The Storyline’s Resolution
I grew up knowing a lot of stories in the Bible, but actually, it hasn't been until more recently that I could begin to understand the Bible as one story that begins there at creation in the original garden in Genesis and works its way over the history books and the wisdom books and the prophets and the Gospels and the epistles.
And then we come to the book of Revelation, and it's not simply another book in the Bible. It's the final book of the Bible. And so perhaps my favorite part of the book of Revelation is the final two chapters. It's such a fitting end not only to the book of Revelation, but to the Bible as a whole.
In the final two chapters of Revelation, we discover a resolution to so many of the storylines, or themes and images, that have been such a vivid part of the Bible story ever since the Garden of Eden. Ever since the first three chapters of the Bible, you've got the imagery of marriage—which began in the garden and comes to such a beautiful conclusion, or actually, a new beginning, as this marriage between Christ and his bride is consummated in Revelation. There is the imagery of a city, which throughout the story of the Bible has been somewhat troubling.
Oftentimes, the city has been a place that has rejected God, but at the end of Revelation—in chapters 21 and 22—we've got this city in which God himself dwells, and it is full of his glory. It's what the city was always meant to be from the beginning of the Bible. We've had this idea of sanctuary or temple, and throughout the Bible story it becomes a place that's actually sullied with idolatry.
At the end of Revelation . . . we've got this city in which God himself dwells, and it is full of his glory.
And then we see Christ coming, who is the temple in the Gospels. But then into the new creation and Revelation 21 and 22 we see this final glorious temple. It's not built of limestone in a city in the Middle East. No, the temple covers the whole of creation.
And then there's the beautiful theme of a garden itself. The Bible story begins in a garden and the Bible story ends in a garden, except this garden is even better than the original garden. It is more abundant. It's more secure. And so I love this ending to Revelation because not only does it set something out for us to set our hearts on to long for—living in that city and worshiping in that temple and being satisfied in that and enjoying that marriage—it's a fitting, satisfying end to the whole of the story of the Bible.
Nancy Guthrie is the author of Blessed: Experiencing the Promise of the Book of Revelation.
The challenge greater than understanding the book may be opening ourselves up to the adjustments in our lives this book calls for. Yet this greater challenge is also what promises the greatest blessing.
Revelation is actually less about when Jesus will return and more about what we are to do, who we are to be, and what we can expect to endure as we wait for Jesus to return to establish his kingdom.
Nancy Guthrie discusses the book of Revelation and how we actually can understand its central message, encouraging us to accept the blessing promised to those who “hear and keep” this book.
Nancy Guthrie discusses why the book of Revelation is actually more accessible, more timely, and more encouraging than you probably know.