Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Revelation 21:1-5

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.

5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”

The Original Intent

1) What is the new heaven and the new earth? (verse 1)

The idea of a “new heaven and a new earth” sounds like a foreign concept to our ears. However, John’s readers would have had context for these words from Jesus. In 2 Peter 3:7-13, Peter presents a very clear description that the currently known world will someday come to an end. The Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven, returning to His place at the right hand of Father God, but He promised to return (Matthew 16:27Acts 1:11) and Peter likens His return to a “thief in the night” telling his readers the return will be when least expected.

John points to good news; when the earth as we know it ends, there is the promise of a new one! God has promised to deliver this perfection of things to come to His bride, the Church. (1 Corinthians 15:52-55) The letter of John’s Revelation provides details about this new heaven and new earth using the best words and imagery John could possibly use to convey what the Lord Jesus revealed to him in a vision of what would one day become reality.

The Everyday Application

1) What is the new heaven and the new earth? (verse 1)

This world can be difficult to live in with its brokenness and grief. If I have learned anything over the last two years of facing the pandemic of Covid, it’s that life isn’t perfect or easy and challenges will come. Sin runs rampant and we are faced with the consequences of it everywhere we turn. However, as believers in Jesus, we hold a promise that this is not how things will be forever. You and I live in a world that will someday end.

One day, Jesus will return and we will all face judgment. (Matthew 25:31-46) For those who have trusted their lives and souls to Jesus, we are assured we will forever be safe with the Lord, welcomed home to be with Him. (1 Peter 1:3-4) We cling to the hope that God will fulfill His promise of newness, and when He does, He will establish a new heaven and a new earth. This newness will be more than we can imagine; its perfection guarantees God will dwell with us and nothing will remain in the former brokenness.

God has proven Himself trustworthy over and over again throughout the Bible. (2 Timothy 2:13) We can rest assured that God will fulfill this promise right along with every other one. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Jesus will return, defeating sin and Satan once and for all and establishing a new earth without even a hint of sin’s destruction or our enemy, Satan. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56)

The Original Intent

2) How is God dwelling with humanity? (verse 3)

God created Adam and Eve in His image (Genesis 1:27), and ultimately, the rest of mankind are created as image bearers of the Almighty God. While we do not know the extent of Adam and Eve’s dwelling together in the Garden of Eden, we do know God came to them and they hid from Him in shame of their sin. (Genesis 3:8)

Genesis also makes it clear that Adam and God spent time together in some fashion as Adam named all the animals and God told Adam He would make a “helper suitable for him” while on earth. (Genesis 2:15-23) The Bible is also clear that Jesus, the Son of God, came and dwelt on earth as God in the flesh. (John 1:14)

The Gospels (MatthewMarkLuke, and John) detail Jesus’ time dwelling with humanity as a human. John’s audience would have been familiar with Jesus’ dwelling on earth, some had likely even been a first-hand eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry. However, John now tells of a new kind of dwelling. John sees God physically dwelling with humanity for eternity. Up until this point, this has always been impossible due to sin.

There are times in the Bible where God talks to His creation but doesn’t dwell with them. God is now able to live among His creation still as God, but now in a perfected relationship.

The Everyday Application

2) How is God dwelling with humanity? (verse 3)

Though we have a “down payment”, a mere inkling of what is to come, through the Holy Spirit living within us (Ephesians 1:14), God dwelling with His people is something we have only read about. We know Jesus walked on earth as a man with humanity and was God’s Son in the flesh. However, we have no concept of what the coming glory will be like to experience the full glory of the triune God dwelling with us. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

We were born thousands of years after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. However, Jesus came to rescue you and I from the consequences of our sin, which is death (Romans 6:23), just as He came to rescue those who physically walked beside him while He was on earth. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was as much for my sins and yours as they were for those who watched Him suffer.

The best news is His resurrection and defeat of death is also mine to share when I accept His sacrifice. The good news doesn’t end! Jesus promised to return and defeat Satan once and for all, and when that happens, sin will be no more. Jesus’ blood has paid the penalty for sin and we will be able to dwell in the holy presence of God. What a joyful day that will be!

The Original Intent

3) Why is God making everything new? (verse 5)

John is writing his Revelation letter to churches who were being persecuted for their faith. It wasn’t an easy time to be alive and follow Jesus; believers faced harsh penalties for believing in Jesus. However, these believers knew the promises of God and knew that someday all things would be made new. Jesus would return and establish a new heaven and a new earth and what they knew as reality would cease, even if they never saw the fruition of the promise while they lived earthly lives. Because of Jesus, their coming Hope of all things being made new, was incorruptible.

God provided John with the exact words of hope and promise that Christ’s followers needed to hear in the midst of deadly persecution. Someday, all would be made new and the present sufferings wouldn’t even compare to the coming glory! (Romans 8:18)

Just as when a person is in Christ, leaving their old way of sinful living behind, they become a new creation for the old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), so God will do the same with all of creation when Jesus returns. God is providing a hope for these believers, and all believers, to hold onto in the midst of trial.

The Everyday Application

3) Why is God making everything new? (verse 5)

The earth is full of sin, death, pain, grief, and so much more. There are days when all hope seems lost and the pains of this world seem more than we can bear. We have all experienced some of this by living through a global pandemic, some of us bearing the toll in deeper ways than others.

All true believers experience persecution for their faith in varying degrees, for many around the world this means their very lives and families are constantly threatened for their faith. This persecution we experience, like our brothers and sisters to whom John’s letter was written, is not unexpected, but this is not the experience God originally intended. The Garden of Eden was perfect before Adam and Eve chose sin and, just as the Bible starts with a perfect creation in Genesis, it ends with a perfect creation in Revelation. God absolutely will make all things new in ways that are beyond our wildest imaginings. (Isaiah 64:4)

He will establish His perfect creation where we can dwell with Him and all the pains of this world will cease. (2 Corinthians 6:16) John closes these verses with a promise from God that His words are “faithful and true”. (verse 5) We don’t need to doubt or wonder in insecurity because we can KNOW God will do what He has promised and we have the promise of perfection in eternity with our perfect Creator. I don’t know about you, but that brings joy that can’t be stolen even in the midst of sorrow!

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