What will and will not end
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
5 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. 7 And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 8 and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. –Revelation 15:1-8 [ESV]
We just ended a week-long family vacation/celebration of Diane’s and my retirements. The trip was put off for a year (thanks, COVID!). But we finally got almost everyone together. Nine grandchildren. Six sons and wives. The two of us: 17 people in one 12 bedroom 11-½ bath house. Amusement parks. Resort water park. Pool. Games. Food. Fun. Very few tears. Lots of love and good will. It was a great experience: Thanks be to God! Check out the photo at the bottom of this post to get an idea of the fun we had.
But in less than a thousand years all these great memories will be forgotten. Whether through dementia, or the normal fading of memories, or replacement by even more amazing or impactful events. We all have forgotten moments or events that seemed at the time so vitally important. That’s the bad news.
But there is a good side to the temporary nature of all things. It is hinted at here in this passage. The only things that will truly last are the eternally-good things of God. His majesty, glory, grace, and justice will go on forever. His love never ends or wavers. And even the seemingly ceaseless pains and struggles of life will one day come to an end. The seventh bowl of God’s wrath will finally be poured out. The rule of the Beast – Satan himself – will come to an end. He will one day have been finally and fully conquered. It was a done deal when Jesus died on the cross, made more certain by his resurrection from the dead, and will be fully realized in the life of the world to come.
This is the celebration of this hymn of praise here. The righteous acts of God will be fully revealed. The justice of his ways will be vindicated. The hopes of the faithful will be realized. The faith of even the weakest believer will become sight. And all that glory and joy, praise, and delight will go on forever and ever.
So, too, with the memory of those who have served him. For, as recorded in the previous chapter, earlier a heavenly announcement will have been made:
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” – Revelation 14:13
Suffering will one day end. Worldly worries will cease. Troubles will be completely forgotten. Faith will become sight. Hopes will be realized. Temptation, trials, troubles, and tumult will all end. We must remember this and join in the hymns of praise to the One who will replace them with pure joy and true happiness, which will never end.
Bahn Family at Disney | Numbers indicate years of birth