"'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." Revelation 21:4
Key verses: John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4
Key personalities: Early Jewish Christians
Timeline: The Church is established and grows by the Power of the Holy Spirit and the multiplying networks of Paul and other apostles, 59-70 A.D.
Total renovation! God will be making all things new, and we have hope beyond wonder as a new heaven and a new earth will be formed. We can take comfort that God will remove evil from humanity, separating out the good. The old earth and heaven will be restored prior to sin; even fear will be gone. In Revelation, everyone is celebrating, shouting that the presence of God is now among us all, as God Himself now lives with us and within us for eternity.
Then, the greatest comfort is given; God wipes away all of our sorrows and fears so there is no more death, suffering, or pain as evil is wiped away for good. God's Word is true and trustworthy. He reveals one of His names, the first and last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He promises refreshment to quench the thirst of all who are victorious in Christ, who will inherit everlasting life. Christ gives us springs of water without charging us what is owed, and thus, His grace continues. But, God will also keep His promise of judgment; all those who are evil will be removed from those who are good, and all those evil people will be sent to hell for all eternity.
Key Happenings, "The New Heaven and Earth!"
This IS God the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator communing with us and making a total transformation and renovation of His creation! He will bring all things to fruition. He will bring peace and a future to those in Christ! As magnificent as this is, it is only the backdrop of what will be going on; the far more spectacular "center stage" is that God IS among us. He is our Lord, Protector, and Sustainer. He will remove evil; so those who are in Him will never hear, "depart from me." Rather, we will hear "come to me and I will give you rest." He has saved us, but here is how He continues to save us as His grace is continually at work, involved, and shepherding us now and for eternity. He promises us all things new, and for those who reject Him, all things of judgment. In the meantime, we have Christ in us now, empowering us-a preview, and a real, effectual presence and hope for us now. This is to inspire us for faith, reliability, and steadfastness in our Christian life (Ex. 33:14; Matt. 7:23; 11:28-30; 25:41; John 5:22).
· New, in context, means "rejuvenated." God is changing the "old order of things," but that does not necessarily mean He is replacing it. As Paul states, we are being reconditioned in Christ by our "new" covenant of grace, as the "old" is passed away (Gen 3:17; Is. 51:15-16; 65:17; 66:22; Rom. 8:18-23; 2 Cor. 5:17).
· New heaven and a new earth. This theme comes from Isaiah 65, teaching that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe. As Christians, we will be "transfigured" so we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil. An "extreme makeover" where the entire creation is restored to its original parameters-before sin corrupted everything-and we receive our new bodies (Gen. 1:1; Is. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57).
· No longer any sea. This is about how evil and oppressive things will be replaced with what is good. Sea is a Jewish metaphor for what is frightful and terrible, and what is inexplicable and/or hostile as the sea was greatly feared by them. The sea is where the monsters lived; people did not live anywhere near it, nor did they have a navy. This saved them from numerous deadly tsunamis over the centuries. Such imagery is used for invading armies and the occupation of the Romans. This does not necessarily mean the seas will evaporate or be removed, but the fear of it as "sea" meant evil. Here, God is saying He will neuter evil's power or remove it all together. This can also refer to how God will (has already done) neuter Rome, its power, and its influence (Job 7:12; 41:1; Psalms 74:13; 89:9-10; Is. 27:1; 65:17; Rev. 13:1-10).
· New Jerusalem means God comes to us. Jerusalem refers to the city where God reigns and where He is among His people. It represents the holiness and eminence, as Jerusalem is a place of gathering, community, and worship in Jewish culture and faith. The contrast is, then, in the Old Jerusalem, where they journeyed to meet Him. Now, the New Jerusalem is God who journeys to meet them. In ancient Judaism, this theme also meant "hope." It is also a position and representation of the people of God, "His people," as a bride of God. Here, it is pointing to Christ as Messiah and our hope. Christ and His Kingdom are the New Jerusalem. Faithfulness is the key that opens to us the door to life in the New Jerusalem (Neh. 11:1-18; Psalm 87:5-6; Is. 48:2; 52:1; 54:11-12; 62:12; 65:17-18; John 1:14; 13:34; 16:33; Gal. 4:26; Phil. 1; Heb. 11-10; 12:22; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5-13, 12, 21; 19:7; 21:1-22:5).
· God dwells with His people! He is the God Who is now and Who is to come. We are shown His perfection, holiness, and purity. God is the One who restores, converts, and brings salvation and hope. This also means righteousness, rightfulness, and renewal. Christ is coming again and all will consummate His will and purpose. Justice and His Kingdom will be fulfilled, and every knee will bow (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5; Tobit; Jubilees; 4 Ezra)!
· Bride. This is an identification of His people and an image of our Redeemer's intimacy and the community between God and His children (Eph. 5:31-32; Rev. 19:7).
· Throne… dwelling of God, meaning, "God is among us!" refers to the Tabernacle-how God resides among His people, and the theme of "Immanuel." Tabernacle and Sanctuary are images of the Old Testament Tabernacle tent that was God's heavenly dwelling. As a throne, this refers to the inner sanctum of God's most holy of holies where the Ark, with the two tablets of the Testimony Moses brought from Mount Sinai dwelt. This represented God's home on earth as a "copy" of God's Throne Room, made for His presence in the inner chamber of Jewish Temples and the Tabernacle, a tent used before the Temple was built by Solomon. Now, John sees the real heavenly version has been brought down to us. This is very significant in Christian redemption (Ex. 24:9-11; 25:8-9, 40; 29:45; 32:15; 37: 24-28; 43:7-10; Lev. 26:11-12; Deut 10:5; 1 Kings 6:12-13; 22:19; Is. 8:8-10; 51:16; Ezek. 37: 24-28; Zech. 2:11; Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 1:22-23; 13:38; John 8:42-45; 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).
· His people. God seeks us; He wants to be with us, He is our refuge; He is the One to whom we look for leadership (Psalm 23; 80:1; 121:5-6; Isa. 4:5-6; 49:10; Micah 7:14; John 10:11-18; Heb. 3:1; 13:20; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 4:6-7).
· Wipe every tear…. This means we have victory in Christ and that God is true to his promises! This is also a contrast of those who made oaths to the beast and/or are disloyal to God (Psalm 23:6; 49:14; Is. 25:8; 35:10; 51:11; 1 Cor. 15:54; 2 Cor. 1:20; Rev. 3:14; 7:17).
· No more death/swallow up death, meaning we receive the promised, eternal inheritance (John 11:25; 1 Thess. 4:13; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:13-17).
· Everything new means God is the Creator; He will complete His purpose-He will work it out. God intervenes in history and in our lives. He will judge, as He demonstrated with the Flood (Gen 6-8; Isa. 4:5; 43:18-19; 57:19; Rom. 8:18-23; Heb. 8:13; 2 Pet 3:7-13).
· Alpha and the Omega means God is eternal and rules over all places and time. This refers to the majestic, Messianic journey and work of Christ. He is omnipotent, or "all-powerful." vAlpha and Omega refers to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and embodies His Sovereignty. Christ is all in all; He is LORD of all that is past, present, and that which is to come! His will and purpose will come true, and ours will not; so, to grow, we must surrender to Him (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; John 19:20; Rom. 8:18-25; Gal. 2:20-21; Col. 1:17; Rev. 1:8; 22:12-16).
· Give to drink… water of life gives us an image and a promise of comfort, and provides the remedy to the greatest fear of loss to a desert dweller (Psalm 36:9; Is. 35:1-2; 55:1; Ezek. 47:1-12; John 4:10-14; 7:37).
· He who overcomes means our perseverance of faith in Christ and the promises of our Lord. We are a part of His Covenant and thus, He will give us not only a hope, but also a future. Our Christian lives, even in persecution and trials, are of great worth and meaning. Those who are His are called to be faithful and loyal to Him, and Him alone. We overcome the ways of the world when we look to Christ and not to our desires or situations (Zech. 8:12; Mark 13:13; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Jubilees).
· Be my son refers to our inheritance, the blessings we have in Christ, and His love and pursuit of us, for He does seek us (Rom. 8:15-17)!
Our lives here on earth, whether joyful or in suffering, is not the end of the story! God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings!
Christ will "wipe away every tear." This must resound in us not just for our personal hope and comfort, but also to enable us to trust in Christ for all things and situations. Those in Christ are His and His for all time; there is no fear or dread when we are with our Lord King. He IS the Alpha and Omega. He will bring all things new to those who know and love Him, and judgment to those who fight Him. We can be encouraged, as we have hope, reason, and purpose, to be faithful because of our confidence in Him, producing active faith that glorifies Christ and builds His kingdom (Eph 1:14; Heb. 12: 18-29)!
The goal in our Christian life is to be apart from sin-not to allow ourselves to be influenced to compromise our faith and life in Christ.
When we choose to mix or add in evil and try to rationalize evil away, we become the evil people Revelation talks about and the fools that the Proverbs talk about. We must be above reproach and open to inspection when we claim Christ as Lord. Our faith matters, because what we do and say does indeed echo into and throughout eternity. Our spiritual growth affects our moral success and failures (2 Cor. 5:10). We will give an account and He will wipe away our tears!
Jesus tells us in John 14:1-4 that we have an Eternity waiting for us! Father's house, means Heaven where God's presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God's presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness. Classically, in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God's dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. Here, this refers to our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).
Jesus is our only way, the gate and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.
Prepare a place. Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven. He brings peace and a future to those in Him. God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil. Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us in our journey of faith in the here-and-now, too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!
Key Takeaway: The resurrection of the dead leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection. This is also about what is to come, the Second Coming and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Jesus, our Rescuer and Redeemer; He took on our human nature, but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).
Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you and me! All we are to do is trust and obey Him, and as we continue in this endeavor, He gives us even more empowerment for enduring life and performing ministry along with His special favor and peace! Even if we do not see Jesus, He sees us, loves us, and helps us persevere. This may seem unattainable or even unfathomable when we are under stress or the hostile occupation of life. However, we can do this because we have access to His empowerment; we are literally kept by God through faith. As we grow in our faith, we become even more precious to God and He will preserve us through trials and life.
The Call to the Church? Know that Christ is our hope! Effective leadership always points to Christ as Lord and operates in the Fruit of the Spirit. Thus, our character will show calmness, personal care, tenderness, and the Love of Christ in meeting the needs of others--never out of arrogance or manipulation. We are to be more than just a personality; as we are from the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Prov. 15:1; Isa. 40:11; 42:2-3; Phil. 4: 5; Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 12:15; Eph. 4:1-2; Col. 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:7). When we operate in this manner, our church will prosper. Pastors and church leaders are being good ministers when we realize we are still human and fallen, and face our own sins and temptations that would cloud us from being true representatives of Christ. When we are good ministers of the God, we point others to Him by our actions and deeds.
Questions to Ponder
- Do you fully realize that all things are under His control? How does this affect your hope and staying power?
- hat does it mean to your daily life that God's Word is true and trustworthy?
- What causes Christians to trust in other things rather than in God?
- What is in your life that you would like to have totally renovated? Home, church, work, car, spouse…?
- How does this name of Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, give you hope? What does it mean that He is the First and Last?
- God's grace is continually at work, He is involved and shepherding you now and for eternity. What will you do with this information?
- God will achieve His purpose! How does this give you hope and assurance of your faith?
- Are you aware of His continual grace at work in you? If not, what gets in the way?
- What does it mean to you that you have a future in and with Christ as Lord and that you have a place in Him for eternity?
- How can these passages help you endure in the future, even in times of dire stress? What would it take for you to earnestly feel and see that God is in control? What do you need to do?
- The center stage of hope is, God IS among us. He is our Lord, Protector, and Sustainer! How is this so in your life? How can it be more so?
- How does Hope help you be encouraged so you can encourage others? What and when are you going to do this more? How is Hope a vital fuel and stimulate necessary for all that we do successfully in life and for Him? What are some other valuable faith stimulants and how can you use them? What can you and your church do to implement these hopes?
© 2015 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org