The Beginning at the End
by Burk Parsons
Of all the prayers in the Bible, there is one I am drawn to more often than any other. It is perhaps the shortest prayer in the Bible and is found at the end of the book of Revelation, where the Apostle John prays, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20). This little prayer is one we can pray not only on bad days in the midst of life’s trials and sorrows but on good days in the midst of life’s joys and celebrations. It is a prayer motivated by our passion to see our Lord face to face — that He would consummate His kingdom and His marriage to His Bride, bring us into the promised land of the new heavens and earth, wipe every tear from our eyes, put death to death, and make us unable to sin ever again and ever able to worship and rejoice always and forever.
Our prayer for Jesus’ return isn’t foremost a prayer for the end of the world but a prayer for the culmination of world history. In fact, Jesus’ return isn’t really the end but the beginning — the beginning of life as it was meant to be. It is not just life forever as we know it but an entirely new way of life with no possibility of sin and no threat of death — life that is not merely an escape from the grave, nor merely a return to the garden, but our transformation and our transferal into glory in the joyful presence of Jesus. This is the unimaginable, glorious promise of Scripture from beginning to end — from the first gospel promise of victory in Genesis 3:15 to the promise of the angels at Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:11.
The book of Revelation is the book of John’s apocalypse (his vision or revelation of Jesus Christ), and although we perhaps first think of angels, animals, lampstands, creatures, beasts, rewards, and tribulations when we think of the book of Revelation, we would do well to think first of the perfect, slain, risen, and victorious Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, so that we might fall down before his face, coram Deo, and sing together with the twenty-four elders: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9–10).