At Last

Biblical End Times Apocalypse art image (painting) of Jesus the Bridegroom with the Bride of Christ, the Church. Book of Revelation 19, 21 and 22.They're standing together at the pearl gates of heaven. There is a wedding gate full of flowers.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES SERIES

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ONFS, 120 cm x 160 cm (47″ x 63″), Acrylic on Canvas, Prints Available
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“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb [Jesus] has come, and his bride [believers in Jesus] has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God’…

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’

He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God…Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life’…

The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.’

‘Behold, I [Jesus] am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.’…

‘Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’

The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!” And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” (excerpts from Revelation 19-22)

God chose the relationship of a bridegroom and a bride (as well as a Father to a child) to illustrate the kind of love and relationship God has with his people, those who have trusted in Jesus as their Savior. (See “Message” on how to enter into this relationship with Jesus Christ.)

The deepest need and desire of every single one of us is to be loved unconditionally. We need a deep, strong love that reaches into the very deepest, neediest, hungriest parts of our souls and fully satisfies us. We need a faithful, committed love that stays with us through absolutely everything and never forsakes us. We need a great big, unchanging kind of love that remains with us despite all of our frailties, faults and failures. We need a forgiving, patient and enduring love that always forgives us, bears with us in our weaknesses, meets us wherever we are at and always takes us back whenever we wander away. We need to be desired and wanted by someone. We need to be known and understood by someone. Humans fall far short of continually meeting all our needs; what we need is divine love.

This is the kind of love God has toward us.

In fact, God loves us so much that he willingly came to earth to suffer and die for us (Romans 5:6-11) so that we could be reconciled to him and experience a loving, personal relationship with him throughout eternity.

Our sins are what have separated us from God (Romans 3:23). God in his justice has declared that the punishment for our sins is death and hell (Romans 6:23).  But because God loves us and does not want us to go to hell, he provided the way for us to be saved from our sins and their penalty.

He came to earth as the man Jesus Christ, to live the perfect, sinless life none of us could live. Jesus then took our sins upon himself and bore the full punishment for them through his death on the cross. He rose from the dead three days later, making reconciliation with God possible.

In order to be forgiven of your sins and reconciled to God you must first repent (confess and turn away) from your sins. Second, you must trust in Jesus to save you from your sins, believing that he died to pay the full punishment for your sins.  (See “Message”).

We who have believed in Jesus as Savior and who have surrendered our lives to him as Lord have entered into a covenant relationship with God that is similar to a marriage covenant (in part), for it is one of faithful, committed love. We are Christ’s Bride, and he is coming back to take us to be with him:

Jesus said to those who believed in him, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-4, 6)

“But now he [Jesus] has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:26-28)

Our heart’s cry as the Bride of Christ is to be with Jesus. We earnestly long for the day when, at last, we will see him face to face, walk by his side and worship him forever and ever (1 Peter 1:8-9). We believers know him now, and because we know him, we love him. Because we love  him we long to be close to him–so close that we are one with him.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, will be consummated on the day when we are (spiritually) wed to him as his Bride in heaven (Revelation 19:6-9; 21-22). That is, our desire for spiritual intimacy and oneness with Jesus (and his desire for oneness with us, John 17:20-26) will be brought to perfection and completion when he has removed the things that rupture the practical oneness of our relationship with him (that is, our flesh/sinful nature and the devil, 1 Corinthians 15:35-57, Revelation 19:19-21; 20:7-10, Matthew 13:40-41).

(Positionally we were made one with Christ at the moment we believed in him and received him as Savior (1 Corinthians 6:17). Positionally that oneness can never again be ruptured–John 10:28-29, Hebrews 10:14, but the practical, perfect experience of oneness will only happen when our flesh is stripped from us through death or the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-55, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18) and the devil is removed (Revelation 20:10).)

Much of my Signs of The Times Series of artwork has focused on the issue of sin and God’s End Times wrath and judgment on account of sin. Yet these are not the ultimate focal point of the End Times.

God’s ultimate goal in the consummation of the Ages is to bring everything back under the manifest rule and reign of Jesus Christ:

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [believers in Jesus who have died]. For since death came through a man [Adam in the Garden of Eden], the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man [Jesus Christ]. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all [who believe in him] will be made alive [be resurrected]. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes [returns], those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he ‘has put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

Jesus is coming back to restore God’s divine order for heaven, earth and mankind and to destroy forever all that has corrupted it. Jesus is coming back for his Bride. The wedding of the Lamb and his Bride in heaven is the everlasting restoration of God’s divine order for mankind (Revelation 19:6-9; 21-22). It is the restoration of the Paradise that was lost through the Fall of Adam into sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

Therefore the Return of Jesus Christ is our supreme hope as believers.

A future time period called “The Tribulation” will mark the beginning of God’s destruction of those who corrupt his divine order through their sin and who refuse to receive his gracious offer of forgiveness and reconciliation through faith in Jesus. (See “The Tribulation” (Signs of The Times Series).)

After the Tribulation and other events every soul will be resurrected, some to everlasting life, others to everlasting torment (Daniel 12:2, Luke 16:19-31, Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20:11-15). Jesus will separate his people (his Bride) from those who are not his people (Matthew 25:31-46).

God’s people, having within their earthly lifetimes trusted in Jesus to pay the full punishment for their sins, will enter into heaven to be with God forever. Their sins were removed through their faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through their faith God imputed the sinlessness of Jesus Christ to them; thus God has made them worthy through the merits of Christ alone (and not through their own insufficient moral merits–Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:4-8, Romans 3:23-25, Hebrews 7-10) to enter into God’s holy presence in heaven. They will be with God forever, as God himself declares:

“”Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’

He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.'” (Revelation 21:3-7)

Conversely, those who have persisted in their sins and have rejected God’s gracious free gift of forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior will pay the full punishment for their sins, which is an eternity in hell:

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life [which records all the names of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior]. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire…the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8)

Jesus also tells us a parable about the separation of his people from those who are not his people and of the final judgment:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat had sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’…

The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man [Jesus]. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43)

God loves us dearly, and he takes no pleasure in pouring out his wrath upon people or sending them to hell (Ezekiel 33:11). That is why, at his own great personal cost, he went to such great lengths to provide the way for us to be saved from death and hell. He desires and even commands everyone to repent (confess and turn away) from their sins and to receive his free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus.

“‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being’…

…we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed [Jesus Christ]. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.'” 

God freely offers this gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ to you. Receive him now.

“‘To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son’… The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 21:6-7; 22:17)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)

Jesus said: “All that the Father gives me [his Bride, those chosen by God unto salvation–Ephesians 1:3-14, Romans 8:29will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up [resurrect them] at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son [Jesus] and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)


Below is a fuller (though not complete) account of the final events surrounding Christ’s Return and Judgment Day from Revelation 19-22:

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb [Jesus] has come, and his bride [believers in Jesus] has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’…’For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’

I saw heaven open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider [Jesus Christ] is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

…Then I saw the beast [the anti-christ] and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast [666] and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider of the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’

He who seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God…Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.’

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.’

‘Behold, I [Jesus] am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.’…

‘Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’

The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!” And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”

(See also, “Today is The Day of Salvation” (Signs of The Times Series))