From Genesis 3 until the conclusion of events in Revelation 20, earth experienced and is currently experiencing the pain and presence of sin and death. At the end of chapter 20, John sees God delivering the final and ultimate judgment on Satan, casting all evil into the lake of fire. And it’s at that point, creation will finally be free from everything wicked and evil. What then follows, is a description of a remade, restored earth.
Revelation 21 begins by describing this New Heaven and New Earth that all believers who place their faith in Christ can look forward to. John is given a vision of heaven and the future to come, and in it, he sees a New Heaven and New Earth. He begins by trying to describe this when he says that he saw the new city of Jerusalem descending onto the earth, with voices celebrating the restored relationship between God and man.
I think if we’re not careful when we think about heaven, we immediately start to think about all the stuff in heaven. We think about mansions in heaven, what the streets will be like, and what we’ll be like. We begin to think about all those details that scripture doesn’t give a ton of specifics about. And even if we did have all the information, we can’t miss what Revelation 21 is trying to teach us. What makes heaven, heaven is that God will be with us perfect relationship. We will be in His perfect presence without sin.
I love how verse 3 puts it when John says, “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’”. As we wrap up our year in Dwell tomorrow, I love the concept that the dwelling place of God is with man. Hopefully throughout this year as you’ve followed along and grown in your understanding of the Bible, you’ve learned that our relationship with God must be the foundation we build our lives on. That’s what this entire year in the New Testament has been about. As we spend more time daily, diving into God’s Word, it helps us to grow in our relationship with Him. Because as we see in this chapter, God’s intent for mankind was always to be in perfect relationship with Him, and he will establish this perfect relationship again!
Later on in this chapter, John alludes to this perfect relationship with God that believers will experience in the New Heaven and New Earth. In verse 22, he says, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” John points this out because there is no need for a temple. Temples, priests, and rituals are all necessary when man is separated from God, but in this perfect relationship, there’s no need! We can understand this better when we think of it in a modern-day situation. Two people speaking face-to-face don’t need to call each other on the cell phone or to write letters. They’re together! And the same is true for believers in the New Heaven and New Earth! We’ll be living in direct communion with God and won’t need a temple to enter His presence.
The promise that we find in this chapter is found in verses 4-5. It says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
As we live in the broken and sin-filled world, many of us, if not all of us, are dealing with pain, suffering, mourning, and even death. This is the reality and difficulty that we have to walk through. But the promise is that God is making all things new! He will wipe away every tear from their eyes! When that perfect relationship with God is restored in the New Heaven and New Earth, there is no more pain. There is no more hurting or brokenness. Because God is making all things new! He will restore all believers who have put their faith in Him.
So today, I want to encourage you! We shouldn’t read Revelation and be worried or scared, in fact, we should read it with an anticipation and expectation for what’s to come! If you’re walking through pain, suffering, or mourning today, hold firm to promise that God is our ultimate comforter. The hope that you can hang onto is that God is making all things new! And that includes you and the difficult situations you’re walking through!