I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate."
The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple. The City doesn't need sun or moon for light. God's Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp! The nations will walk in its light and earth's kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won't be any night. (Revelation 21:1-5 & 21-25, The Message)
Among the more interesting reality shows (at least in my book) are the ones dealing with a house or room or neighborhood receiving a makeover from professionals with an eye for design and detail. The one show where a house is picked for the full treatment but those around receive at least some cosmetic work is especially fun to watch. The little changes that are made so often have huge impacts on the way things look. And then all the neighbors come together for a party at the end of the work. Some might even call it inspiring.
As I write this particular entry, I'm in the middle of a remodel/facelift project myself. It's fairly ambitious, but I'm enjoying the challenge of seeing what I had envisioned come to life. But, as gratifying as it will be when I finish the project, it pales in comparison with the change God has in store for our future. You might even want to call it "Extreme Makeover - the Universe."
The Apostle John caught a glimpse of what is in store when the current clock "stops ticking" and God resets everything to a new state. I've used this passage previously, but recent studies and thoughts along these lines made it come quickly back to my mind. Unlike my remodel project, where some of the outcome is based on what already existed, God has promised to start fresh. It's all "new" which means, as I interpret it, that it didn't even exist before the events spoken of in Revelation 21. In that way, it is much more than just a makeover.
There is a restoration of relationship between the Creator and the created. All of the worst we've experienced will be erased from our memories and the Comforter will give comfort to us one final time as He wipes away all tears and replaces it with pure, unbridled joy. Never again will we know sadness or pain. It's all so distant that we won't recall it. Our focus will be turned to our Savior and that will be enough for us.
At the heart of the scene is the Center of our worship - the Living Temple Himself. Just think of it! We won't have to long for His presence or seek Him out ever again. He will be right there and we will surround Him in the most perfect relationship imaginable. He will be the Light that shines out among us and no darkness or shadow will ever again be found. No more waiting through the night, we'll have visibility of 100% without restriction.
And because there is no night, the gates of the city will never close. It dawned on me as I read this passage just how significant that fact is. Walled cities were a source of protection and gates always closed at night so they could be more easily guarded and the "unwelcome element" kept out. But in God's New City, there is no night, no fear, no darkness, and no reason at all to shut the gates - ever! It is the City of Eternal Peace - Salem, if you will - and we will feel completely at home for the very first time.
As I walk my own Crooked Path, I can take heart in knowing that, when it all finally ends, my Loving Father has a plan that will blow me away. It will be a makeover beyond all makeovers and He's designed it with me in mind. Thinking about it makes my mind race and my heart skip a beat.
- Have you ever thought about what comes next? How does your concept of it stack up against the Revelation 21 passage?
- What does the idea of "created new" make you think of? Can you catch a glimpse of God's heart for us as this scene is unveiled?
- What about the concept of the city pictured in the passage? Does a city of eternal peace sound out of reach, or does it sound like home?