“And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality. … And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper” (Rev 17:3-4; 21:10-11).

The book of Revelation ends with two cities described as jewel-covered women. The first woman is a harlot (Rev 17:5), the second a bride (Rev 21:2). The fate of the first woman, Babylon, is a funeral filled with mourning (Rev 18:9-19); the fate of the second a wedding filled with joy (Rev 21:1-4). Two details in this inverted parallelism catch my attention. First, the end of the Bible (Rev 17-22) is also an inverted image of the beginning of the Bible (Gen 1-11), where the story of redemption begins with a beautiful jewel-filled Garden “built” by God (Gen 2) and ends with a city (Babylon), whose pride leads to her downfall (Gen 11).

Although many Jewish people do not yet believe in Yeshua, a complete Jewish Bible has to include both the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament because it's the only version of the story where God's plan of redemption ultimately reaches its goal.

The second detail which catches my attention is the great length to which Satan goes in order to entice the world away from enjoying God and his goodness by designing carefully crafted imitations. Satan's imitations, in other words, are not cheap. And that's why some so easily choose to exchange an eternity with God's heavenly bride, the New Jerusalem, for a one night stand and an eternity of regret. Consider for a moment, therefore, how God's story begins, and also how it ends. Stop falling for Satan's many super-fakes, and heed the voices of God's Spirit and of the New Jerusalem beckoning you to come and enjoy for all eternity, that which is truly real!

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.' And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev 22:17-21).

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