#648 – Joys of Heaven; Day 5

#648 – Joys of Heaven; Day 5
by R.C. Sproul on Youversion

Heaven on Earth (Part 2)

Revelation 21 and 22 are packed with details about the new heaven and the new earth, but one striking feature is the repeated notation of things that are not present. The absence of things with which we are familiar in this world helps us better understand the wonder of existence in the renewed creation.

One of the first things that is mentioned as missing is the sea (21:1). In Hebrew poetry, the sea is consistently used as a metaphor for trouble and distress. Whether or not there will be oceans and beaches in the new earth is unclear, but there is no doubt that all dangers and trials will be banished. Also missing will be tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain. God will soothe away our heartaches, comfort us in our sorrows, gently dry our tears, and ease away our hurts. The joy of dwelling in His presence will far outweigh the distant memories of hard circumstances. There will be no temple there either (21:22); none will be needed, for the ancient temple symbolized the presence of God with His people, and now God actually will be with them, and He and the Lamb will be the temple.

John also tells us “the city had no need of the sun or the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it” (21:23), a fulfillment of Isaiah 60:19–20. Indeed, even if the sun and moon still exist, the glory of God will outshine them. With the refulgence of God glowing everlastingly, there will be no night (21:25). And there will be nothing there “that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie” (21:27). This will be a place of truth, beauty, and goodness. Finally, there will be no curse (22:3). With spirits and bodies renewed and at last made unable to sin and provoke God’s wrath, His people will exist in a state of perpetual blessedness.

What will be there? These rich chapters list far more features than can be discussed in this limited space, but one thing bears mentioning: the tree of life (22:2). It originally grew in the midst of Eden, but following the fall God expelled man from the garden and placed cherubim there to prevent him from eating its fruit. Now the tree stands beside the river of water of life and “in the middle of [the city’s] street,” where it is easily accessible to all the inhabitants. The abundant life experienced by Adam and Eve before their fall will be known for all eternity by all of God’s people.

CORAM DEO Living before the face of God

Has today’s study whetted your appetite for heaven? What are you looking forward to leaving behind in this life? Looking to God for help, make use of all His means of grace to resist temptation to sin and to experience the abundant life to the fullest extent possible even now. Ask God to make you increasingly fit for your heavenly home.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘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.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 21:1-‬27

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 22:1‭-‬5

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