an atrocity on the level of Khatyn – Jesus is coming and he is going to make all things new and set all things right forever.
PRAY: Thank God for his redemptive action on behalf of humanity. Take a moment to marvel at the way the Bible is woven together, from beginning to end, with this incredible theme of God reaching into the brokenness of human history, even after we rejected him, to bring forgiveness and reconciliation, healing and hope to us. Worship him for that. Thank him for making beautiful things out of the dust and the brokenness of our lives. Thank him for the hope that we live with at every moment that this is not the end and we’ll one day live in perfection with him.