I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good – tears gone, crying gone, pain gone – all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down – each word dependable and accurate.” Revelation 21:1-4 (MSG)
Revelation has always been a difficult book of the Bible for me to read and understand, so I don't voluntarily turn to it very often. With this passage from Revelation being my current assignment, I have spent time pondering how to write a devotional using Revelation 21:1-4. In my pondering these verses, I began trying to envision just what is being said here.
I have lived in the same house for over ½ my life. The house and I have weathered many storms and life changes together. I like the familiarity of my home and the memories of my family growing up here. So it goes without saying that I am not a person who likes change very much.
John, the writer of this passage is talking about way more than a change of an address! His words tell of a new-created Heaven and earth, a new-created Holy Jerusalem, and the sea is gone! That makes me feel more than uncomfortable; it borders on fearful. Everything we know will be different, and the old is gone. Before we get caught up in the fear of this unimaginable change, we need to read further and see what the old is being replaced with.
The new Jerusalem is where God will live with His people and God will come to be with us in that Holy City! God's plan was never for earth to last forever in its present broken sin-filled state. In the book of Isaiah God promised to create a new and eternal earth. (Isaiah 65:17)
Now there are no specifics as to what the new earth and new Holy city will look like, or where it will be located. However, we do have God's promise that it will happen. What we do know about the “holy city, the new Jerusalem” is that it is a place where God will remove all sorrows. Furthermore, there will be no death, sorrow, crying or pain. Sounds like a wonderful promise for our eternal home. No matter what you are experiencing right now – it's not the last word – God has written the final chapter, and it is about true fulfillment and eternal joy for those who love Him. We don't know as much as we would like, but it is enough to know that eternity with God will be more wonderful than we can ever imagine.
Contrast Genesis and our current world:
Sin enters the world
Tears are shed, with sorrow for sin
The garden and earth are cursed
Paradise is lost
People are doomed to death
Sin is banished
No more sin, no more tears or sorrow
The earth is made new
Paradise is regained
Death is defeated, believers live forever with God
Where would you rather spend eternity, in the old or the new Heaven and earth?
Good and Gracious God,
What a gift you have given me in the words of promise recorded in Revelation! Help me to remember that You have already written the last chapter for me and that Your boundless love for me will bring me safely home to You. Amen
About the Author:
Janet Swanson - Janet is a retired Head Start teacher and now enjoys spending more time with her family and friends. She has been a member of Southwood over 40 years. Being part of the 2016 mission team to Tanzania, fulfilled a life long dream.