When we turn the page to Rev. 21, we are at threshold of eternity. The original creation has passed away, and God re-makes the heavens and the earth. And while the original creation is more amazing than humanity will ever be able to fully understand, the New Creation will be far more glorious. In the New Creation, the unveiled presence of God will permeate everything; and every vestige of pain, suffering, sin and death will vanish completely, and the perfected community of saints will glorify God and enjoy him forever and ever!
Having vividly expressed the theme of the letter in 12:1-10, Paul now applies that theme to the normal, everyday Christian life. What are the characteristics of a life upon which the power of Christ rests (12:9)? Here are some of the most beautiful (and attractive) expressions of humility and self-denial in all of Scripture. C.S. Lewis wrote that humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. What does that practically look like, and why can only grace produce it?
Here is where Paul gives the clearest expression to the theme of the letter: strength in weakness. This text is not only the climax of 2 Corinthians, it is arguably the climax of 1 and 2 Corinthians. It reminds us of the very heart of Christianity. When Jesus said to Paul, "my grace is sufficient for you," how was he reminding him not only of the gospel, but of the core principle of the entire Christian life?
In Rev. 20:11-15, John records his vision of the Great White Throne Judgment. The Satantic Trinity has been destroyed. All that remains is for God to pronounce his final verdict on humanity. For those who do not know Christ, the Day of Judgment will be worse than their worst nightmare. But for those whose names are written in Lamb’s Book of Life, the Day of Judgment will be more glorious than the happiest day they ever experienced in this life. Therefore, all believers should look forward to that great day!
Who would put a catalog of weakness and frailty on a resume? This is exactly what Paul does as he is forced to defend himself against false teachers who were distorting the gospel and misleading the Corinthians. What can we learn from this surprising description of a servant of Christ? What can we learn about humility?
Our text this week narrates the Lord's final eschatalogical victory over Satan. The victory comes in two phases. The first phase is the so-called millennium, during which time Satan is bound in chains in the abyss, and the saints reign with Christ. When the millennium ends, Satan is released, and he attempts to wage war one last time against the Lamb and his army. But Satan is soundly defeated, and he is thrown into the Lake of Fire along with everyone whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life. This passage has been interpreted in a variety of different ways throughout Christian history, but the overall message is clear: In the end, Satan will be defeated and the Lamb will reign victorious forever.
In Rev. 19:11-21, John describes a vision in which the beast and the "false prophet" assemble a great army to do battle against the armies of heaven. But just as we have seen in previous battle scenes, before the enemies of God have a chance to fire their first shot, God secures the victory! And after defeating the beast and false prophet, God takes them and throws them into Lake of Fire, where they will be tormented forever. John then describes a revolting scene where the birds of prey are called down to gorge themselves on the flesh of the dead who are strewn across eschatalogical battlefield, thus fulfilling the prophecy described in Ezekiel 39.