August 23 2022
Today, Tuesday August 23
A New Heaven
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."
We all like to have something that is new! There is something special about “new” things. I find it very encouraging to come to last two chapters of the Bible and they are about a new heaven and a new earth. We need to remember that John is writing to the saints who have been suffering tremendous persecution in the Roman Empire. They no doubt have faced discouragement and great sorrow as many family members have been martyred for their faith.
Can you imagine when these dear saints start reading these last two chapters of Revelation. Their hearts must have jumped with joy and anticipation. Remember the last words of Revelation 20 were about the final judgment of the dead being cast into the lake of fire for eternity. Then the picture changes dramatically as John begins to describe a new heaven and a new earth.
The first thing he notes is that the “old has passed away” and the new has come! Now to be sure, the old heaven and the old earth was God’s creation and was beautiful and fantastic in a million ways! But sin had entered the picture and the old creation was corrupted and death and pain and suffering was obvious everywhere you looked.
It is very possible that "No more sea" does not mean "no more water." It simply indicates that the new earth will have a different arrangement as far as water is concerned. Three fourths of our globe consists of water, but this won't be the case in the eternal state. In John's day, the sea meant danger, storms, and separation. Remember John himself was on an island at the time in the Mediterranean Sea. so perhaps John was giving us more than a geography lesson. He is telling us that this new heaven and new earth is a place where there are no more storms, no more danger and no more separation.
But the most important thing about the city is that God dwells there with His people. The Bible gives an interesting record of the dwelling places of God. First, God walked with man in the Garden of Eden. Then He dwelt with Israel in the tabernacle and later the temple. When Israel sinned, God had to depart from those dwellings. Later, Jesus Christ came to earth and "tabernacled" among us (John 1:14). Today, God does not live in man-made temples (Acts 7:48-50), but in the bodies of His people (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and in the church (Eph. 2:21-22). 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we become “a new creation in Christ Jesus” the moment we get saved and trust the Lord to be our eternal Savior.
In both the tabernacle and the temple, the veil stood between men and God. That veil was torn in two when Jesus died, thus opening a "new and living way" for God's people (Heb. 10:19ff). Even though God dwells in believers today by His Spirit, we still have not begun to understand God or fellowship with Him as we would like; but one day, we shall dwell in God's presence and enjoy Him forever.
The eternal city is so wonderful that the best way John found to describe it was by contrast—"no more." The believers who first read this inspired book must have rejoiced to know that, in heaven, there would be no more pain, tears, sorrow, or death; for many of their number had been tortured and slain. In every age, the hope of heaven has encouraged God's people in times of suffering.
I trust you will be greatly blessed as we study these last two chapters of the Bible that give us such a wonderful hope!