Revelation 22:1-2a, 3-5, 12a, 14-16 - Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city ... No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His Name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. ... "Behold, I am coming soon ... Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
A long time ago, one of my family asked me, "Why doesn't God want dogs to go to heaven?" They were worried about this place in Revelation where Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God, and He says, "Outside are the dogs."
For most of us, when we think of dogs, we think of pets—trained, vaccinated, friendly. We are not thinking about the packs of wild dogs that ran around in Jesus' day—eating dead things, carrying disease and even attacking people. Those kind of dogs are nobody's friend. They are dangerous.
When Jesus says, "Outside are the dogs," He isn't talking about four-legged dogs. He is talking about human beings who behave like wild dogs—the kind of people Jesus listed, "sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." These people have no place in the kingdom of God. They are outside the gates—because they refuse to be separated from their evil.
But that's scary, isn't it? What is the difference between them and us? Surely we too are sinners. In our lives, we have lied, we have harmed other people, we have things in our lives that we have put first instead of God. We may have dabbled in sexual sin or the occult. Will we be outside the gates?
No—because Jesus has washed us clean with His own blood. He has forgiven us and made us new and pure through His death and resurrection for our sake. This is what He means when He says, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates."
God brings us close to Him, inside the gates, as His own beloved children. We are not like wild dogs anymore. We have a home forever with God our Father because of what Jesus has done for us. We have clean robes provided by Jesus, washed in His own blood. And He gives this gift freely, not just to us, but to everyone who trusts in Him.
WE PRAY: Father, thank You for making us clean and welcome through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. How do you feel about dogs? Why?
2. Why do you think God refuses to allow unrepentant, unclean people into heaven?
3. How do you "wash your robes" with Jesus' forgiveness?
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