Ever-present God, today I rejoice in the certainty of your presence and the promises of your Word.
Read REVELATION 21:1-14
A New Heaven and a New Earth
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I 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’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb
9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.’1 Ask God to renew his work in you today.
The final of these seven unnumbered visions – and the closing vision of the book – is one of dazzling splendor. All the themes of Revelation are drawn together here; indeed, there are numerous ideas gathered from all over Scripture. It really is a fitting end to the book and to the whole canon of Scripture.
Key to understanding this vision is noticing the direction of travel: the New Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God with his people, comes down from heaven to earth. Thus the realms that were separated at creation are finally reunited. It is apt that the city-people of God are described as the bride of Jesus, the Lamb, who is the groom (imagery we also find in the Gospels2). God came to his people in the incarnation of Jesus and his presence continued with the gift of the Spirit, but now the fullness of God’s presence dwells in intimate relationship with his people. The first words spoken in this book by the one seated on the throne come right at the end, as there is no more need of intermediaries – and his words are words of comfort and love.
As throughout the book, gracious invitation, and exhortation to decision sit side by side. The invitation is to drink ‘without cost from the spring of the water of life’ (v 6) – all are included in the gracious offer of God. Yet the city is holy, which means that all sin is excluded; the decision to drink is the decision to leave sin behind. The new thing that God is doing is in continuity with all that has gone before: the city gates carry the names of the tribes of the first covenant, while the foundations carry the names of the apostles of the second.
What new thing is God doing in your life just now? How is that in continuity with what went before? What new dimension is it bringing?
Lord God, I marvel that with you working in me and through me, I can make a difference. Never let me forget that.
Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by kingstar