Revelation 21 is today's reading. God does indeed make all things new. That is the message of this chapter. Here are some of the insights I gleaned this morning as I read this chapter: -Vs 1: After the great tribulation and final battle, John sees a new heaven and new earth forming. I believe this is the garden of Eden being restored by God. Sin had infected all creation since the Fall. Here God eradicates all sin from creation forever and makes a new heaven and earth. Why a new heaven? Because Satan had access to God (see Job 1). I would imagine there is a total elimination of all sin, even every hint of sin, in heaven and on earth. Also, note "the sea was no more." That doesn't mean there will be no bodies of water in the new earth. The sea was the source of the beast's sin. This means all the sources of sin, especially pride, are forever eliminated.
-Vs 2: The new Jerusalem is created as God's Bride. This great city will no longer be trampled upon by the nations of the earth, as has happened historically.
-Vs 3: The greatest blessing of this new creation is that God will dwell with his people. There will be unhindered fellowship with him every moment.
-Vs 4: In this new creation, there will be no crying, tears, mourning or pain. All these experiences will have passed away forever.
-Vs 5: Here is what God is doing: He's "making all things new." Then John is commanded to write down all he is seeing. We have his words. It's called the book of Revelation!
-Vs 6: We have names of God: the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He began creation. He ends it. History is not circular but linear, with a beginning and an end. "It is done" echoes Jesus' words on the Cross. On the Cross, Jesus finished the work of salvation for all. Now God finishes the final work of redemption and restoration of creation. We drink from God's water of life "without payment", for all God's work of salvation and restoration are gifts of grace, never earned.
-Vs 7: Those of us who persevere to the end, who conquer sin and death with our faith, will be called God's sons and daughters, the highest compliment anyone can ever receive.
-Vs 8: The conquerors' new life is contrasted with those who experience the second death, God's eternal judgment. Those who see this death are listed here: the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and liars.
-Vss 9,10: John is taken to a high mountain (like Ezekiel!) to oversee the new holy city "coming down" and consuming earth from heaven.
-Vs 11: The glory of the new city is described. Read the verse and just imagine its glory and splendor, reflecting the precious jewels used to describe it.
-Vss 12-14: The high walls and twelve gates have inscribed on them the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles, symbolizing the unity of the Old and New Testament believers, all of whom were saved by grace through faith.
-Vss 15-17: The measuring of the new Jerusalem. Whether this is literal or symbolic, we'll one day know. But it does express the absolute perfection of the new, holy city.
-Vs 18: The description continues, using precious metals and jewels to describe it. All of Jerusalem is pure gold that his transparent. It may symbolize the absolute purity of everything that exists there, us included!
Vss 19-21: The pure beauty of paradise restored overwhelms all the supposed beauty this world offered to us.
Vs 22: Jesus is the Temple. His presence is everywhere. I would imagine we will worship him all day long, wherever we are, for there he is!
Vs 23: From where is the source of all these blessings? The Father! Who is the mediator of all these blessings? The Son. Who creates this new city? The Holy Spirit. One God in perfect unity.
Vss 24-27: Those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life all dwell in a perfect city. All will worship there. The gates are never shut, as was done in the old Jerusalem at night, for protection. There is no need to do so against hostile invaders. No one will do what is wrong or false or evil. Only those who long to be there, to worship the Lamb, to live in harmony and unity, as the Trinity does, to love as the Father loves, these will dwell in the new heaven and earth.
It WILL be glorious. It is something for which all should long.