Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
How often do you think about heaven? In spite of so much which is wrong with our world, we in the west have relatively easy lives compared with millions around the world. Vast numbers live in poverty; under dictatorial regimes; poor health care or none at all; famine; persecution etc. but in comparison we have so many blessings that, even as Christians, it is easy to ignore or sit lightly on the glory that awaits us.
This is a serious position in which to be because it indicates that we are far too earthly centred and we all too easily fail to point people to the God we serve and the glory that awaits but also to the other side of the coin, the hell that awaits those who reject him.
We will pick up the second of these two later this week but today let us lift our eyes heavenward and reflect on our ultimate destination as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
First it is New! A ‘new heaven and a new earth’. The doomsayers tell us that the earth’s resources are running out; that global warming is destroying our world and unless we act NOW, we will have nothing to leave to future generations. It is absolutely right that we should care for our world – it is a creation mandate – but there is something better to come. The future is not one of doom but one of joy and delight. Yes, this order will pass away but what replaces is will be more wonderful, more glorious and eternal.
Second it will be Holy. Free of all that mars and spoils. A new creation from heaven itself.
Third it will be beautiful. The bridal picture is one of purity, beautifully dressed for her husband. The Husband – God himself. The Bride – The Church.
Fourth it will be God dwelling among his people in intimate relationship.
Fifth it will be free of all imperfections as someone has put it ‘No hearses, no hankies, no hospitals.’
May this glory which is to be revealed encourage, equip, envision and invigorate each of us in our daily walk with God.