We’ve been going through the whole Bible from beginning to end over the past four years. And in this chapter, we see the culmination of all things, where all scripture is finally fulfilled.
We started in the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve walked with God before the fall. But even after the fall and everything was cursed, God never gave up on us. Instead he chose Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be his people. Then all of Israel became his people and he their God. After Christ’s death and resurrection, that title of being God’s people was then extended to all who would put their faith in Christ.
And now comes the consummation of all these things. John sees a new heaven and a new earth. And there is no longer any sea.
I don’t know if that last is literal or not. The thing is, the sea has often been used in Revelation as a symbol for evil. The beast in chapter 13, for example rises from the sea. And so perhaps, John is merely saying that all evil and all the chaos that comes from it is now completely gone.
Then John says,
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (2)
Again, I wonder at the literalness of this. Is it truly a city that John sees? Or is it all the people of God, whom Paul calls the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32). Or is it both?
Whatever it means, the key point comes in the next verse.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (3)
At one time, God dwelt with Adam and Eve with the Garden of Eden. They were his people and he their God. Then they fell into sin.
When God promised to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, the Israelites were told that he would be their God and they his people (Exodus 6:7) and the tabernacle was a sign of his dwelling among them. (Exodus 40:34-35)
When they moved into the promised land, the temple took the place of the tabernacle, but it too was a sign of God’s dwelling among them. (I Kings 8:10-12)
But again the people sinned and God’s Spirit departed the temple (Ezekiel 10:18). The temple was destroyed and rebuilt more than once after that before finally being destroyed for good in A.D. 70.
Now the people of God are his temple, and he dwells within us (6:19).
But on that day when all is fulfilled, we will forever be in the presence of God and we will see him face to face.
And God gives us these words of hope.
I am making everything new. (5)
Then echoing Jesus’ words on the cross, he says,
It is done. (6a)
But whereas Jesus’ words were talking about how the payment for our sins was finally paid, now God’s plan of salvation is completely fulfilled and we’re all finally home.
And he who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things, says,
To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (7)
We all go through times of hardship and suffering in our lives. And sometimes it seems interminable. Unbearable.
But it won’t last forever. God is control. He always has been and ever will be. He has already written the end of the story. And the end of the story ends with us being with him forever.
So set your eyes on him. Know that your trials will not last forever. He will bring you home. And on that day, John tells us,
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. (4)