A New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21–22)
As horrible, disturbing, and frightening as some of John';s images in the book of Revelation may seem, his description of what was ahead for those who had placed their faith in Christ will make enduring those things worth it. The prophecies in Revelation are difficult to decipher, but the description of how faithful believers will be rewarded once all those things have come to pass is fairly clear and straightforward. This, John said, is “a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared” (Revelation 21:1). Also gone was the sea, and John also saw the “new Jerusalem,” coming down out of heaven like a bride beautifully adorned for her groom (Revelation 21:2). Then John heard a voice from the throne, saying, “Look, God';s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3–4).
John heard that same voice saying, “Look, I am making everything new! … Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true … It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega — the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children” (Revelation 21:5–7). Indeed, everything will be new — a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1), a new people (21:2–8), a new bride of Christ (21:9), a new home (21:10–21), and a new Temple (21:22).
The Bible more or less begins and ends with the Tree of Life. Back in the Garden of Eden, a fallen Adam and Eve were not permitted to eat from it or even go near it (Genesis 3:22–24), but in the New Jerusalem, everyone is allowed to eat from it (Revelation 22:13, 19).
The book of Revelation presents a pretty disturbing picture of what the end times will look like. But it also gives us the ultimate happily ever after ending, one where the devil will be handed his defeat — a defeat he';s had coming for thousands and thousands of years — for all of eternity and one where those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ will find that all things truly have become new.
Which of the “new” things Jesus Christ has promised do you look forward to most?
Reread Revelation 21:5–8. How does the contrast in that passage change your approach to sharing your faith with others?