Many people act as if the Bible begins with Genesis, chapter 3: the sin and fall of humankind; and ends with Revelation 20: the lake of fire and death.
Genesis, chapters 1 and 2 are the beautiful story of God creating the heaven and earth, plants and animals, humankind, and more. And Revelation, chapters 21 and 22 tell of God's creation of the "new heaven and the new earth."
In light of the rest of the Bible, these last words of Scripture are words of comfort and assurance to us living in a broken world. God is in charge! We do not have a God who tells us: "Look, my children, whatever will be, will be." God does not say, "Shape up! Accept what is. That's the way the cookie crumbles."
Instead, our God assures us with these words: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End." In other words, "I have everything covered; from A to Z. I am in charge!"
To this word of assurance God comes with an invitation: "Come!" This invitation offers the free gift of the water of life. After which, one will never thirst again!
Then, God makes this promise: "Yes, I am coming soon." When Dr. Martin Luther King was asked, "How long must we wait?" he answered: "Not long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again!" How long? "Not long, because no lie can live forever!"
Instead of thinking of Christ's return in chronological terms, think of His words, "Yes, I am coming soon," as a way of saying Christ is near to us.
How long will it be until Christ comes to bring all things together in himself? "Not long!"
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 (NRSV)
12 "See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
16 "It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let everyone who hears say, "Come." And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
20 The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.