The New Heaven and Earth; Your Kingdom Come
Revelation 21from the daily reading in the One year Bible
The New Heaven and Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. 18 The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
I believe the message of Revelation to be true and so there are some things we can determine from today’s text. First is that Jesus return is not something to be feared. The end of the age is not the end of the world, when and where the human race will no longer exist. Instead, it is the beginning of a new age, a time when the evil things of the world will no longer exist. The second thing we can know is that this time is not already upon us, as some would suggest. The text says: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” As we look around the world today, surely we can see pain and suffering. Even among believers with the greatest faith, there is pain and sorrow. Death through human violence and disease claims lives every day. The text says: I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light… and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Surely, in our time there is much darkness. Our society and culture is obsessed with immorality, abomination and lying, so this time, this age cannot be upon us, but rather is still to come.
Some will say that even when Jesus was here He said: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew 4:17) “The kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:21) In your midst is literally translated within you. Jesus also, on the cross said: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) All that Jesus had come to do was complete, finished. What He came to do, to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin was done. Through the finished work of the cross Jesus provided all that is needed for the redemption, reconciliation and restoration of man and creation. What is important for us to remember is that it was Jesus work as God in flesh which was and is complete in the cross. Jesus will not come again as a man that work is finished, but He will come again; He Himself said so. It is true that the kingdom of heaven is near to us, it is even within us. But it is not fully complete in us. Jesus taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) If it were fully accomplished here in this realm, why should we pray for it to be?
We are still waiting for the complete manifestation of the realities of heaven here on earth. We are though not to simply wait for His return, for Him to establish all that will be. 2 Peter 3:11-12 says this concerning the time of Jesus return, the time we look forward to of the new heaven and earth: What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God? We are not yet living in those days and times, yet we are not to simply wait for Jesus to return. We are to look forward to that time with anticipation of what is to come. We also are to live in holy conduct and godliness, that we may even hasten His coming.
The text says that when Jesus returns and the new things are established in and by Him: The city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. To us, until that time, He has said: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Isaiah 60:1-3 says this about God’s people: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. Jesus, fully God, will return and fully establish His kingdom, all authority in heaven and on earth. Till then He has commissioned us to be His witnesses, His representatives, agents and ambassadors of His kingdom on earth.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, as the words of Revelation end saying: He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, so too do I pray, come Lord Jesus. Yet as I wait and anticipate Your return, I pray also that in and through my life, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Your will be done, Your kingdom come. May I, as Jesus said we would, do the works that He did, hastening the day of Your kingdom on earth. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.