Daily Bible Reading Reflections

Last Book, Last Page, Last Words

Choosing last words can be quite the challenge. What’s the best, most effective and thought-provoking way to wrap up a crucial conversation? A Bible class? An article? A sermon? A book? What do we want to leave our audience with when it’s all said and done? Many of us struggle on that front.

But the Bible? How could you possibly conclude the written revelation of Almighty God to mankind? With 66 books produced over the span of 1,500 years using dozens of different authors, how do you round off such an incredible masterpiece? I’m pretty sure I’d struggle with that for multiple lifetimes, but God didn’t. His Book has a last page with last words. As I read them, a few of those words really stand out.

“The river of the water of life” (22:1). It’s described as bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. After a lifetime of wandering past mirages, knowing better, but still sometimes trying to drink the sand and coming away bitterly disappointed yet again, here is life. The water of life. An entire river, flowing, never-ending, sourced by the Giver and Sustainer of life.

“The tree of life” (22:2). What was lost on Page 3 of the Bible is highlighted on its last page. Accessible once again. Thriving. Offered. Enjoyable. Its leaves will be for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed to threaten or take advantage of it. In fact, all curses will have been decisively dealt with and banished. Here, sinners who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb will “have the right” to the tree of life (22:14). Unhindered. Unobstructed. Unashamed.

“Worship” (22:3). The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the midst of God’s people, and they will sing the praises of him who is worthy of blessing and honor and glory and might with voices that never fade or fail.

“They will see his face” (22:5). Night will be no more. Shadows will no longer deepen. Tears won’t cloud our vision. Death will never close another eye. There will be no mourning, no crying, no pain. Those will be “former things” that have “passed away” (21:4). There will be no need for lamp or sun. God’s glorious face, now fully revealed, will provide the light.

“Forever and ever” (22:5). No timer. No countdown. No expiration date. No end.

“These words are trustworthy and true” (22:6). Their author abounds in steadfast love. They are rooted in the unchangeable character of his eternal purpose. He is not fickle and he cannot lie. He is perfectly, infinitely faithful, and he will surely do what he has promised.

“Blessed” (22:7). Infinitely happy and satisfied will be those who trust and obey the God of infinite faithfulness.

“I am coming soon.” You see, the last page of the Book isn’t the end of the Story. It’s finished, but forward-looking. “Behold” (22:7, 12). “Surely” (22:20). The long-awaited King will return. Could it be today?

“Come” (22:17). To all who are thirsty and famished, heavy laden and weary, the invitation stands. The Spirit invites. The Bride encourages as the Bridegroom patiently waits a little longer. The path has been blazed, the truth has been revealed, the price has been paid. “Let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

“I warn” (22:18). God means what he says. His word is not idle or empty, but living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. Nothing–no action or thought or intention of the heart–can be hidden from him. All are exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. My share in the tree of life and the holy city is on the line. Heaven and hell are in the balance. What could I possibly enjoy here for a few days, weeks, months, years, or decades that would be worth the consequences of failing to take his warnings seriously?

“Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20). This is the cry of a citizen of heaven whose mind is set on things above.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psa 63:1)

If his steadfast love really is better than life (Psa 63:3), why wouldn’t the deepest cry of my heaven bound heart be, “Come”? “I’m ready. I’m eager. Come.”

“Grace” (22:21). Of all the ways to conclude, the last page of the last book in the greatest Book ever written ends on this note: Grace is real. Grace is alive. Grace is personal. Grace is available. Grace is abundant. Grace is the way to victory. Sin and Satan and death don’t have to have the last word in your story. No, your story, your song for all eternity, can be grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

May it be so.